Yes, you have to earn a living. Yes, you have demands on your time. Yes, people are relying on you.
But you’re starting to feel a sense of dread and loathing when faced with one more thing to do. Or you work your butt off doing something (or everything), then collapse in a drained heap, unable to do even your day-to-day things.
Or you’re rushing from three things to another three things and then something unexpected happens and you have to reschedule ALL THE THINGS causing a chain of chaos.
We’ve all heard about burnout, maybe you’ve even experienced something like it. Burnout isn’t only due to the work you do to make a living. It can also happen when we simply put too much pressure on ourselves, for too long.
Maybe you don’t think burnout will happen to you. Or perhaps it’s already happening to you and you’re not aware of it. Maybe you think there’s something wrong with you.
You’re waking up tired, you’re getting grumpier by the day and you feel like you’re coming down with something.
Or you keep dropping the ball – you’re forgetting things, you can’t concentrate and you keep starting things & not finishing them.
You know what? You’re probably doing too much.
If anything I’ve mentioned above sounds familiar –
No matter what you think you SHOULD be capable of
– you’re probably doing too much for YOU.
We all handle pressure in different ways. Our capacity varies too. What is a walk in the park to one person would exhaust another.
So before you have a complete meltdown, before you make yourself really ill or start self-medicating to keep up with your manic timetable try this:
Build in soft time.
Did you get time to sit down and eat yesterday? Did you even eat? Or maybe you decided you could do without lunch then scoffed down a whole packet of biscuits because you were in the car and there was just NO TIME?
Instead of booking appointments, classes, clients and meetings back to back – add a little bit of Soft Time. The next time you tap, type or put pen to paper to add another thing into your schedule move it a little bit further out. Just a little bit. 10 minutes, 15 minutes. Anything that gives you a cushion of flexibility.
If you have a gap in your schedule – it’s OK. Leave it there. It does NOT need to be filled with something. Even if you do need to use it for something you’ve been putting off, make sure you reserve a bit for Soft Time.
What is Soft Time? It those moments in a day when you realise you DON’T have to run to your next thing. You can fix your hair, have a drink of water and check your schedule. It’s a moment to breathe when you’re walking past a park and realise you can walk through it, and maybe even sit for a few moments.
It’s a full 30 minutes when you can sit and eat something delicious and healthy. Ideally that’s all you’ll be doing (because you need time to decompress), but if you need to check your emails or call someone and that eases the pressure you’re under, then so be it.
Work out your options.
Why are you doing this to yourself? Money? Responsibility? Because you think you HAVE to? Maybe it’s because of deeper subconscious thoughts about your self worth, your importance in this world, your value as a person.
Do you find you can’t say no to requests for your time and energy? Or you purposely choose to add more and more to the burden on your time and energy? Ask yourself why.
What do you REALLY want? Do you want less stress, time to play with your kids, to do the things you truly love?
Money – If it’s because you need to pay some big bills or you’ve challenged yourself to earn more – for what ever reason – think carefully about your options. Work out what your REAL goals are. Consult financial professionals to learn what you can do to achieve them.
Responsibility – There’s no one else who can do it? You’re expected to do it? No one else can do it as well as you? If you became so ill that you couldn’t do all those things, what would happen? Avoid that by deciding what you can delegate, what you can say no to and what you can simply stop doing.
Self worth – We all have internal and external forces guiding our behaviour. If you are putting yourself through the wringer to prove something, it might be time for some supportive professional help.
Phase in changes.
You already know how to drop the easy stuff. Things that you make yourself do, that no-one else really knows about.
So choose something that’s annoying or stressing you out right now, that’s a little bit difficult to drop. Do it! If you are fully and completely responsible for that thing, find someone else to do it. Or, leave it in the hands of the person who IS responsible.
We’ve all read about the old, “say no, you don’t need an excuse”. But that’s REALLY hard in our society. Be honest. The closer they are to you the more honest you can be.
There will be things you’re thinking of dropping that prick your over developed conscience. If you phase in your changes, a little bit at a time, you’ll feel less discomfort.
If you make yourself ill by NOT dropping some of the things you’ve chosen to take on you’ll probably have to drop a lot more. Our body is wise, it’ll tell you when you’ve done too much. And it can be a relief. “I can’t, I’m sick”, is a far easier excuse than “I don’t want to” or “I’m just too tired”, or even “I want to spend more time with my kids”.
Simplify your schedule. Repeat. Give yourself time to build in things that nurture you, or support you, every day.
YOU are the only person who can make the changes you need to make.
The Tidy Lady. Declutter Coach & Tidyness Expert.