handling overwhelm.

"This constant, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy." ~ Kerry Gleeson

Sometimes a girl just needs to have a little yell in her swimsuit.

We are just shy of being 60 days into 2014, and it has already been a big year for me. What do I mean by big? Well, here are a few of the bigger topics that have come up in the last eight weeks:

  • Eric and I had a big chat about our career goals, and have decided to completely swap paths -- instead of him starting a business in Santa Barbara in the short-term future, I’m pursuing my passion for sharing messages of personal development with the world for a living, and he’s going to take his time in figuring out what he’s passionate about, and pursue those passions without the pressure of immediately needing to bring home the proverbial bacon. It was a complete 180 from how we thought we'd be walking through life, so it was a big mental shift for both of us to make & adjust to.
  • We also had discussions about having kids…we’ve always thought that we wanted to have kids, but we’d never stopped to think about WHY. We wanted to make sure that we were clear in our intentions before embarking on that journey in the (semi-distant) future, and while challenging, I’m definitely glad that we had those talks and are on the same page as we move forward. And no, we don't have plans to have kids any time soon...but one day, we would like to. :)
  • I had some really big breakthroughs in my relationship with my mom around how I’d been showing up with her for the last few years (often as angry and resentful), and after sharing about my breakthroughs with her, she and I have been working together to build a relationship that’s stronger than ever. I didn't realize how heavily our declining relationship had been weighing on me until we start to rebuild it.
  • I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to productively manage my time and energy in relationships…I’ve been discovering that sometimes I have misaligned expectations with people in my life, and I’m figuring out how to be aware of that and handle those types of situations in a way that works for the other person and for me. As one of my besties often says..."it's like a dance."

It has been an incredibly exciting time for me…and also been very draining. As I learn to be more productive and to manage my energy & time, I sometimes fall into traps of sloth-y-ness, to avoid the effort of figuring out how to…figure things out. :)

In light of this recent recognition of my pattern of shutting down when I feel overwhelmed, I’m doing the following:

1. Getting it out of my head

  • I find that I’m most often overwhelmed when I have an ever-growing to-do list in my head, and when I start to write things down, I realize that it’s not as big and scary as I thought it was. This list can be anything from errands (buy soap) to new life goals (be mindful of how other people might see a situation), and getting it out of my head frees up my brain power for processing things as opposed to storing things.

2. Taking it one step at a time

  • Instead of thinking that I need to do every single thing on my list by YESTERDAY, I’m realizing that some of my items can wait, and that’s ok -- this whole balance thing is about being able to prioritize (and everything being a top priority just doesn’t work!). When I truly prioritize, that means that I can focus 100% on the task at hand, without worrying about anything else on my list.

3. Making time for leisure

  • Whether it’s hanging with my hubsby on our weekly date night, spending time with friends, or even escaping into a world of fiction through Sophie Kinsella books (yup, I said it!)…making time to have fun & decompress has been integral to my sanity. I used to think that I couldn't have any fun until I finished everything else on my list -- and now I know that's a recipe for disaster!

4. Re-evaluating the first 2 months of the year

  • At the beginning of this year, I wrote about all of the different choices that I was making, and now it’s time for me to check-in and see how that’s been going for me. I’ve been successful on some fronts, and not-so-successful on others, so I’m looking at what worked & what didn’t work, so I can move forward more productively!

5. Being easy on myself

  • In the past, I would’ve gone into beat-up mode about not sticking to all of my commitments from earlier in the year. Since I know that doesn’t help anything, I’m committing to being kind with myself and accepting that everything is part of the learning process. This doesn't mean that I'm throwing in the towel on growth and development...it simply means that I'm taking care of myself in the process of growing and learning, because I recognize that berating myself doesn't foster authentic growth.

When I see everything as an opportunity to learn, I suddenly look at my life soooooo differently than I did before. It’s definitely a process...and one that I'm grateful to be facilitating!

x Nic