Feeling Overwhelmed? The First Step to Greater Self-Care
Last month I was compering an event about Having It All, and what was really interesting was how many members of the audience struggled with the phenomenon of ‘Always Being On’. They all had a To-do list as long as your arm, and as soon as one thing was crossed off the list something else appeared to replace it. And what was even more interesting was the fact that although most of these people realised they were struggling with all the things they had to do/think about/plan, none of them was really prepared to give anything up.
The Hamster Wheel
One of the most common reasons why the Always Being On phenomenon occurs is because people get caught up in the ‘busyness’ of Life. They end up running on stress and adrenaline, caught on the hamster wheel and not knowing how to get off. Many people then try to relax by having screen time – either on social media or bingeing on boxsets. Neither of these genuinely relax you. The blue light from screens is mentally stimulating, social media creates anxiety and TV actively lowers your resting metabolism. When the stressful ‘fight or flight/act now’ cycle finishes, you risk physical and emotional burnout, and if you risk stopping, you’d feel so exhausted that you might not get started again.
If you have a lot going on in your life and are spinning lots of plates, then overwhelm is bound to occur. Keeping the plates turning becomes your only focus, and you start to see nothing else outside of this – like your personal wellbeing, for example. Overwhelm also makes it harder for you to hand tasks over to other people because it’s usually difficult to see how much of a toll it’s taking on you.
My Way or The Highway
Overwhelm and The Hamster Wheel often combine to make you feel anxious delegating tasks to others because they ‘won’t do it right’ – i.e: your way. This stems from Perfectionism, which is not so much about wanting things to be perfect, but the unrealistic expectation that you must be successful at everything you turn your hand to, otherwise you are a failure. Delegation takes the control out of your hands, and risks things not being done to your standards.
Take the First Step to Self-Care Today
Hooray – make today the day when you finally cut yourself some slack!
You are a busy person who is used to taking care of things at work and at home, so today, give yourself permission to take your foot off the gas just for a little bit.
Where could you give a little bit less today in order to make a real difference to your stress levels? What would give you the greatest pleasure? Not cooking the tea (a personal favourite of mine)? Great – get a takeaway, go out, or let somebody else cook for a change! Getting into your pyjamas as soon as you get home? Leaving a piece of work to finish the next day? Indulge yourself and do less of what you should do and more of what you want to do today.
Remember this: Cutting yourself some slack doesn’t mean you’re a slacker. The first step in self-care is to allow yourself some space to relax and recharge so you can face the next day with greater energy and more clarity. Giving yourself a break means recognising when you are depleted, understanding when you need some self-care, and acting on it.
So don’t allow any self-critical thoughts to take root. The world will continue to turn without you turning it, so allow it to do so with a little less help from you. And you never know, it might be the opportunity to do more that the people around you were waiting for, but never got.
If you often feel frazzled and have lost enthusiasm for the things you love doing, it might be time to refocus. Dawn has helped many clients find themselves and their passion and would love to speak to you if you need support.