Everything is getting on top of me; I can’t cope

People often come to me for help because they feel overwhelmed and are struggling to enjoy their lives. Unfortunately, by the time they contact me, they are usually at the end of their tethers and finding it extremely difficult to function in an efficient way. Sometimes they have tried other, unsuccessful, ways of taking back the reins of their life, often they have been hoping things would get better all by themselves but found that, instead, more and more things have piled on top of their already over-flowing to-do list. They wait, due to time or money restrictions, because they don’t want to admit, let alone be seen, to have ‘failed’, because they don’t realise there is another, easier, way to be or that there is help available. I could have saved them so much misery by telling them that Nothing and no one can ever hurt us.

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

I find that it isn’t just machines that benefit from a short break, humans do too. We often find ourselves getting more and more stressed and not daring to rest for a moment. Our bodies and minds care for us every minute of every day, protecting us from anything they feel would not best serve us well; I think we should repay them by giving a little back, don’t you? Maybe you’re screaming at me that you haven’t got time for self-care. May I respectively respond that this is precisely when going easy on and nurturing yourself are so important. Even a small amount of time a day is beneficial. People sometimes say they are too busy even for that, but it’s really a question of priorities; it’s very seldom that we literally haven’t enough time for a little time to ourselves to be quiet…a little self-soothing. This reminds me of the old Zen saying:

You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day, unless you’re too busy, in which case, you should sit for an hour

Society seems to expect more and more from us every day….so we push ourselves harder and harder to appear that we are managing as well as everybody else is. I wonder if you’ve ever considered that those super men and women who seem to be managing their work, home, family and social lives so perfectly are looking at you and thinking exactly the same thing? We each choose how we want to portray ourselves so it’s nonsensical to compare our crumbling inside with others’ calm outsides, isn’t it?

We feel pressurised into becoming cleverer, faster, prettier, richer, stronger…….so innocently we are upping the bar for us all. I decided to jump off that destructive treadmill before my physical and mental health got any worse…and do you know what? The sky didn’t fall in on me! In fact, having taken the pressure off by stopping judging myself and others, I’m more efficient and certainly more happy.

Relax…..nothing’s in control

When we understand that we’re wasting an awful lot of time arguing with the way things are, the things we cannot control, it frees us up to time-manage and work efficiently. The only thing we can ever change is ourselves ; I decided to change myself into someone who didn’t argue with ‘what is’, who let stuff go. I’m not overstating it when I say it’s changed every single part of my life.

It’s all too much

When we become overwhelmed it can be difficult to see our way out, so it’s always better to prevent rather than cure it. Nevertheless, there are some great ways of digging yourself out of the dark hole.

I like to make lists so that I can see exactly what I need to do and then I prioritise them. I always find that some of the things begging for priority have been given an urgent status by me rather than being ‘actually’ time-pressing. For instance, I might decide that it is necessary for me to thoroughly clean my house before going on holiday, so I rush around with a duster and vacuum and stay up half the night ironing and packing. As far as I know, there are no laws forcing us to leave the house exactly as we want to find it and, as far as I am aware, no one has suffered fatally by returning to a less than perfect home. You may enjoy Stop holding yourself back and get on with your life. Once you realise that we have written a lot of our rules, it becomes fun to find and rewrite or remove them.

Another thing we do when we become overwhelmed is to procrastinate; we put off jobs because we feel they’ll be awkward and then leave them in the back of our mind to fester and become even bigger. You might like to read Living in the now; love this moment. We even start doing other, unimportant tasks, which we kid ourselves are of vital importance to avoid the task we’re dreading…I call this busy work. Once we eventually tackle it, it’s almost always far…far easier than we believed.

Practise makes perfect

Taking our life back into our control doesn’t generally take an instant but the more we keep reminding ourselves that we have everything we need within us and that we don’t need to believe any of our thoughts we don’t want to, the more quickly we’ll see our lives improve. I urge you to try it….you have nothing to lose a truly awesome life to gain!

Next time I'm going to be writing about how we can allow ourselves to welcome new and wonderful things into our lives. Until then, have an amazing time and be sure to comment or contact me if you have any questions or input.

Love Catherine x

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