Just a quickie about overwhelm and moving through it. Essential when trying to run a business or even just a life!
Be aware that overwhelm only happens when we panic that we’ve got too much to do, so we do nothing instead. We contract. Become paralysed. Everything becomes impossible, too big, a mountain, and the thought of doing anything simply seizes us up. For days, weeks, months, years…
I’m an expert in overwhelm, as I imagine many other single parents are.
Yey… We get to single handedly raise our child(ren) and be the constantly sleep deprived — never have a lie in — trying to look glam in puke — only parent, work, maintain our homes, and try v v v hard to be friends, lovers, colleagues, siblings and children too. Oh yeah. And have ME TIME (((HA HA HA…)))
For me, it was even more intense than that. Imagine being a single parent to a hyperactive child and running your own business. That’s what I did. Evie didn’t even sleep for her first 4 years. Argh. In some ways It was fun because I was young enough to take the strain, but there were times when I would bump into myself — I was in such a whirl.
Anyway. I learned some very useful and solid coping strategies in those years. Now I do much less with my days and yet I still use the same techniques, just so life doesn’t sneak up on me when I’m not looking.
I hope they help you too…
Step one: Lists
When you wake up, make a list of the top three things you need to do. I do this on my phone. If, like me, you have an endless list, pick today’s actions from that list. By the evening, you will have a better system for this bit, too.
Step two: Visualise
Once written down, close your eyes and visualise how your life will look when you’ve completed them. This stops the panic of “I have do much to do, I don’t know where to start” because your brain has already been programmed to know it’s happened. You just have to paint the numbers.
Step three: Postitive state
When you are ready to shake your groove thang, motivate yourself with an uplifting song (dance, baby), a joss stick, lighting a candle, or even a sun salutation. This will change your state into one of positivity and looking forward.
Step four: Addicted?
Stop using stuff such as Facebook, eating, drinking or other things as a distraction. Now you might not even know you are using things to distract you, so this takes a little presence. But it’s ok. You have forever to practise.
Observe yourself for a few days. Is your list not shrinking? Do you find yourself constantly checking Facebook, emails, Twitter, the fridge? Then stop. Breathe deeply three times with your eyes closed. Do step three.
Do pass go. Do collect £200. Do not go straight to jail 🙂 You are free.
Step five: Reward
When you have completed a task, or a set part of a larger task, take a break and do something you love. This kind of positive reinforcement will cause you to look forward to being a completer, because you get your reward.
Repeat until at least those three items are off your list.
At this point you may feel motivated enough to do more stuff. Fill your boots.
Step six: List check
In bed at night, adjust your list. Move the things you’ve done to another page. Don’t delete them as you want a reminder of all you’ve achieved.
Step seven: List AGAIN
Put your most urgent 5-7 items on your list for tomorrow. Go to sleep satisfied. Know you have moved out of overwhelm and into action. Even if only for today.
In the morning, start again… Select the three most important items on your shortlist and get cracking.