This post is a little personal. But I wanted to share it with you because it has made such a profound impact on me and how I look at overwhelming circumstances now. I don't usually struggle with overwhelm too much because I have systems set up to get myself back on top of whatever it is that's overwhelming me. But just recently I had events that instantly threw my life into chaos and overwhelm that I found myself struggling with. I had some other topics I had in mind to share with you today, but I thought this might help you if you ever get into a deep hole of responsibilities and events that you feel you can't climb out of.
My father passed away two months ago and because I was involved in several business ventures and partnerships with him, there was a whole lot of research, paperwork, meetings and decisions to be made for his funeral and for our business ventures. On top of that I had just started a fairly intensive business project myself and had cleared out two months to work on it. He passed away two days before I was to start this project.
In addition I had just had eye surgery a week before his passing and could not drive or do much for two weeks. I don't tell you this so you feel sorry for me, I tell you this because it was a lot to happen at one time and it was honestly one of the few times I have felt like I may not be able to process through all the responsibilities. I had so many obligations that were thrown upon me all at once while I was also grieving for a father I was very close to.
So I want to let you know I WAS out of control for a while, feeling like I would never get all my obligations taken care of, feeling the fear and the burden of overwhelm. So I flailed around for a time until I felt like I was being consumed.
In desperation, I decided to go back to the routines I had had in my daily life and see if I could feel at least a tiny bit of control in my life. This brought me to a very significant Ah-Ha moment that I want to share with you. I found that by taking just a few very simple actions amid all the chaos, my life began to take on a routine again. Even though these actions were so insignificantly small, and even though it seemed as if they weren't going to make a dent in the days of work ahead, I started to see a light at the end of a long corridor. So I want to share those simple actions with you that you too can take if you find yourself in a state of "I'm never going to get through this" situation.
Let me share with you five simple actions that seemed so small and insignificant, but brought me back to feeling that I had a bit of control in all the chaos and overwhelm that was happening in my life.
- Stick to routines no matter how small a bite you have to take. I couldn't take the 30 to 40 minutes I usually did to set my day up but I carved out 10 minutes and did just the actions that made me feel energized. For me this is reading, repeating a mantra, and stretching each morning. I usually exercise along with 7 or 8 actions to start my day, but even doing just those three made a difference. I found that if forward motion has become impossible with the current routine, try something else.
- Instead of trying to "do it all" myself I HAD to delegate things I would normally never give up. But for these last two months, I had to delegate in order to take on the additional responsibilities that were thrown on me. This can me very hard when you feel it would be done better by yourself. (In other words, if you have a bit of "control freak" in you)
- I had to let my plans go. Things that I had planned out on my calendar had to be pushed forward and let go of any completion date for a while until I could get back to my normal routine. Realize deadlines can change, but plans don't have to.
- Rally around the simple and small accomplishments of the day. It is so important to write down every little accomplishment of the day when you are in the midst of overwhelming burdens. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and sets you on a positive mindset for the next day.
- Take time to chill and enjoy something you love to do. I know this may seem the reverse of what you should do when you're in the middle of overwhelm and chaos, but it will actually energize you and lift your mood. I found this to be the catalyst for getting even more done.
So there it is, five steps to help you anytime you feel that the burdens of life are just too much for you to handle. You have the capacity to take control and lead yourself out of any hole of overwhelming circumstances. Remember, you are stronger than you think you are. That is a mantra you can say to yourself every day.