“I’ve got my country’s five hundredth anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped.”
Prince Humperdinck, The Princess Bride
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of Overwhelming obstacles.”
Yeah, I know. ‘Tis the season…for BUSY. Am I right? Your plate is full. The lists, the planning, the work, the assignments.
Then…it gets fuller.
Expectations, duties, obligations, requirements, want-tos, have-tos. Then comes the proverbial curve-ball and things get officially wack-a-doodle. And you are tempted to say, because you have every right to, that you are honestly and truly “Overwhelmed.” But don’t.
Don’t even go there. Stay on the front-end of pressure – on the light side of creativity, on the upsurge of greatness amidst the best and worst kinds of challenges.
Just back away from “overwhelmed” because when you allow yourself to even utter the word, you cast doubt on your ability to expand. Deferring to “overwhelmed” is like swinging the door wide open for negative energy to enter your space. “Come right in, Angst. Make yourself at home.” “Welcome, Worry. The guest room is yours.” With the likes of this riffraff, you then fret yourself into a funk of not having the wherewithal to surmount obstacles, or generate your dreams. Trust me, it’s bad news.
Evict “Overwhelmed” from your vocabulary. That’s right. Refuse it entry into your psyche. You are bigger than that.
From one who has fought, failed, and risen above the O-word, here is some basic advice to carry on.
Don’t Worry About What you Cannot Do
Would that we were all Superman flying through the air faster than the speed of light, or Wonderwoman with her golden lasso of Truth, but guess what? Yup. So, how’s about being your own kind of superhero and prioritize and give focus to what is most important (ie family, inner peace, chocolate), and say Adios to the rest.
Sometimes Simpler is Better
Most people are not going to scrutinize your every move, so don’t feel the need to reach extravagance or perfection. Just do what you can do.
One time we were having guests over for dinner and I had to work insane hours that entire week. No time to plan/prep anything. Instead of cancelling (these were pretty special guests), I simplified the stress by purchasing our favorite canned chili and sourdough loaves of bread. Then I hollowed out the round bread, poured warm chili into them, and voila, we enjoyed chili bread bowls. It was casual and homey and the guests did not care an iota that it wasn’t homemade. They simply appreciated the hospitality.
Consider it “Decision Made”
Once you’ve decided on a game plan, don’t revisit the decision with contempt (the coulda, shoulda, woulda thinking). Once you have decided, consider it “Decision made!” and invite goodness and light into that time.
SERENITY NOW! – Find Your Calm Place
As a young mom, I was having one of those high-demand, volcanic stress days. Phone ringing, kids yelling, sick baby crying, friends needing, a to-do list as long as my arm, and my very talkative son Connor (who was 4 years-old at the time) following me around the house ALL DAY LONG, “Guess what mommy?” “Why mommy?” “You know what mommy?” Normally, all day conversations with a little guy wouldn’t get to me, but this day…well let’s just say I was on a fast train to Loony-ville. I needed quiet time.
Frank Costanza, Seinfeld
So I snuck into the bathroom, shut the door, closed my eyes, and breathed in the calming air of silence. Just as I am thanking God for a moment of peace, a little knock comes to the door, “Mommy? I brought this for you.” Connor slowly opens the door a few inches, and all I see is his hand reaching in to put one of his Buzz Lightyear Walkie-Talkie arm bands on the counter. “This is for you, mommy, just in case you want to talk to me some more.”
I know, you’re usually good about keeping your cool, but then there are those George Costanza moments. Do yourself a favor and don’t feature fits of frustration. Suck it in. Tell yourself positive motivations (I can do this. I got this). It’s a Jedi Mind Trick of stress release. Finding occasional alone time is key.
In that quiet time, don’t demand of yourself or from God. Just acknowledge the discomfort and then send it away so that Light and Truth can filter in. In other words, find your calm place. Once you find that calm place, you quite likely will discover (as I did with Connor) those golden memories in the making: Buzz Lightyear walkie-talkie-ing.
Remember, You are More Than Your Struggle
You are more than this obstacle. Do NOT let it get the best of you. SHOW YOUR BEST. Show others how Grace under pressure looks. Don’t crumble. Don’t cave.
Focusing on the entire laundry list, may get…you know. Instead, take things One-at-a-time. As you complete a task – this is important – appreciate your small victory. Be grateful that you have checked one thing off the list. Now, don’t clutter productivity by gazing back on Mt. To-Do. One thing at a time, and celebrate those little accomplishments along the way.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
You are only one person – a quite extraordinary individual – but one, all the same. So give yourself a break. You do not have to do all and be all for everyone. Let whatever you do today be enough.
Ask the Help of One Bigger than You
Has it gotten to the point where you are not feeling big enough to meet the day? Rely, then, on Someone who is.
Commit thy way to the Lord; trust also in Him: and He shall bring it to pass.
When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow.”
Whatever your belief system, remember this one thing: You are not alone. The universe sees your potential.
Doesn’t matter what crazies have descended into your world: tragic turmoil, mommy mania, multi-tasking madness, cyclone of success. You have got what it takes to meet life with more giving – not “overwhelmed” at full capacity, but rather, full of capacity.