3 Tips to Ditch the Drama of Overwhelm
Ask someone how they are doing and chances are they will reply, “Busy!” As in, “I’m too busy to exercise or eat healthy foods.”
It seems like “busy” replaced “I’m fine, how are you?” a long time ago and no one has really recovered. Usually after we say that we are busy we feel compelled to recite a long list of evidence to support this assessment leading us to have heart palpitations and the declaration, “I’m overwhelmed!”
Well, true. Sometimes there are points in our lives when we are dealing with a crisis, like if your house just got flooded out in Houston or you are faced with a tough medical diagnosis, then it’s completely understandable to be overwhelmed. Let’s face it, if you’re sitting in a boat on the rooftop of your house, eating a well-balanced meal isn’t your top priority; survival is. (By the way, if you’d like to donate to help Hurricane Harvey victims click here: Red Cross.)
But most of us are just busy because we tend to overcommit ourselves. We have a job (or two), plus a family, a pet, church or volunteer activities and an overwhelming desire to binge watch TV. The last thing we (think) we have time for is cooking whole foods and trekking to the gym.
Being “overwhelmed” is often just a convenient excuse to order pizza and allow the dumbbells in the corner to gather dust. So let’s bust the myth of having no time and offer some strategies to find more time.
- Choose Your Words Wisely.
Have you ever said, “I have a million emails in my inbox! It will take me days to read it all!” A million? Really? Maybe it’s more like 12 emails that will take you 30 minutes to answer. So once that’s done, boom you have time to go to the gym.
Also, stop telling yourself that there’s “no time” to do stuff. Because if you were crazy busy and had no time, but then your car broke down on the highway, suddenly you would find time in your schedule to take it to the mechanic. The truth is we make time in our schedule for what is important to us.
New Mantra: There is exactly enough time to do what is important to me.
Say it loud and proud every time you feel overwhelmed. If getting in 30 minutes of exercise each day is something you truly desire you will find the time.
2. Just Say No.
This can be difficult especially if you have, as Oprah calls it, the disease to please. On any given weekend you might be invited to birthday parties, charity or church events, plus your kids sporting practices. That will be the weekend that someone will also ask you to chaperone the school camping trip. Just say no to one (or all) of them. Look inside yourself and figure out which thing actually are fun and/or enriching for you; attend those events and say no to everything else. This will be hard. Someone might get mad. But if they do, it’s their choice to feel mad. Stop making yourself crazy saying yes to everything in an attempt to make people like you or to make yourself into a martyr. Sanity is way more valuable. And it gives you the extra hour you need to food prep your meals for the week, which ultimately saves you time in the long run.
3. Find the Humor.
Epic fails make remarkably funny stories, especially several years after the fact. So when you are going through a rough patch when noting is working, try to find the humor in the situation.
I remember a few years ago, it had been an amazingly rough month. My mother died, I had to write her eulogy on Mother’s Day, my entire family was fighting, the mortgage company said I had to get paperwork to them right now or else! and I hadn’t blogged in weeks. I felt like whining and complaining about my pathetic state of life, but did I? No. I wrote a positive story about boxing. And that’s when the tornado ripped the roof of my house.
Seriously. But it made for a funny blog post. And shit, if I can laugh after all that you probably can too.
Also, the wonderful thing about cooking healthy meals and exercising consistently every day is that it gives you structure to your life, which can be truly calming in times of distress.
Summing up: Feeling overwhelmed?
- Choose better words that put things in perspective
- Say no to even more chaos coming into your life. You won’t make everyone happy, but you will definitely make yourself happier
- Laugh at yourself or the situation. Sometimes things are just plain out of your control, but you can control how you deal.
Make time to pamper yourself with foods that nourish your body and movement that helps you relieve stress.
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Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, published author, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!