Is your head spinning because you just have too much to do, and not enough time in the day to do it all? I know the feeling and here is what I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
So I started off yesterday, Monday 7th January, at 9am, with a list of twenty things to do for the day. I felt full of va va voom and started my ‘doings’ with vigour.
1. Email Metro about blog links,
2. Reconfirm Healthy Planet interview for Wednesday,
3. Email Marisa about her Prosperity Rock star 2013 course,
4. Update Masters and Harris Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
5. Tag blogs on new blog site,
6. Make a start looking for some part-time finance work,
By twelve, I was whizzing through my list, but my head was spinning. So, I decided to go for a walk to slow down, take a break and distance myself from all of my head noise.
I don’t know about you, but the multi-tasking of modern life makes me feel dizzy.
These days work life can include working full-time, part-time, job sharing or as I am trying to do, starting your own business whilst also earning a living from your ‘day job’.
It’s not restricted to work. Your social life can be just as hectic; catching up with friends and family either face to face or by phone. There are also the daily interactions with friends and acquaintances on the ever growing number of social media platforms.
The opportunities to try and act on our dreams are greater now than in the past. Giving us even more to think about, and do.
In the past men and women had very defined roles however now this is not the case:
As women: we are daughters, mothers, grandmothers, workers, home makers, dreamers, health makers, care takers, mediators, creators…
As men: we are sons, fathers, grandfathers, workers, home makers, dreamers, strength givers, care takers, creators…
As modern-day people who live in a society which tells you you can have anything you want, when you want it; we try our hardest to fit everything in; to achieve everything we want and it has to happen right away.
Before I had my blood clots, I was trying (and struggling) to do it all. I started Masters Bookkeeping Services but also wanted to help people in a bigger way, so Paul and I created Masters & Harris (just to complicate life even more!).
Relationships are a valuable part of life. At this point Paul and I were growing as a couple, we had a home to keep in order, plus it was also important for me to keep connected with the other special people in my life.
We have all of these expectations of ourselves – of what we think we should be doing, how we should be doing it, how much we should be doing and who we should be doing it with.
Well, in November 2010 (one week after getting married to Paul) my body told me without question, that it would not be doing all of the things that I was expecting it to do. With two sizeable blood clots on my lungs I couldn’t even walk up the high road. I had to stop. I had to take an honest look at my life, and make changes.
While I am aware that some people love to live life in the fast lane, and they relish the hectic pace and every little challenge; here are some reasons why slowing down may actually move you closer to the things you want:
- When you move too fast life is a blur. Yes, you can see clearly what is ahead of you, where you want to be; but can you see where you are, right here, right now?
- If you don’t see where you are in the present, then how can you make the necessary changes in order to get to where you want to be?
- When your life is so full of things to do, people to see, places to visit there is no space for new things, be it new people, new jobs, etc. New things need space in order to enter your life.
- Being busy mentally can over stimulate your mind, and stop you from relaxing and releasing at the end of the day.
- Mental strain can affect your eyes. The next time you are on a thinking marathon just be aware of your eyes and your eye muscles; see how they feel.
- Having too much to do can leave your feeling overwhelmed. This feeling translates chemically into your blood, leading to an increase of adrenaline and tense muscles. This can make you feel tired and slow down your circulation.
So how can you simplify your life?
Here are a few suggestions. These are things I have tried and found they helped to get my feet back on the ground. These have also helped me to find that little oasis of calm that is so vital in life:
Make a list of everything you normally do in a day, and ask yourself.
Why are you doing the things you do?
What are your actions leading to?
What do you really want to do, and what do you really have to do?
What things are easy and what things are hard?
If you are doing all the hard things, then look at how you feel about them. Are you enjoying them?
If you do enjoy them, then sometimes those hard things are not so bad, but learn to limit their number. Throw in a few easy things as well.
Who is taking up your time during the day? Do you like them? Do they deserve so much of your time?
What are you worrying about and how much time do you dedicate to the act of worrying?
This is all about clearing your outer and inner space.
Keep your home and work place clean and clear. Throw out what you don’t need or want. A clear space is a happy space.
File all those papers in an organised fashion. Shred the past.
Make your home a place of relaxation and calm. House plants and fresh flowers brighten a space and are not too hard to look after.
If you need something then get it. Don’t go on a spending frenzy, but if something will make life easier then get it.
Don’t keep things for the sake of keeping them. ‘I’ll use that sometime in the future.’ If you have not used it in a year, then chances are you will never use it.
Get your affairs in order. Plan your time wisely. Give yourself some time to yourself, some time to breath and relax.
These actions are ones which will ultimately lead you to a clearer, calmer life. Do these as and when you can. I generally find I get an urge to clean and clear, do not force it if you feel tired or overwhelmed.
Even little actions can make you feel more in control.
Walking in nature really helps me to relax and ground. For me it is walking around the grounds of Chiswick House. I find it slows my brain down and reconnects me with my body.
Try it, find a place that you find interesting and use it as your special place to reconnect with your body and with nature. Grounding is as it suggests, connecting with the earth.
Belly breathing can help to calm you down, and it can help to take you away from everything that’s going on in your head head.
Any kind of exercise will help with those feel good hormones, and it also oxygenates your blood, boosting circulation. All good!
When you find yourself thinking about too many things at once, then bring yourself back to where you are, in the present. Then write down each thought and work through them methodically. What can be done, what cannot be done. Some things we worry about are out of our control, so why worry about them?
That Oasis of Calm
Be still for five minutes, or more if you can.
I find that if I stay present in the moment then nothing is quite as bad as it seems in my head.
Deep, slow belly breathing helps me when I hyperventilate. I breathe in for the count of 4 and out for the count of 7. This helps to regulate my oxygen and carbon dioxide balance. A great exercise for when you can’t settle.
Find an external symbol of the calm that you are seeking. We have a concrete garden Buddha (named Bud) on the table in our living room. Whenever I see him, I reconnect to his sense of calm and that makes a difference for me,
A cup of chamomile tea calms me down when I am thinking of a million different things.
If you sit for long periods of time, make sure you get up and walk around. Take a break (even if it is a short one) to a quiet place.
Well, after all that I think I am going to take my own advice and take a break.
The above is a constant ‘work in progress’ for me. My aim is to expand the space and calm in my day until it becomes second nature.
Let me know how you get on, and if you try any of the things I have suggested.
Do you have ways that help you to negotiate life, that we could share with others?
Life can be overwhelming and too busy, but I hope that the above shows you that you can make a difference to your life, even by doing tiny little things each day.
Here’s to lives filled with ease and grace!