Today’s topic is something I have often “unintentionally” experienced throughout my life. I have always been a go-getter, handle it, boss mode, problem-solver, don’t give up and kick some ass kind of person. (Phew, I am already exhausted and overwhelmed!) This determination has served me well in many areas of my life helping me take care of business while accomplishing my goals. However, there have been times when I found myself feeling completely drained and overwhelmed. When in this state of mind, it’s actually counterproductive to functioning day-to-day and producing high-quality results. I found myself forced out of work because from health problems exacerbated by stress, which caused me to feel overwhelmed even more. I felt a sense of depression because I was unable to function the way I wanted. My work was suffering, my creative flow blocked, I was not able to be the active mom with my kids, and the worst of all, I felt like crap overwhelmed with feelings, things piling up, things I wanted to do but too fatigued. My body was shutting down without asking for my permission. 

 

In today’s world of responsibilities, hustling to achieve goals, maintaining your figure, managing your health care, taking care of a family, a romantic relationship, working, and socializing, needless to say, life can get overwhelming and stressful. At this point, even self-care practices can feel like another chore you have to do. I feel ya completely!  

There are many approaches and things you can do, but sometimes that only causes more overwhelm. Right?! So today I will focus on one strategy I have found to be helpful when in the full-on rut of overwhelm. I have used this strategy time and time again, so add it to your tool belt. Ready? 

Simplify!  

Yup, that’s it. For the time being, simplify your life. Go back to basics that have helped you in the past. Start by taking a look at everything you feel like you have to get done and do. I say “feel” because often we “feel” like we have to get it all done when the reality is that we don’t. Not in one day. Who said we do? What will happen if we don’t? Will your life crumble down? Will anyone suffer as a result of not doing it? What is the worst that can happen?  

We have our kids, pets, partners, and jobs that we know there are essential tasks we have to do to survive, but as for the rest, consider- are there certain activities, events, and/or people you can cut out or place temporarily on hold? Perhaps it’s time to reorganize your calendar. Maybe you need to space some projects and commitments out to allow you time to just be; To rest, relax, and reset. Are there tasks that you added to your plate that can be put on hold? Are there things you committed (or over committed) to that you can excuse yourself from? Are there social events that you can send your love to but not attend? Will it hurt you to put your phone away for a few hours and relax? Are there tasks you can enlist some support and help from others or your team? Perhaps you can delegate some work projects, or household duties to your roommates, children and/or significant other. Remember you are not a one-person show, although if you are anything like me, you are used to playing many roles simultaneously. Just remember it takes a team or tribe to run the world. Plus, you will get more wrinkles trying to do it all alone, stressin’ yourself out.

This method can also be applied in the workplace. I taught my staff this method since many times people tend to place unrealistic expectations on themselves (um yea, this superwoman has been guilty too!) My team felt like they had a long list of to-dos and they were burning themselves out. I had them write down everything they “had to get done” today. On a sheet of paper, I drew a line down the middle and one side on the top of the page I wrote “have-to/ urgent,” and on the other side I wrote “to-do list.” Then I had them write down on either side all the things they had to get done. We reviewed each listed task, and I asked them the same questions I purposed above? I found that many times they would say they “had to” because a client “needed” them or needed help, or because it’s their “job.” When I would follow up with asking, “so what is the worst that can happen if you don’t get this done today? Will your health be affected? Will you lose your job? Will your client suffer or not survive? Many times, they would take a moment then saying “no” and giggle. What they quickly found out is they were burning out, and the quality of their work directly reflected this. We would then cross out some of the items they listed under the have-to and placed them on the to-do side with future due dates. This simple shift helped them feel like their responsibilities and tasks were more manageable.  

I reinforced that there feels like there is never enough time in a day to get it all done because that’s true! I gave my team permission to figure out what can be eliminated from their list of tasks, done another day, delegated out, and what is non-negotiable, absolutely has to get done today. While I admired their attitude and work ethic, this exercise taught them the importance of balance by simplifying, prioritize, and triaging. Most of all it was a mental exercise to help them understand how our perceptions and mental constrictions can at times be misleading causing us to feel overwhelmed and burn out. 

I want you right now to give yourself permission to not feel like you have to do it all right now. Take a look at what tasks and areas in your life you can get off your plate, re-schedule and rework for another time. Then start with one thing. Pick the one most crucial, urgent, non-negotiable thing you have to do. When you have successfully accomplished your most urgent task, pick the second most urgent task on your list. The best part is about doing this is it helps reduce or diminish overwhelm, and it combats burn out by focusing on what is most important, and with more attention to each task, one at a time, adding to the quality of your work.  

If you enjoyed this blog and found value in it, please make sure you stay connected and subscribe to our email list here to be up to date on our latest tips, love notes, and insights.  

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With best intentions and love,   

Christina Sofia

   

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