We have all been there. When everything seems overwhelming; on every single front. When things go to sh*t.
It is not about denying that these periods occur from time to time. Rather, what can we do when we are knee deep in the sh*t?
How to make sense of things when you are knee deep in sh*t
We know that contagion of emotions is real.
If you’re coming into work and trying to lead your team whilst your life is falling down around you, it’s very likely that sense of panic and disarray will transfer to your team too. This stuff matters – both for you and for the impact it has on those around you.
There are three elements to how you make sense of things when you are knee deep in it.
- Keeping yourself well so that you can deal with what is happening
- Rationally observing what the issues are
- Dealing with the issues
Keeping yourself well
The reality is that none of us are any good to anyone if we are not functioning well ourselves.
It is so tempting to de-prioritise our own health and wellbeing when life keeps sending the curve balls but the reality is this is the MOST important time to look after ourselves.
I wrote this Facebook post over the weekend:
Things have been busy with some stressy stuff thrown in recently. It is always so tempting to burrow in & work harder and harder, trying to juggle all the balls, that spin quicker & quicker.
If this feels like life for you at the moment – think about doing the reverse; by upping the self care.
It is the usual suspects, I’m afraid – but that’s because they work..
A small 3 minute meditation first thing in the morning, with perhaps some quick breathing exercises in the loo during the day. Food that nourishes the soul. Exercise that tells your body you appreciate all that it’s doing for you. Less of the stimulants.
Even if you do these things bit by bit – introducing them so they’re sustainable- you’ll start to feel a difference. The balls won’t spin so fast & you might catch the odd one before it falls to the ground!!
I’m taking my own advice – have been off the coffee for just over two weeks & have started my morning meditations again. I know these things will help – as will going to the gym as often as I can & having an early morning walk & talk with a dear friend.
If the balls are spinning out of control for you at the moment – what small things can you introduce that will start to rebalance?
None of these things won’t change the balls spinning of course, but they will alter your ability to view them more rationally & cope with them.
Rationally observing the issues for what they are
When we are overwhelmed, it becomes easy for everything little thing to add to the overwhelm.
A good tip here is to rationally observe what is causing you the overwhelm. If you’re too knee deep in it to see anything rationally, ask a sensible friend to help. Which of the issues are really contributing to the problem. Which can be easily dealt with in the calm light of day? Are there any which are just non issues?
My favourite trick is to ask myself- will this matter in one year or five years time? If not, and it’s contributing to overwhelm – let that sucker go! (Book week costumes – I am looking at you!)
Dealing with the issues
I know that this is sometimes easier said than done. When it feels like we are so stuck in the sh*t that we literally cannot move.
But breathe deeply.
Ask a good sensible friend or trusted colleague or coach to help.
And see if these tricks assist.
Circles of Influence
One of the sources of overwhelm and stress is trying to control things that we have no control over. Being able to see clearly what we control, what we can influence, and what we have ZERO control over can bring clarity (and peace) to the situation.
And then, there is the very Buddhist concept of acceptance. It sucks not to be able to control every aspect of our life. But that is the reality. And even more so that we are often impacted by things that we have no control or influence over. But it is pointless agitating over these aspects of the stress.
Accepting the situation and then deciding to control what you can control is so empowering.
What we can control:
And there is lots that we can control. We can control:
- Our responses to situations and people;
- Our mindset;
- How we view a situation; and
- How we choose to look after ourselves.
This post first appeared on www.tammytansley.com.au