Are you overwhelmed? Have you lost your va va voom? Are everyday tasks bringing you down flat? It’s easy to fall into the unhappy lull of go go go and do do do. Even during the days of coronavirus, when we’re supposedly slowing down and staying home, feeling overwhelmed is a real thing.
Add to it that so many of us are working from home where there’s no clear division of work and play. Our workspaces have crept into what used to be happy, work-free spaces zones where we ate, read, and played games. And with school starting back up, there’s the added stress to many parents about whether the kids are going back or will be schooled at home.
In these days of uncertainty and a strange, new normal, it seems like the perfect time to remind ourselves that sometimes doing less is better and that we all have the power to shift from overwhelmed to joyful in just minutes.
Here are five surefire steps to help you make the shift:
Stop Everything and Do Nothing
Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But I’m here to tell you that the very best thing you can do when you’re holding up the world is to set it down and walk away. Feeling overwhelmed means that we’re operating from a place of high adrenaline and exhaustion. In that space we’re not our best selves. When we’re overwhelmed, nothing good will come from continuing to push ourselves. In fact, that’s often when we get rundown, or even worse, sick. Now more than ever we need to take care of ourselves and keep our immune system strong.
Take Five Minutes and Focus on Your Breath
Now we’re going to take a few minutes and just breathe. Sit somewhere quiet, even if that means the bathroom or the closet. Now close your eyes and take five deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling deeply and fully. Feel joy flooding your body with each inhale and stress leaving your body with each exhale. This is a simple and effective way to calm your nervous system.
If you want to really up your game here, there’s a sweet, rich practice I developed after years of feeling stressed and overwhelmed. It’s my 555 Guide to Happiness, and it’s done wonders for me. You can get immediate access to the eBook here.
Put this breathing exercise on repeat until you feel calm and centered.
Flip the Script
After your five (or 500!) calming breaths, it’s time to get honest with yourself about what’s driving you to take on the world. Is your perfectionism in overdrive? Are you putting other people’s needs before your own? Are you afraid to say no? Is there a real urgency to the situation or is that your perception of the situation?
Listen to what you’re telling yourself and ask if it’s true. Once you have your truth out in the open, then ask yourself which tasks are essential and timely. Make a list. But whatever you do, don’t include your perfectionist BS or other people’s unrealistic expectations. (I remind myself of this often.)
What’s Easy? Do That First
Now you have a concise list of tasks that actually need to be completed. Do the easiest things first and cross them off the list. There’s something fulfilling about your list dwindling away. You’ll feel accomplished and like you’re getting ahead.
Schedule Happy Time
What makes you happy? Do that and do it often. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s especially important to be good and kind to yourself and to find happiness every day. If that’s difficult for you, schedule a happy hour for yourself. It doesn’t have to include alcohol or happen at five o’clock. But schedule time away from work to do things that fill you with joy. Just like there’s a schedule for work, there can be a schedule for play.
See? In just a few minutes, you can go from overwhelmed to joyful.
If all this sweet self-care lights you up, stay tuned for some exciting new content I’ll be sharing beginning in September. We’re going to dive deep and get real about who we really are and who we want to be.
Until then, be good to yourself. You deserve it.
With resilience, grace, and love,