“Stop the glorification of busy” ~ Anonymous viral internet quote (ironically)
Let’s get this straight – you can kick ass, rock your life, have big adventures, AND know how to take it slow, savoring every moment.
In fact, if you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re going to need to learn, or else you’ll burn out before you ever get to truly enjoy the fruits of your blood sweat and tears.
Trust me – I’ve been on the fast train a whole lot, whether it was jetting around to 22 countries a year or practically living in the hospital delivering babies because I thought it was the coolest thing ever (it IS pretty cool;). I love to stay up late and create, and I love to dance and sweat under the full moon until the sun rises.
But I can’t keep it up forever. Especially now that I’m 40, and life demands more from me than in previous life stages – in a good way!
If you’re only in your 20s, don’t waive this off as something to think about “later.” Trust me: you need to get this now too. And better sooner than later, because that way you’ll be able to rock it more fully for longer!
Let’s take a look at the woman many people admire these days: She gets up at 5am and runs 6 miles before work, power-houses it at the Corporation whilst slugging down her green juice, squeezing in a lunchtime yoga session and munching down a salad, then comes home after an hour in traffic, makes dinner, pounds out a presentation for the deadline, and hits the sack at 11pm, thoughts spinning about the next day and feeling happy, healthy, and strong, albeit exhausted.
Or if that isn’t your style, maybe you admire the woman who is on the vagabond road, perpetually traveling and adventuring and making the most of every moment, never sleeping in the same place for more than one night, not having an address or even cookware because she doesn’t have a kitchen. Or a home. Or a consistent community. But man, she is doing cool shit. And drinking whisky while she’s at it. Her motto? Sleep when you die. And she is obsessed with never, ever missing out. On anything. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to the wazoo0ith degree. Yes, I made that word up.
Oh wait – that was me for few decades…
In any event, I bet these scenarios seem pretty sexy to a lot of you. This kind of sexiness sells. You’ve seen the corporate version of these “high-energy” women in TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Bones, and The Good Wife. Angelina Jolie is a role model for many young women, and manages to look hot, save the world, fly a plane, and have too many kids for me to remember. And spend a ton of time in Africa and other exotic continents between sex scenes.
Go go go and WIN! It’s what our society admires – having it all. At full speed ahead. And there’s nothing wrong with that, per se
The problem is, this isn’t sustainable. And that’s OK too – it doesn’t need to be sustainable. For the most part, if you take care of yourself, you are able to handle bursts of manic creativity and adventure. But the operative phrases are “if you take care of yourself” and “bursts” (not years of it).
I know women like the ones described above, and obviously I’ve lived like that too. And guess what? It catches up. You get a bunch of colds. You feel “foggy-headed,” or groggy. You have less energy and are constantly tired. You feel like you’re always “fighting off something.”
Or maybe you really let it get out of control and you get an auto-immune disease. You become bitchy. You gain weight, become an emotional eater. Or you lose too much weight. Feel chronic pain. Your hormones get out of whack. You act impatient. You have digestive problems and feel bloated and fart a lot. You have trouble sleeping. Your skin breaks out. And if you wait until menopause to get this figured out, this “transition” will particularly kick your ass.
Or in my case, maybe you get cancer. Twice, because you didn’t figure it out the first time.
For those of you who have been following me for awhile, you may remember the posts in my FullOn365 blog. There, after a second cancer snafoozle, I aspired to live every day Full On for an entire year. You’d think it was an exhausting year full of adventure after adventure. But an important lesson was that it became more about being fully present, fully IN whatever it was that I was doing, that made things feel FULL ON. It was less about what I was doing and more about how I was being – capiche?
Can you really have it all? Well, it depends what you mean. I believe you can have it all – just maybe not all at the same time.
So how can you have it all and balance it so you don’t burn out?
Here are 6 Tips for Ending Overwhelm:
1) Balance out having it all by prioritizing what is most important to you.
We need to be clear about what we want and what’s important to us: get clear about what’s important. If you haven’t yet, download my free Ultimate Getting Clear Guide from my website – the form to receive it is in the sidebar. It’s a great place to start! Also, check out this article I wrote on how to prioritize.
If we want to travel the world and save up for a house, which is the most pressing desire right now? Choose that. You can have the other as well, just maybe in a bit. And in the meantime, you can create a situation where you can try to make money WHILE traveling the world and have your cake and eat it too. But if you travel and spend, the fact that you aren’t saving for your house will wear at you in the back of your mind and eventually lead to overwhelm, exhaustion, and low self-esteem.
2) Address your highest priorities FIRST in your day.
If you know that to stay healthy and sane you need to sleep 8 hours, meditate for at least 10 minutes, and get in 20 minutes of yoga at a minimum, you better be dammed sure you schedule everything ELSE around those three things. As the article here describes, its nice to have 3-5 very clear things that you make as your priorities each day. They don’t have to just be self-care things either. They can be a passion project or a hobby.
Hint: at least a few of those things should be self-care though;)
3) Use your best energy time-of-day for yourself.
That means that if your best energy is in the morning, you do your self-care practices in the morning. If you are at your best in the evening, you make sure to do something lovely for yourself then too. Your work and caring for other people also flow well when you are in your energetic “zone,” but you need to prioritize yourself as well during this time. YOU deserve your best first. This will pay off in the end, so you don’t half-ass meeting your soul’s needs – or the needs of those you care about.
4) Make yourself go to bed early. You need it to replenish your energy – even if it feels like you don’t.
By that I mean early enough to feel refreshed the next day – whatever that is for you. If you don’t wake up feeling alert and awake, you’re not resting enough (or you need to detox, but that’s another topic we’ll address as we get closer to our next cleanse). Unless you are one of those Tibetan monks who can enter Stage IV deep sleep while meditating and remaining alert of your surroundings, you do need to sleep, gorgeous. Seven to eight hours a night. Sorry;)
5) Take naps if you need to so that don’t need stimulants later in day.
Sleeping enough will also help with this. You can get in a 20-min power nap at lunch for in that afternoon slump between 2-5pm if you have to.
Being tired in our culture is funny. If we’re hungry we’ll eat, if we’re thirsty we’ll drink, but if we’re tired we wonder, “What’s wrong?” Nothing’s wrong! You simply need to rest. “I can’t nap!” you may think. Well, if you’re tired. Simply lie down because that alone helps your body rejuvenate.
6) Avoid decision overload. Create routines!
This can, and will be, a blogpost in and of itself. We make so many decisions – like 30 decisions in only 5-10 seconds of being on Internet. Where do I click, where do I scan the page, which article do I pay attention to, how do I close that popup? Just look at the decisions we make around food and how often we think about and plan for meals and snacks – let alone making decisions around what the people who will be eating with us will need!
Having routines decreases the number of decisions we have to make. Simplify your menus, have a regular bedtime, create a morning routine that is non-negotiable (for the most part;)
People who make good decisions formulate life so they have to make fewer of them. They set up routines and clear boundaries and have clarity about what they want – and don’t want.
Hint: Make decisions after breakfast and lunch because decisions use so much energy and glucose that we actually make better decisions after having eaten.
OK, peeps! That’s 6 tips for now. Let me know below what works for you to help end overwhelm. The more tools we can have – and share – the better!
Want more? Sign up for my free Jedi Juice call this month: Slow is Sexy – End Your Overwhelm and the Glorification of Busy