We live in such a busy, fast-paced culture. If we’re not working 40, 50, 60+ hours each week, we’re running from the grocery store to the cleaners to the (fill-in-the-blank), cooking dinner and worrying about whether to be low carb or plant-based or just eat what we want. We might be driving kids to their sports practice or rushing off to get in a quick workout at the gym. However we fill our days, most of us have a LOT going on! No wonder we get overwhelmed.
Of course, there are a couple of problems with being overwhelmed. 1.) It doesn’t make us very happy. Most of us are stressed and frazzled and anxious and distracted if we’re overwhelmed. We’re not enjoying life. In fact, we’re so busy trying to handle all the tasks of life that there might be hardly any time for “life” itself, and 2.) Being overwhelmed takes a toll on our health. It impacts our physical, mental, emotional, psychological and social health. We might not be exercising much or not eating very healthily if we’re stressed out. Stress actually makes us want to binge on sugar and carbs! And, we’re certainly not in our mental prime if we’re anxious (Read: always planning the next step or always worrying about what might happen in the future), and we aren’t nearly as good at making decisions or problem-solving when we’re distracted or feel like we have little available brain-space. Add to this the exhaustion that can take hold, which might lead to low motivation or even depression, and we haven’t even gotten into how our personal relationships suffer or the other health risks connected to stress and overwhelm, like heart attacks, high blood pressure, and the list goes on and on!
Yikes! Life can be overwhelming most definitely. However, even when we’re super busy, ah-hem, especially when we’re super busy, we can implement intentional tools to take care of ourselves. Cue the list below:
- ·Schedule in some “me time” every single day. I know, you’re going to say, “But, I don’t have time! That’s the problem!” I hear you, and I ain’t taking any excuses. This is a MUST do. You MAKE time. Calendar it in—seriously. And, be reasonable. You’re very likely not going to fit in a 1 hour massage every day, but you can give yourself 10 minutes of quietly sipping your coffee and reading in the morning, a phone call with your bestie or loved one to connect and destress, a hot tub bath or 15 minutes of journaling before bed. It doesn’t need to be big, but it does need to be something. Give yourself the gift of some activity that revitalizes you Every. Single. Day.
- Stretch. Stress and overwhelm build up in our bodies and creates muscle tension. Don’t keep holding on to all of that in your body! Take 1-2 minutes a couple days of day to release. Touch your toes. Stretch your back. Gently roll your neck around. Stand on your tiptoes. March in place. You can find all sorts of recommendations for stretches online or just go to youtube. Utilizing yoga poses can be a fantastic way to release muscle tension too!
- Take 10 deep breaths. Count 1, 2, 3, 4 as you inhale and 4, 3, 2, 1 as you exhale. Repeat 10 times. You’ve probably heard me say before that deep breathing is so, so, so important. It resets our nervous system and tells our body on a physiological level to relax, things are okay.
- Practice being mindful. When we’re rushing around and trying to multi-task, it’s only natural that our brains are constantly focusing on the future. But, that often creates anxiety AND means that we’re not really, fully in the present moment. It’s kinda like we’re missing out on life as we keep focusing on our next step. So, try taking one task and just focusing on doing that right here, right now. You can notice how the laces feel in your hand and how they look as they cross over each other while you tie your shoe. You can eat your lunch and become aware of the smell of your sandwich, noticing it’s heft and texture in your hands, the way the lettuce crunches in your mouth, all the flavors you taste and how your body feels as you swallow. It doesn’t matter what task you’re doing, but making yourself focus on the present moment and all the sensations it entails is an excellent way to live a more mindful, more enjoyable life.
So, as you get back to your to-do list, I invite you to pick 1 or 2 items off this list to incorporate into your day, and then to practice incorporating into each day all week. Life may be a whirlwind, but you can intentionally give yourself breaks and incorporate tools to help you cope and make you happier!
As always, if you’re needing some extra support, no sweat. That’s what we’re here for!