“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
– Ude Ibiam Ufiem
A funny thing happened at the dentist last week.
I arrived, sat in the chair, and began to have my teeth cleaned. The hygienist made small talk, and then asked me if I was on vacation. She was shocked to learn that I had just come from the office, saying “I see a lot of people and I can always tell the difference between those who work, and those who are retired or on vacation. Your energy is completely relaxed!”
In some ways, her comment surprised me. At the Symphony, this is one of the busiest and most challenging times of year I have ever experienced. Multiple scenarios are (still!) having to be run, costed and mapped out. Decisions that are made one day are no longer relevant the very next day. Plans that are made have to be cancelled and changed. Audience behaviors and thus marketing strategies that used to be predictable, now are not. The volume of my emails has quadrupled.
I know from my colleagues and my coaching clients that I am not alone. COVID is still a thing, and it continues to wreak havoc.
And yet, I feel okay. In fact, most days I feel both energized AND relaxed. Graduates of The Career Life Breakthrough Academy report feeling the same way.
How is this possible?
Like so many things, the answer is always within our own power. I teach three strategies to help reframe how we think, feel, and react to the stress. See if they help you! At the bottom of this blog, I’ve also included links to three related blogs that you may find helpful.
3 Strategies to Use When Stressed, Overwhelmed and Too Busy!
- Return to and stay in the present moment. How much of your stress is coming from looking ahead at how much needs to get done? Or worrying about “what if…”? Instead, notice what is happening right now, what you can do today, and observe what IS being accomplished. Everything you need is in the present moment, and there are many simple and convenient practices to help you do this as you go through your day.
- Be clear on the impact you want to achieve, instead of all the tasks you have to accomplish. This is tied to #1. Right now, many of us have ToDo lists that are physically impossible to achieve. Instead, look at your list and determine which items are “foundational” – what can you do today to create the possibility for moving the needle and achieving the overall impact you are looking for? And, are there other ways to achieve that same impact? Here’s a BLOG that may help.
- Look inward to determine what part of your stress is coming from yourself rather than others. Notice I didn’t say determine IF part of your stress is coming from yourself. It is. Knowing this can be freeing! Are you stressed because you have a voice in your head that is telling you that you “should” be doing better/more, or you “should” be able to do things on your own? Or that you’re not being valued or respected or listened to? Or that if you don’t accomplish everything, you have failed? Or that you’re angry with everyone around you and you just want to escape? Make a list of the thoughts and assumptions that you have around your stress, overwhelm and fatigue. What are the truthful ways you can reframe how you’re looking at the situation?
Of course, there will always be moments where our stress level rises, or we feel overwhelmed, or exhausted.
The temptation can be to disconnect, avoid and distract ourselves from the feelings and the present moment. This may work in the short term, but I have found that it’s not sustainable. “Reality” can come crashing back, and often even harder than before.
The invitation is to notice your moments of stress and overwhelm and employ these 3 Strategies to connect you to your true value, your impact, and the ways you want to BE in the world.
And, while you always have the ability to choose your thoughts and feelings, there are also moments where external forces may require you to change your situation or job. You can advocate for yourself. You can resign. All of that can be done without internal suffering, YOU control that.
As always, I love hearing from you! Is this a busy time for you, too?
To your success!
Check-out this BLOG, with more resources on this topic!