Sometimes things feel overwhelming. We have so much on our plates and so many things we need to consider, get done, organised or dealt with. Some things we’d really rather not have to do or face.
And we all have them, right? Jobs and tasks that don’t particularly fill us with joy but that just need to get done. So how we can bring some pleasure to them? And how can we treat ourselves royally in the process?
Anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed take a step back.
Write down anything and everything that’s in your head and all of your to-dos.
Look at everything on your list and see what really needs to be dealt with or considered, and what can wait.
What really matters?
Go there first. Prioritise. We’re never going to get it all done. There will always be an ongoing list. But try tackling the hardest items first, especially if they’re things you’ve been avoiding.
Then break the items down into the smallest chunks possible. If something still feels too hard break it down again. And take things one step at a time. It doesn’t all have to get done today. Breathe.
Notice how the different things on your list make you feel. What clues does this give you about what you’d like more or less of in your life? What changes, even small ones, could you make as a result?
Make sure you’re not just busy for the sake of being busy, caught up in tasks and chores that aren’t really meaningful to you. Sometimes we get stuck here when we’re trying to avoid feeling uncomfortable emotions. See that as a red flag and stay aware. Keep a laser like focus on what matters most.
When things feel particularly hard, busy or overwhelming ask:
‘How can I make this easier for myself?’
‘How can I take the pressure off?’
‘What would make this more fun?’
‘And how can I help and support myself through this?’
Be as kind and gentle to yourself as you can. Start a ‘done’ list as well as to-do list. Celebrate your progress and any small wins. Pepper the things you have to do with treats and rewards.
Remember the basics – sleep and rest, exercise, eating well. Try dancing it out and getting back in your body. Remember what you’re doing it all for.
The more you have on your plate, the more you need to up the self-care.
This can feel counter-intuitive because we feel like we don’t have the time. We feel like we just need to push through and get things done. But we can choose to get things done AND to look after ourselves well as we’re doing it. We can stop to breathe, to take breaks, to de-stress in whichever ways feel good.
We can bring in a sense of calm and create a feeling of space even amidst the busiest of times. And we can give ourselves a head start on not getting burnt out and needing several days off ill to recover!
Is there anything that can be shaved off your list? Anything you can delegate or let go of altogether? Anything you think you should do but that is actually draining the life out of you?
Some things we don’t want to do but have to. So if you can’t get out of it get into it, and give yourself a big reward afterwards.
Otherwise ask if it really deserves your precious time and energy. Does it really matter to you? How much do you want to devote to each thing? How important is it? If it’s really important then go all in. Give each task your full attention, be present and do it gladly. Know there’ll be time to move onto the next thing later.
Sit with your to-do list and light a candle, pour yourself a drink and get to work – breathing as you go, kindly, gently. And before you know it you’ll be well on your way.
And if you need to take some time out that’s fine too.
Trust that it’ll all get done, one step at a time.