This was the first morning, in a long time, that I woke up feeling rested and at ease. Overwhelm has been the major theme in my life lately. Some of this is from circumstances outside of my control, some is of my own doing. How did I finally get to a place of peace this morning?
Here are 8 things that helped me overcome overwhelm in a busy season:
1. I did what I had to do. A long to-do list can make anyone feel intimidated and the best way to feel better is to start accomplishing the things you need to get done instead of putting them off. Slowly chipping away at small tasks makes the big things more doable.
2. I allowed others to do things for me. My friends and family have been an incredible help to me. They were either doing something to help me or they simply were not asking too much of me since they saw how much I had going on. I wasn’t afraid to be honest with them or ask for help. I also enlisted the help of an assistant for my business and it has already made a huge difference in my workload and mental space. There are just too many things to be done and if I try to do them all myself then either my family or my creative work suffers
3. I pushed myself to my limits but not beyond them. Limits should not be confused with comfort level. It’s always rewarding to go out of your comfort zone but real limits that protect your physical, mental and emotional well-being need to be respected. Our family has had so much going on and I knew that if I didn’t protect my boundaries, I would become upset, irritated and unhappy. That’s not fun for me or anyone around me. There were times I had to say no to things or steal a moment to myself but it was worth it to not feel over-extended.
4. I found simple ways to fill my cup. Making an effort to do things that re-energize us when we’re feeling drained is very important. I would take a quiet moment to myself, stand in a warm shower, read a few pages of a book, stare at something beautiful, take a walk, open my sketchbook to draw or just enjoy a foamy latte. These are all simple actions that made a big difference.
5. I practiced gratitude in the midst of the chaos. This one is a life-changer. Whenever I came across a beautiful view, I took time to acknowledge it and be grateful. Whenever I was bothered, I stopped to find something to be grateful for rather than dwelling on negativity. I did this as often as I could because it kept my head above water when I felt like I was drowning. Gratitude changes your perspective.
6. I prayed. Getting quiet and being with God brings me peace. I released my struggles and offered my thanks. This time is a reminder that I am love and cared for and I am not alone.
7. I was present where I was and focused on only the person or task in front of me. With so many things going on in my mind, it was really important to me to make the most of every moment. Eliminating multitasking helped me feel less chaotic and more in control of my time. I refused to feel guilty for ignoring one area of life while I focused on another because I knew I'd be giving my undivided attention to all the people or things that needed it when the time came.
8. I looked toward the future. Everytime I thought I couldn't handle one more thing I just refocused on how nice it would be to eventually get to the peaceful, quiet mountains. Away from distractions and busyness. I reminded myself that I was almost there and it kept me going.
Now I’m sitting up in bed with my decaf coffee and I’m completely content and at peace. I feel no sense of urgency for tasks that pile endlessly. I feel no dread from being behind in every area of life. I don’t feel tired and worn down from all the packing and travelling and moving we’ve been doing. I just feel good.
It’s not that all the stressful parts of life magically disappeared but things have definitely slowed down and these practices made a big difference. I've felt burnt out before when I'm not taking care of myself and I desparately wanted to aviod that.
I hope that you find small ways to take care of yourself and recenter when life gets hectic. Maybe some of the things that worked for me will work for you.