What a week. Do you ever get the feeling that there are so many thoughts and tasks racing around your head that you’re worried you’ll forget to do something important? It’s been one of those. Having your mind in a constant state of readiness is not helpful, not healthy, and not pleasant. Unfortunately, when we juggle so many different roles and demands, it’s kinda unavoidable.
Sometimes you’re just functioning at a ‘just keep everyone fed, clothed and where they need to be’ level, rather than a ‘fully self-actualised best version of yourself’ level. You know what, that’s okay. But it still doesn’t feelgood to be functioning like that; you’re reacting to what life throws at you, rather than enjoying it. So how do you make it a little better for yourself?
The busier you get, the more time out you should take.
What I tend to forget is that the busier I get, the more helpful it is to just sit and take a minute to write it all down. I tell myself I don’t have time to stop while I’m frantically packing school bags, thinking about what to cook for dinner and shoving another load of laundry in the washing machine. This is all backwards. When I take five minutes out to sit and plan my tasks and just get all those thoughts on paper, my head is emptied, and I feel calmer knowing I can just do stuffrather than just feeling anxious about forgetting something. This makes all the difference.
It’s no secret that I’m a planner-person. Through and through, a pen-and-washi-tape-addicted planner geek. There’s nothing better than sitting peacefully before my day starts with a coffee and a gorgeous array of stationery and starting to work out my focus for the day. Especially if I get to make it pretty with coloured pens, papers and stickers…. bliss. In reality, most days I’ve rarely got a minute to eat my breakfast before it’s time for lunch (thank you, freezer prep), let alone sit and get creative. This is when it gets stressful. Whenever those reminders, tasks, meal plans and appointment times are only noted in your head, rather than on paper, the anxiety of forgetting something appears.
Unfortunately, I’m also one of those people who likes things to look pretty. Using a random piece of scrap paper doesn’t seem to give me that calm post-list feeling. My preferred method if I’ve not had chance to set up my planner in advance is to use a tear-off planner pad that’s got space for everything I need. This is the quick and dirty route to staying on top of those days you’re running on fumes and caffeine.
My top survival tips for the frazzled:
- Write it all down. Make a list, and have a space on paper that you can go back to and dump any additional thoughts when they crop up.
- Prioritise. What’s your focus for the day? What are your top three things you absolutely have to get done – pace yourself. Anything else other than that big three is a bonus.
- Just stop. Take a minute. Take five! Do you notice how anxiety seems to co-exist with being busy? The busier you get, the more anxiety creeps in and makes everything seem more urgent or difficult. Do yourself a favour and stop and take a break before you get there.
- Be kind to yourself. Feeling like you don’t have your sh*t together right now? That’s okay. Not living up to your best idea of yourself? That’s okay too. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend.
- Let ‘done is better than perfect’ be your mantra. As pleasing as it may be to make things perfect, there’s just a point where you just need to call time on a task or project and just move on. Maybe it’s the thought that you can’t start something before you’re entirely prepared, equipped or researched. That’s all in your head – just jump in and start and figure it out as you go.
- Give yourself a high-five. At the end of the day, don’t just go to bed feeling exhausted. Take a moment and appreciate what you’ve done. We know that a moment for daily gratitude helps to keep us mentally healthy, but how often do you stop and tell yourself you’ve done a good job? This is where being kind to yourself kicks in – keep those expectations low. Everyone still alive, fed and clothed? Nice work! Survived a day at work
without punching anyone in the face? Well done!
Interested in finding out the psychology of feeling frazzled and what stress does to the way you think? Watch out for Part 2…