Lately, I have been losing my footing. Anyone who knows me well, understands that I am very driven and focused and, that I try not to take on too much at any particular time. My approach is to do few things well, rather than doing several things poorly. However, there are moments in everyone's life when suddenly you are faced with an overwhelming amount of tasks or responsibilities or; perhaps several things begin falling apart at once and you battle just to keep things afloat. 

Last week things in my personal life began crumbling and I was also faced with many tasks and deadlines related to my work and personal research. I felt drained and overwhelmed to the point where I actually wasn't getting to anything. I literally couldn't manage. I want to apologise for not writing a blog post for this past Friday but, I hope this provides some context to why.

I was overwhelmed, tired and not doing anything well... So, what did I do? I went to bed every night feeling exhausted and woke up feeling equally exhausted the next morning as; my to-do list was not getting any shorter yet; I simply didn't have the energy to complete anything effectively. But through this experience I actually learned a very valuable lesson. I learned that occasionally you need to stop and breathe. Once in a while, allow yourself the space to check-out, to take a moment and recuperate and then proceed one task at a time. When we do not listen to our bodies, we often crash and therefore it is key to put yourself and your health first. You may be thinking, "this is all great in theory but not practical when you have demands and deadlines." Valid point. But think about it; if tomorrow you have a heart-attack or, stroke or, become seriously ill... Would the job still get done without you? Yes. Are you replaceable? Yes. So, if you do not put yourself first, I can guarantee you, no one else will.

Stop and Breathe
If you become frozen and overwhelmed as a result of everything you are facing, the only way to defrost (😝) and proceed, is to stop and breathe. This could include crying (crying does help, contrary to popular belief), going for a relaxing walk, sleeping, journaling, eating a good meal and, relaxing without focusing on anything but yourself. After taking a break, you will often find you are more equipped to plan and tackle your tasks.

Prioritize
Create a to-do list. List tasks in order of priority and tackle the most important and/or biggest tasks first. Often we opt to do the smaller, easier or more interesting tasks first, and then battle getting through the more demanding ones later - I am guilty of this! But, if we instead work from the hardest or greatest tasks toward the smaller or more insignificant ones; we will feel as if we have accomplished more. It will also get easier as we move through the list to the less demanding tasks, rather than facing those when we are exhausted!

Proceed
After feeling overwhelmed, it can sometimes be hard to get going - even after you have created that to-do list! So, in order to keep myself motivated, I set little rewards for myself. An example of this would be, if I get through all the big tasks, I may reward myself with a tasty meal or treat I have been craving. Exercise also seems to help as, one usually feels pretty good and re-energised after working out - thanks to those endorphins!

Plan
Ultimately, planning and finding a good balance between productivity and self-care, is what will ensure you manage your life better. Planning also includes planning for the unexpected as, these are often what throw us off course and disrupt everything, if we are not ready to tackle them effectively. Plan time for your tasks and demands, time for those close to you, time for the unexpected stuff and; most importantly, make time to relax and reconnect with yourself.

I hope that this has been helpful as, we all face different stressors and demands in our day-to-day lives. If you are not coping on your own however, do not be afraid to talk to someone or seek outside help... Therapy has helped me through many difficult periods in my life and I speak openly about this. There is no shame in self-care.

2 comments

  1. very sound advice. practical wisdom + good intentions are appreciated and received.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the feedback anonymous... I will continue to post honest reflections based on my own experiences, shortcomings and growth. I look forward to learning from you (my readers) too.

      xx

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