A woman walked by me in the parking lot of our local shopping mall and I overheard her say on her cell phone, “there just isn’t any down time.” A participant in the yoga class I was in was talking with the instructor after class saying, ”I can’t wait for the holidays to be over”. As a life coach I so wanted to pull them aside, teach them some awesome coaching tools, and say, “it doesn’t have to be this way. You get to choose where you place your time.”
Case in point. Just this week I was working on my to do list. I happened to be out walking my dog and thinking about certain things I wanted to have done in a specific amount of time. My poor brain was spinning, my chest got tight, my breathing became more shallow, and I felt overwhelmed. I’m guessing the two women I mentioned above felt some form of overwhelm too.
Here’s what I did to help. And it is exactly what I would teach any of my coaching clients, as well as both of those women.
First, I stopped and recognized that I WAS feeling overwhelmed. You’ve got to know what’s going on with you in that moment if you want to shift it.
Second, I asked myself what was I thinking about right before I started feeling overwhelmed. I realized I was thinking about all the things I wanted to get done in a certain time frame. AND that it seemed like way too much to squish into that time period. When I thought I had to get all those things done, the feeling of stress and overwhelm arrived. Bingo. And for me, it wasn’t that there wasn’t enough time. It was that I was trying to do too much for the time I had.
Third, I created the shift. The important question I asked myself was, what can I drop from my to do list that would help me feel more free and relaxed, and enable me to get things done without trying to beat the clock? I found three things on that list of mine that if I dropped them, for now, would make my life feel SO much more relaxed, unrushed, and without overwhelm. So I promptly dropped them. To be done later.
My brain stopped swirling, my chest opened up, and my shoulders relaxed. Now we’re talking.
Believe it or not, even during this Holiday time of year, not everything on your to do list has to get done. I challenge you, if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed about all you think you need to do, to ask yourself, what can I drop? Maybe it isn’t permanent, but for now, for today.
So be thoughtful with your time. I promise, it can make all the difference.
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