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How am I going to get the laundry done?
How am I going to finish that work project?
When am I going to get to the grocery store?
It is Frank’ Birthday, and I need to buy him a gift.
Not to mention the charity event I agreed to host.
AHHH I am never going to get everything done.
Overwhelm is commonplace in our society. Most of us live in a constant state of overwhelm or anxiety. One of the leading causes of overwhelm is wanting to be all things to all people. Wanting to do the unattainable which is make everyone happy. We have everyone else as a priority in our lives and so everyone else gets put ahead of us. One trick to dealing with overwhelm is getting very clear on your priorities. When your priorities start getting pushed out by other people’s priorities, we get into trouble.
One of my favorite ways to deal with overwhelm is to get very very clear on what is most important. One way I have found to get to the heart of that question is to ask the another question:
Why do you show up each day?
So basically, what keeps you coming back? Why do you show up to your life each and every day? Usually, initial answers include work, money, responsibility, family. But when you can drill down and keep getting more and more specific….the areas of your life that are MOST important to you start to emerge. These answers include my kids, my wife, to make a difference in the world, to share my gifts of problem-solving, to give back, to be a good daughter or sister or mother, etc.
When we know the answer to why we show up each day. When we know WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT in our lives. We know our top priorities, and we can let the other stuff go. When we know that family, money, giving back, being loving and our physical health are the most important things in our lives. We can then learn to say no to all the people/ideas/activities that don’t feed those priorities.
For example, you come home from work overwhelmed and stressing about an interaction with a co-worker, Your spouse leans in to give you a hug, and you remember…THIS right here, THIS is what is important. Work will be there tomorrow; this problem is not life or death. Or you snap at your spouse…he snaps back…before you even know what is happening you are in a knock down drag out fight, and you think, “Why are we fighting?” And you remember he is one of your top priorities, work is not. You apologize and ask for the hug that you needed earlier. Both are examples of letting the non-priorities go.
One of the causes of overwhelm is a mix-up in priorities. Confusion around Why we show up for our lives? I love this question because it is an excellent reminder that you have a choice every day to show up. So often we treat life like it is a play that was written for us. You are actively writing your life every single day!! When you know why you show up, you can then start prioritizing your life around those ideas. And start letting the other stuff go.
As you notice yourself getting overwhelmed or anxious stop breathe and ask yourself “Why do I show up each day?” and take the time to notice the answer.