The school holiday has just begun. You’re taking your annual family holiday very soon. You've still got work to do and so much to do at home in preparation for the holiday that you don't know where to start. That sickly and unwanted feeling of anxiety is slowly rising. You’re feeling frozen.
It seems your body is crying and craving your attention by trying to tell you to slow down and that everything will be fine. Yet with life demands that you’re charging ahead, firing on all cylinders, and actioning all of the to-do lists before you go off on the ‘jollyday’. The old frenemy Overwhelm is paying you a little visit.
Please can you just stop to take a breath?
Take a moment to be still. Counter-intuitive as it may sound - ‘how can I?’ I hear you ask. Charging ahead may get things done quicker. Although I wonder if this is that true. At what or whose expense? Mistakes could happen, relationships could be affected, misunderstanding could happen, things could end up taking longer to do. And in the meantime, you’re getting more overwhelmed and stressed.
So please stop and breathe. Take a break. Drink water. Go outside. Allow yourself to calm down. Easier said than done I know.
But please, just try and do this. Better still, try meditation. Don’t be put off by the term meditation. See it as sitting in silence for a few minutes. Meditation helps calm the body and still the mind. Subsequently it lessens your anxiety and enables you to focus again. To help you relax, trying saying to yourself this mantra repeatedly during the meditation : ‘I have nowhere to go, nothing to do’.
Once you’re back to feeling calmer and focus, review your to-do list. With clearer mind, you’ll be able to decide which ones are important and need to be done first (if at all - does everything need to be done?), and the rest can either be postponed, delegated or deleted. Then focus on one thing at the time and don’t multitask. Multi-tasking is a myth of getting things done quicker. It actually takes you away from being really present in what you’re doing.
You can do anything but not everything. No one can do everything. So be kind to yourself. It’s so often that we criticise ourselves for the things that we haven’t done that we forget to acknowledge or celebrate the things that we have done.
Extend this self-kindness and nurture your body with the attention and nourishment it needs. Drink more water, eat nutritious foods and get an early night. Get outside and go for a walk or for run to shake off the anxiety, try yoga*, give your loved ones a hug (hugging for 20 seconds has been proven to relieve anxiety). Lean in to your friends.
Remember that this is just a phase, one busy period and like anything else, it will pass.
It’s OK if you don’t get through your to-do list. There are other things that are more important - family, friends, life.
Can you now please breathe a sigh of relief, give yourself a hug and smile with the heart that is full with gratitude? Then reminds yourself what really matters.
Let me know if these are useful for you or not. And if you have got your own to share, I’d love to know. Please leave your thoughts in the comment below.
Love Claryn x
*Movement for Modern Life is a paid online yoga classes and offers free 2 weeks trial.