It feels like it’s been a little while since I shared a personal life update here. In fact, I wrote a really long update post about our house projects last month but never hit publish. The reason? I simply ran out of time to get everything sorted. That’s been a common theme in life recently.
This last month or so has brought a lot of changes (not the bad kind, in fact they’re the very good kind!) but it has had a knock-on effect on everything else. Dedicating more time to one aspect of your life, even temporarily, can have a huge impact on all the other little things – like keeping your home tidy, staying healthy, and taking photos for your blog.
In the next few weeks life will feel much simpler again, and there’ll be more time to spend on my home and my projects. In the meantime I wanted to share a few ways that I’ve been trying to keep on top of things with a limited amount of time (and energy!) so if you’re going through a busy time too I hope this helps.
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How to handle overwhelm when life gets busy
1. Clear your mind
There’s SO much going on in our heads all the time. We’re keeping track of important dates, the daily routine, thinking of ideas for work, planning our next big project and everything else. It’s a big ball of words, thoughts and feelings as we plan, narrate and navigate our lives.
One of my favourite ways to stop feeling so overwhelmed is to try and clear my mind. Talk it out – with your partner, your friends, family, or a Facebook group that feels supportive to you. Write things down – make a to-do list, note some things down on a whiteboard or get out those Post-It Notes (these are my fave*) and get writing. The goal is to free up some more ‘space’ in your head for taking action, instead of worrying or planning.
2. Tell people that you’re going to be busy
One of my major sources of overwhelm is guilt. If I’m busy with work or my business I feel guilty that I’m not contributing enough at home, or that I’m not being present enough for my friends. Talking to the people who’ll be affected by me being less available eliminates a good amount of that guilt, freeing up more energy for tackling my goals.
Being open about being less available can bring other benefits too. You might find that a friend has gone through something similar and has an amazing way of coping, or a family member might offer to help with something. Communicating before and during busy times in life strengthens friendships and relationships. Everyone has times they need their close friends and family more – don’t feel bad if this is one of those times.
3. Accept the way things are
Along with eliminating guilt, accepting that you are busy and overwhelmed can actually go a long way to solving it. In most cases, thankfully, this kind of overwhelm is temporary. It might last a few days or a few weeks, but it won’t last forever. It’ll pass. Taking a moment to realise this and become comfortable with the way things are right now puts you in a place of power and control. While we can’t control what needs doing, we can control how that makes us feel (to some degree). By accepting that life is busy right now you’re aware of it and working from a place of clarity, instead of feeling like you’re always playing catch up.
4. Set achievable goals
If you’re working on a big project, have a deadline or there’s something important going on in life it can feel like making progress is impossible. There are these huge, impossible mountains to climb and you just can’t do it. Breaking the big tasks down into smaller, achievable goals not only helps you stay motivated to achieve them but you’ll feel like you’re making progress. That ‘feeling’ can be so powerful – completing 3/15 smaller tasks feels like a big win compared to not ticking off that one big task, doesn’t it?
One of my favourite ways to track goals and stay motivated is really simple – I use a whiteboard (like this one*). In my home office I have a big whiteboard where I write down my deadlines or tasks to complete this week and next week, as well as some space for other notes. This visual representation of what I need to do is helpful, and crossing off each task keeps me motivated to keep working through them. I know that trying to work from my head or even a digital to-do list wouldn’t work from me, so if you’re a visual person this can be a great way of tracking your progress.
5. Embrace some ‘life hacks’ or ‘home hacks’
When life gets busy clawing back a few minutes here and there feels like a huge win, so embracing a few ‘life hacks’ can change your environment and the way you feel.
I know that one of the first things that goes out the window when I’m overwhelmed is keeping our home tidy, so this time I made sure to try a few ‘cleaning hacks’ to stay on top of it all. The simplest ones are the best – like carrying objects up or down the stairs, so you’re tidying as you go, or getting the kids to put away their toys before bedtime. There are a few I’m not as great at as I could be (the washing up after dinner is one of them, which is why we’re investing in a dishwasher!), but even recognising your own personal ‘failures’ helps take away some of that feeling of being overwhelmed.
When life’s a little less busy, it might be a great time to declutter your home and make it easier to cope with those busy times in the future.
6. Schedule in some ‘me time’
This is one of the first things to go when you’re busy, isn’t it? I can’t remember the last time I painted my nails or binge-watched a series on Netflix. It’s tempting to focus on what needs doing and nothing else, but you soon end up feeling burned out and low on energy – making it hard to actually get things done. Investing in your health and wellbeing is so important when life gets busy, so do make some time to relax and do nothing. It might feel counter-intuitive but it’s actually wonderful for your productivity.
Sometimes you really do need to let some things go and hand them over to someone else for a bit. Maybe you can call in a favour with a friend (then repay them later, or pay it forward), or hire a cleaner for a few hours this month to keep your home feeling comfortable. If having the kids at home is making it impossible to make your work deadline, finding some short-term childcare might cost money but delivering great work on time will do wonders for your business relationship. I know outsourcing aspects of life isn’t possible for everyone, but if it is and the costs are workable for you then it is worth thinking about.
Outsourcing works not only in life but in business too. As a social media specialist a big part of what I do is managing social media and creating content, allowing my clients to feel less overwhelmed and focus on what’s important to them. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your business or by running your blog, is there anything you could outsource to a social media manager or a virtual assistant?
Be kind to yourself
Hopefully this overwhelm won’t last forever. While it does, remember that you’re important too and that you can’t do your best work if you’re low on energy. Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to seek out support, motivation and solutions.
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Has this helped you, or know someone who’d love it?
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