My friend Terri Cole shared this quote with me last week:
“Overwhelm is just a mountain of unmade decisions.”
Mike and I are on a plane flying to Europe for 10 days. And yet, moments ago as we awaited our boarding call, instead of deliciously anticipating the romance of touring London and Paris with the man I love, I was obsessing and stressing in rapid, repetitive succession.
Despite Mike picking me up and twirling me around, telling me that everything was going to be okay, and smothering me with kisses, I just felt freaking OVERWHELMED.
You feel me?
How many times has your stress about everything you have to do, everything you haven’t done — and everything everyone else on your team or in your family is probably not doing but should be doing — taken you away from enjoying the present moment?
I bet it’s a lot of times.
So, the reality is that I’m taking a vacation in the middle of an extremely full time in our business.
We have a BIG event coming up in Portland, Maine, on June 15th with 10+ amazing speakers and 500+ guests.
My book launches in a few months and it’s crunch time for planning and implementing the marketing strategy.
Our team is sprouting faster than I can say “chia,” and that growth requires love, attention, and mentorship from both Mike and myself.
We just moved, are still living out of boxes, and are in the process of hiring someone to help us keep the details of our life and business running smoothly.
About 30 minutes ago whilst awaiting our flight at the beautiful Portland International Jetport, Mike reminded me that our life is probably never going to be not busy.
You know what? He’s right. And his apt statement probably applies to you, too.
How, pray tell, does one do that?
Well, I’ll tell you what I did just now that helped me plant my tush in the present and feel better pretty much immediately.
Try these 5 ways to stop freaking out and just freaking enjoy the moment:
- Take a few deep breaths way down in your belly with your eyes closed. (I know you’ve been trying to suck in your belly all day. Just during this exercise let it all hang out. Trust me, no one is watching.)
- Write down the most immediate, finite action steps you know you need to take. This step stops your mind from constantly and obsessively reminding you of your to do’s as though you should be doing them every second of every day (for more on this concept, read David Allen’s awesome book Getting Things Done).
- Knock one or two items off the list that take less than 3 minutes each. While I was just sitting in the airport, I made a call I’d been thinking about making all day and sent off an email I’d been meaning to send for a couple days. Total time spent: about 10 minutes. Relief experienced: vast and profound.
- Get excited about how great your life is. I must give credit to Mike for this one. He said that when he feels overwhelmed he focuses on how great his life is. Then he feels better. What can you put your attention on right now that’s awesome about your life? Remember: what we put our attention on grows. Focus on the great stuff instead of the overwhelm.
- Make a decision or two. If, in fact, overwhelm is just a mountain of unmade decisions, making a few will immediately release tension. Start with one that’s not super complicated and notice how you get on a decision-making roll. Try doing this first thing in the morning while you’re still feeling minty fresh.
Instead of feeling frazzled and agitated, I’m now calmly watching the sun set over the friendly skies and listening to Tina Turner sing “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”.
And you know what? I’m getting excited about the trip.
Did I finish everything on my list before getting on the plane? Nope.
Will I ever finish everything on my list? Nope.
Will you? Nope.
Next time your mind is deep in the weeds of the project, the proposal, your marriage, moving, your job, or your life at large, do the 5 steps above and then remember:
You’re never going to get it all done. And that’s more than okay.
Thanks for listening. I feel better. I hope you do too.
Now I’m going to go enjoy Paris and I invite you to go enjoy whatever great thing you’ve got going on. (You know you’ve got something.)
Got any other good ideas for dealing with overwhelm? Write ‘em down in the comments.
P.S. I’m doing a meet-up in London on Saturday, May 25th in Swiss Cottage at 11am. Email us if you want to join in the fun!
***Photo Credit: AlaskaTeacher on Flickr.***