If you're like many of the small business owners I coach, you may feel overwhelmed when life "becomes" crazy busy. But the good news is that while we can't always control the circumstances in our life, we can control the way we respond to the stressful situations in our life. And when we manage our stress, we feel more peaceful, which often frees up energy, allowing us to be more productive in all aspects of our life. Listed below are five tips to help you feel less overwhelmed:
- Make a List - Sometimes, when our lives feel out of control it's because we are worried about all the things we have to do today, tomorrow and next month, rather than focusing on what has to happen right now. But when these random tasks are swimming around in our mind, it can become distracting and overwhelming. So next time you feel that way, make a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish. By doing so, you will be freeing your mind of all the senseless chatter that often drains us of energy.
- First Things First - Once you've created your list of tasks, begin prioritizing the list. Decide what needs to be completed first, second, and so on. Assign a deadline to each task. By prioritizing your life, you will realize that everything on your list doesn't have to be completed immediately. That, in itself, helps many people feel less stressed.
- Take Life One Minute at a Time - I've always thought the AA principle of taking one day at a time is a great one. Even better is this: take life one minute at a time. What I mean by this is to be in the present moment, without thinking about what you did earlier in the day or what you're going to be doing later this evening. Just be where you are, and do what you're doing right now and focus on the process rather than the outcome. When you notice that you're worried about the future or fretting about the past, bring yourself back to the present moment by taking a deep cleansing breath. And remember not to beat yourself up for losing track of the present moment. You're learning a new practice and that takes time.
- Yes You Can - Sometimes, when we feel overwhelmed, it's because we keep feeding ourselves not-so-helpful messages like "I'm never going to get this done" or "I'm an idiot for agreeing to do this." Yet when you keep repeating that tape over and over again, it can make you feel hopeless and out of control. Instead, when you catch yourself doing this, stop the tape and change the message to a positive mantra. Instead of saying "I'll never get this done," try saying this: "I have every confidence I can finish this project by the end of the week." Or better yet, personalize your mantra so it's a perfect fit for you. When you say this mantra or affirmation and mean it, your chances for achieving your goal are greatly enhanced.
- Remember to Breathe - When your whirlwind of thoughts picks up again, and you begin feeling like your life is out of control, take a deep, cleansing breath. Breathe in through your nose and observe your breath as it travels up into your abdomen and your chest, and into your throat. Watch it again as it descends from your throat, into your chest and back down into your abdomen. Continue this practice for as long as it's helpful and comfortable. By doing so, you will be quieting your mind and relaxing your muscles.