What are you struggling with right now? When life gets busy, things can start to feel very overwhelming. Sometimes everything feels exhausting. Can you relate? Have you thought about asking for help?
If you can, start with asking for help with the things you like to do the least. Sometimes we think about asking for help but have no idea where to go. Don’t think about that part, just put the ask out to people you know and trust. They will have ideas and places for you to get the help you need. There is always someone who can help, but you have to be willing to ask and then accept the help offered.
Sometimes the overwhelm sets in when we overcommit ourselves. Even though I help others work through this type of problem, I still fall prey to it myself.
Instead of getting upset, or beating myself up, I like to sit in the feeling of overwhelm for awhile. I allow myself to hear what the overwhelm has to tell me and I lean on all the supports I have. I am in several groups where we provide support for each other without judgement. What I realized the last time I truly felt overwhelmed was that I was allowing myself to be pulled away from my goals by saying “yes” to too many other responsibilities. This is the opposite of what I preach to my clients. I used to give a course on goal setting that specifically talks about letting go of things that aren’t inline with your goals. Yet…I wasn’t doing it. I had a friend help me understand why I was allowing this behaviour and discovered that I am saying “yes” to these other responsibilities because they provide a structure that running a business doesn’t provide. Understanding that, I can move forward and provide myself with what I need moving forward.
I took the time to review where I was spending my time, and to reach out for help. I am on several teams and was taking on the full load when I should have been spreading it out. The first person I called was more than happy to take over some of the responsibility. The second was just as supportive. As I moved forward, I listened carefully to what this overwhelm had to say and focused on how I want my life to feel.
When I am in overwhelm, I don’t like who I become; I am impatient and get easily frustrated. That’s not who I want to be or how I want to show up in the world. I want to show up and be the patient and non-judgmental person I can be when I’m not feeling overwhelmed. The only way to ensure that is to give myself some space to enjoy life. While I love what I do, I need time and space to enjoy my family and allow my creativity to flow.
Whether it’s work or things in your personal life, if you are going through something similar, it’s important to reach out to those around you for help. Sometimes while we are in the middle of something we can’t see beyond what is directly in front of us.
Recently, I had a huge list of to-dos and I took on even more. You might think this was crazy, but really it was strategic. I had a client who needed help fast. They bring me lots of work and were in a bind; helping them would help my business in the long run. I could have refused the work because of how full my plate was already, but then I would have missed out on the work they decided to do while I was there. One quick project brought me another bigger one.
There is more to this, though. I also had to reach out for help. I discovered that my family could step-up and take care of some things when I can’t. It may not be done my way, but it gets done. I discovered that when I ask, there are people out there who will help me with anything I need. I also discovered that I can be incredibly efficient when I need to be. Depending on the perspective, my life that week may have looked like chaos, but many things fell into place perfectly.
While I started this blog post thinking I was going to write about asking for help (and I think that is still an important message) there is a second message as well. What can you let go of? Can you say “no” to some of the things you have committed yourself to? Can you take the pressure off some of the expectations you have set? This applies to our personal lives as much as our working lives. We tend to place unrealistic expectations on ourselves, such as maintaining a “perfect house” that is ready for guests at all times. Can you allow the dust to build up a little, knowing the people coming to see you don’t care anyway? They want to see you, not your clean house. We had people over last weekend and some guests arrived earlier than we expected – we were NOT at all ready. You know what happened? Nothing. They are our friends, and we enjoyed each other’s company. We had a great time because I didn’t let the things we didn’t get done concern me. We just enjoyed each other’s company.
Let it go. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. It’s way more fun when we let that expectation go. When you are feeling overwhelmed with the day-to-day, take a step back and see what each thing is teaching you. Sometimes it’s showing you how awesome you can be, and sometimes it’s showing you that you need to learn to say “no”.