I wonder if, like me, you sometimes feel overwhelmed? Do you go through those periods when the pace of life seems to increase? An endless to-do list, unread emails, social media notifications, family responsibilities, self-care promises, news feeds… agghh! It feels like you’re swamped with no end in sight. When I feel like I’m running a treadmill beyond my ability, I know the reason I can’t keep up is because I’m overwhelmed, and if I’m not careful the build-up of stress takes a toll. I need to reset the program to a pace I can manage.
So how do I reset? I’m aware of two limiting beliefs that I need to let go of including ‘I’m too busy’ and ‘I can’t do this’. These two toxic attitudes are both victimising and self-defeating, and they creep up whenever I’m feeling stressed or putting myself under pressure.
I’M TOO BUSY
The phrase ‘I’m too busy’ tends to come up when you’re juggling tasks, but empirical research has demonstrated that multitasking doesn’t work. The feeling of being too busy is often a result of being stuck in a fast-forward mindset. You can feel like you’re busy without necessarily being productive. Feeling too busy usually means you are not enjoying what you are doing, and it leaves you feeling too tired to do the things that you do want to do. There’s little fun in your life. You feel you don’t have time for fun anyway. So how can you slow down your mindset and still manage your tasks?
How to Step Back and Reboot
Think about how you feel when you’re struggling to keep up with your own affairs as well as reading the news and checking your Facebook. Even when there’s already a lot on your plate, you may find yourself continuing to be distracted by things that take you away from what is truly important and leaving you in a state of panic.
- Go a day without reading the news.
- Get a good book to replace idle computer time.
- Take a week off social media.
Gradually start to let go of some of those things you can ‘live without’, whether it’s your Facebook App, text conversations, email newsletters or TV shows. Work out what it is that you cannot live without, start to call your friends instead of text or email (both are very addictive), and check the news only once a day.
I CAN’T DO THIS
Feeling overwhelmed can turn small problems into big dramas. An experience comes up that you feel you just can’t handle. But the only reason you feel this way is because of your emotional state – even an everyday task can become a big challenge, and it feels impossible to manage. It’s time to take charge. Whilst remaining aware of your emotional state, focus on what you can control without attachment, working through tasks one step at a time. When you challenge the ‘I can’t do this’ thought, you are at least beginning somewhere. Start small and build momentum one task at a time.
Ideas for Silencing Self-Doubt
- Self-doubt is the fear of failure so decide that failure is not the end of the world and believe in yourself, your abilities, your strengths, and your resilience.
- Practise pratipaksha bhavana: replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Things are more likely to go wrong when you focus on potential flaws as that is where your head’s at!
- Spend some of your free time doing literally nothing: not even meditating; not even socialising (this is particularly important for introverts to allow them to reset!)
- Put on a silly voice and get all that inner-dialogue out in a ridiculous rant, you’re definitely going to feel silly at first, but it’s super cathartic so worth it!
- Help someone out: reaching out to others invokes a ‘helper’s high’ and a sense of gratitude, leaving both of you feeling better.
- Practise being resilient even on the tough days: handle criticism and negative people who lash out in a strong and level-headed way.
CONNECT AND BE PRESENT THIS WEEK
I’m setting an intention to connect with myself this week (I’ll give it a try anyway) by building time into my schedule to turn off my phone, to focus my attention on what’s happening in front of me and to be genuinely present. I’m keen to take my own advice. I hope you are too!