“To overextend yourself is to invite defeat.” – G. William Domhoff
We all know the feeling, we have too much to do and too little time, and soon we begin to feel like a piñata at our six year olds birthday party, battered and flung in every direction.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you spend time worrying about time? Uh huh, I knew it!
- Do you eat on the go? Lunch on your lap in the car? C’mon admit it.
- Do you get enough sleep? Are you starting to resemble a zombie from the walking dead?
- Do you make time for your friends, family or hobbies? The work pot luck doesn’t count.
- Do you make time for your health, via exercise and healthy eating? Eating apple pie doesn’t count for your daily fruit intake.
- Can you handle change? Does even a five minute change up in schedule freaks you out?
The problem with overextending ourselves this way is that one little shift is like a jenga puzzle; it’s all going to come crashing down.
You need to hear this – if you’re being flung in every direction, then you’re not really following through on anything or doing anything particularly great.
Your internal foundation will be shaky: Health, money, relationships and work will eventually crack.
What’s even worse than that is the speed with which your life will fly by without enjoying all the simple moments, these moments which are your life.
If any of this sounds like you, then you need to make some changes.
1. Start with outer changes
Make a list to assess what changes you can make.
Consider hiring a housekeeper or babysitter if it’s within your means. Set yourself a realistic schedule or maybe it means taking a break from your social agenda.
2. Learn how to say No – be assertive
We have a choice how to respond to others’ demands, we are under no obligation. Our first priority must be our own needs. Helpful hints to saying No without causing a rift:
- Tell them maybe, and then take the proper time to think it over.
- Be honest and explain that you can’t commit because you have previous priorities.
- Soften the blow by saying, “I’d love to but……….”
- Give them a suggestion, “I’m not the best person to help you with that because…..”
3. Put you first
Put your own needs first. Like on a plane, always put your mask on first, otherwise you are no good to anyone else.
You may be a mother/father, sister/brother, boss/employee but you are so much more than just these roles, don’t be defined or ruled by others expectations. Take some special you time.
Meditation won’t solve all your outer problems, and it won’t prevent future problems but what is will do is give you the clarity and calmness to deal with whatever comes up.
We lack control over external conditions and that leaves us feeling powerless. Through meditation we grow the wisdom to understand that we are not powerless to all the outer turmoil; we can allow stillness and peace into our lives, even if just temporarily.
5. Practice Mindfulness
The sad reality is that our lives are passing by very quickly. In our state of constant outer busyness, the mind is also in a state of inner busyness, it bounces, prepares, chatters and fixates as we skip from thought to thought in a foggy haze.
Mindfulness is about changing the way we pay attention; it will slow us down and connect us with a peaceful state of living.
Stop taking life so seriously. No matter what’s going on, life will go on, stop causing yourself unneeded stress.
7. Write it out
Journaling will allow you to clarify your thoughts and feelings, release powerful emotions, gain clarity and let go. It can also be a great problem-solving tool; sometimes it’s easier to come up with a solution on paper.
Let go of what you don’t need and stop worrying about what you can’t change.
8. Ignore Expectations
Accept that what others think you should do might not be what you want or need. And that’s okay.
What other people love, such as hiking, you might not enjoy. Don’t be afraid to be honest. Lose your shoulds’, you don’t have to do anything.
9. Remember you’re not Perfect
If you miss a spot on the washroom floor its ok. Being perfect can replace any sense of fun with a nagging, soul-sucking endless effort that never gets anything quite right.
Stop obsessing, perfectionism will only leave you frustrated.
10. Focus on one task at a time
Take a deep breath and focus on one task at a time. Fully complete each task before moving onto the next.
Take time to:
- do something that will make YOU feel happy!
Tina is a student of Buddhism, meditation and yoga. She writes about cultivating happiness through mindfulness at her own blog: Barefoot Beginnings. Tina lives near cottage country in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two dogs. Also a vegetarian and animal lover she enjoys photography, travel and nature. But mostly she’s just a free spirit trying to follow the path.