I hope my regular readers will understand when I say that I’m incapable of expressing coherent thoughts when my life is out of whack! And lately that is exactly how I’d describe things for me.
I’ve been a less scrupulous about posting regularly and I’ve been spending a lot of time doing all the other things that a busy life entails. But I’m still here and I know I’m not alone in feeling rushed and pressured at certain times during the year.
For me it’s the back to school time that feels tight, but for you it might be the holidays, or heck, you might feel pressured every single week so I thought maybe I could share some tips I found helpful in combatting unecessary pressures. I know I’m going to incorporate some into my life. See if you can use any of them yourself?!
Tip One: IN/OUT
This tip is for those of you who keep finding yourselves awash in clutter. Think of your life as a space/time event that you have some control over. Go on! Think about it! There are things you like and there are things you think, and there are activities you must do. In short, there are things you need to accomplish that make you you.
So what are they? Who are you? You see, once you’ve thought about the things that are important to you, then you can begin to decide the value you should place on items in your life.
That would be step one. It’s pretty simple isn’t it? And from that first step we can move to step two- and that is a simple rule. If you bring something into your life, you have to delete something from it. We only have so much space and time to deal with. New things excite us, but they also distract us and can cause anxiety because we then have to figure out how they fit into our lives.
Please note that I’m not talking about deleting people, although some of you may have to do that as well, I’m specifically talking about deleting items. This simple rule is if we are going to add one thing to our lives then we remove one thing that is unnecessary or unused. That is it! You can trim more waste from your life if you remove several things when you bring a new thing into it. If you choose to dispose 4 things each time you bring in 1 new thing then you’ll be cleaning up your life a lot quicker!
Tip Two: DID ANYONE DIE? If not, move along!
This tip is for all of you who like me suffer from enormous guilt. The tip is pretty cold, but some of us need a bucket of ice water in our faces to get that we can’t control some things. We have to do the best we can and move along. Guilt is dreadful and it weighs a body down. So if you find yourself feeling worried and anxious about things you might not have done quite right, or if you wish you had done something just a little better then really, you need to wash your brain out! Let all the nonsense rinse away.
. Let’s keep things simple… If you didn’t kill anyone in doing anything you did then just move along. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES….move along. Life is a process not a product.
Tip Three: First Breathe
There are all kinds of breathing exercises that you can find out about here online. It’s such a natural thing that we probably don’t put any thought into it, but breathing enervates you. It energizes you. It inspires you. So build some breathing time into your life.
Of course you don’t have to schedule it but it might be a good idea to start a habit of thinking about it. Breathe after getting into the car, or breathe thoughtfully prior to brushing your teeth, or take a few moments for some concentrated inhalations before you pick up the telephone to make a call out.
Breathe in one nostril and out the other, or breathe with three fast inhalations and follow that with a slow exhalation. Find what works for you! Just breathe!
Tip Three: Sketch it
Draw out what you are thinking by sketching it. No one is expecting a Rembrandt, or a Picasso from you. You don’t even have to show your work. It’s just that we tend to use our ” thinking mind” as opposed to our “sensing mind” but we need both aspects to be alive in order to make sense of our surroundings and our place in them…
Try this. Draw a small child with oversize shoes and an adult’s hat. Now give them something you’d like to have played with as a child. How does that feel?
Or draw a heart and surround it with lace. How does that sketch make you feel?
Now try to draw a problem and then link it to a possible solution. Your solution doesn’t have to work in the real world, your sketch just has to set your brain on a path of problem solving.
Tip Four: Time it!
When you listen to experts talk about getting things done you’ll often hear them suggest you break jobs into bite sized pieces. Well that is sort of tough to do when you don’t know how much of a mouthful you can handle at a time.
So this tip is to use a timer to help. If there is anything you have in mind that you want to do then choose an amount of time you’d feel comfortable working on it. Then allow yourself an equal amount of time to clean up, and to put things away, and to see where you are at and what you need to do next.
This also works in the other direction. For example let’s say you only have so much time…that might make you put off activities. But using this half and half tip would allow you to break down your time. If you only have a half an hour to spare then that is 15 minutes of actual time that you can do something and that leaves you 15 extra minutes of clean up/ support or follow up planning time for the next opportunity to continue a project or a routine.
Tip Five: Bottom’s Up
When you are problem solving you are very likely to want to try to do it using a “top down” method. Unfortunately this method isn’t likely to actually fix much. You’ll find yourself meandering on nonessentials. No! When you’ve got a problem you have to go to the source!
But what actually is the source of most of our “problems”? Well, some as I’ve mentioned before are totally out of our control, but others might fit into the category of “within our control”. We all know that there are times that we actually feel good about solving problems! The only tough part is knowing which problems are hopeless tasks and which are worthwhile efforts!
The tip here is always start at the bottom! I know that sounds overwhelming at first. But if you consistently work from the bottom on upward then your bottom will improve. You will be solving problems all over the place. And if you take a longer view you’ll see that you’ll be upgrading your problems. While that may sound like a bad idea it’s actually the only idea that will help you feel more like a fully functioning player in the game of life!
If you’ve got stuff hiding in the recesses of your brain, or in the attics or basements of your home then you can’t use that space for more useful and pleasing activities. So buckle down and start at the bottom in lightening your load.
Tip Six: Be Afraid Then Lick it!
We’re all afraid of things. We all could create lists of our fears. Fear is healthy!
Now for the bad news: Fear has a dark side too. Fear can be mind numbing. Fear can drive all significant thought from your brain. You can be hobbled with fear.
So why am I talking about fears? Well, I’m afraid my tip here is to face fears!
NO, we aren’t talking about a fear of heights, or a fear of spiders,you can hang onto them if you want, instead we are talking about our fear of failure, or our fear of speaking, or our fear of handling something effectively. If you hide from those sorts of things you are literally crippling yourself.
Hell, I’m afraid all the time…but I’m finding that when I do something I’ve been holding back on out of fear that I have a new thrilling memory that gets burned into my gray matter. I remember my success with a sense of pride that far outweighs the sense of fear I had been carryiing along with me.
So that’s it! Stress goes away when you are actively engaged in handling it. Don’t try hiding- it won’t work. And please know that I’m working on all of these tips myself! I’m no sage. I’m sometimes a total mess! But like I said life is a process. I’m here. I’ve got lots to do!
Okay, to wrap it all up here are all the tips once again in short form…
If you add something new to your life, you have to take something away!
Keep moving forward unless you’ve killed somebody!
Be Afraid then Lick it!
Have a great day!