How To Cope With Overwhelm

How to Cope with OverwhelmMilitary spouses are always thinking up great ideas in January, but after a few weeks, we often realize that our original lists were a bit too daunting and unrealistic. We are often dealing with an undercurrent of stress—from deployment, to moving, to feeling like a “single mom” who has to do it all alone. The anxiety is always there and, sometimes, this anxiety is enough to prevent us from moving forward at all. Military spouses get so many good ideas for their lives and their businesses, but often have to put these great ideas on hold for the greater good.

Remind yourself that getting sidetracked is perfectly okay. Don’t strive for perfection, just take baby steps towards your passion and keep moving forward, even if it’s at a slower pace. Even if you haven’t yet identified your passion, taking actions will help it unfold perfectly if you keep the momentum growing.

These tips particularly deal with overcoming the feeling of being overwhelmed while trying to actualize your life goals. While it may feel impossible given the anxieties and responsibilities associated with being a military spouse, I promise you that if I can do it, so can you!

Starting Small

So often, we already know what to do (especially when we ask our wise selves), but it’s the doing that’s the actual problem. If you ever feel this way, remind yourself that it’s totally normal and that any ambitious spouse should expect life to sometimes get in the way.

I love the concept of getting your goals into writing, but even when we write down what we want, it’s hard to find time to actually implement it. Sometimes, I feel that whenever I set aside a morning just to write, I inevitably end up with a sick kid. Or every time I commit to taking a personal day, I end up needing to help a close friend with something urgent.

We’ve all been there, so there’s no reason to beat yourself up about it! I suggest writing down three goals each season in the areas of health, wealth, and relationships. I also like rewriting these goals on a daily basis or at least the days where they don’t feel as clear in my mind, adjusting them to fit my current dreams.

I like to write my three goals on the cover of whatever journal I’m using. That way, every morning when I start writing my three pages in longhand, I am reminded of my goals. I then take a few moments to reflect, feeling gratitude, clearing my head, and setting my intention for the day.

Communicating With Your Wise Self

As my readers know, I am a huge fan of morning journaling! I feel that it’s a great way to tap into the wisdom of what will motivate us each day. I listen to my intuition that sometimes says I need a rest day or I am going to get sick, but most days, my wise self reminds me, “just get started and it won’t be that bad.”

I literally write out, “what next steps do I want to take?” and then quietly listen for the answer to come from deep within me. One of my clients has told me that her wise self will give her hunches to make a particular phone call or even suggest that she sign up for classes.

Some clients have asked me whether or not it’s okay to be negative and write about being frustrated at work or mad at one’s spouse as part of their journaling practices. Many of us have read that it’s good to stay positive, which is definitely true to some extent. However, I find that it’s easier to be positive if you have a safe place to vent; it’s important to give your problems some space on the page.

Let these morning pages be cathartic—a way for you to relieve and release emotions. That way, when you can close the journal, you can spend the rest of the day feeling grounded and ready to commit your time to what you have decided matters most.

In this way, the benefits of your morning pages become twofold. You write away your cloud thoughts to get to your wise self while also teaching your subconscious that a little “me” time is a wonderful way to start the day. By dedicating each morning to this practice, you subconsciously remind yourself that it’s important to make you a priority in your life. I love the ritual of pouring myself a cup of coffee, opening my journal, and just inviting grace to come into my day.

Planning With an Eye on Doing

Everyone has their own morning rituals and ways they like to plan. I like to do an overview of everything I want to accomplish in a week each Sunday night. Then, I spend a few minutes of planning each morning reflecting on these goals after I finish my morning journaling.

There are days when I don’t journal but I still make sure to take five minutes to consider what I want to do that day. When I find some downtime, I try to ask myself what would best serve me based on how I am feeling and how motivated I am in that moment.

Different people plan in different ways. I have one client who swears by making a “to do, to be” daily list, while others love using their phones and other technologies to plan. I personally love using a paper journal and putting “me” dates on a physical calendar so that I can visually anticipate the reward.

Do what works for you but consider weaving in a little time for reflection no matter what system you use. By contemplating your process, you will improve it and help better align your goals and your to-do list.

Plan With Your Heart

Another planning tip I give, particularly to my type-A clients (like me), is to plan more with your heart than your head. I used to be a taskmaster, but I started realizing that I wanted to enjoy the process itself more.

By using your intuition, you can play off of your moods and get more done with less effort. By spending a few minutes looking at your vision board and lifting your vibration, you might just find that you can work smarter rather than harder.

Do what works for you, but one of the keys to getting over feeling overwhelmed is pushing yourself to take one tiny action step. Trust that the momentum will follow.

Taking Steps Forward

Our brains are filled with so many ideas for our lives and our businesses. Sometimes, I even enjoy basking in this land of opportunity floating around my brain. Unfortunately, idea overload can keep us stuck in one place without ever bringing these great ideas closer to fruition.

So, how do we go from idea to implementation?

One solution is to think of a very small action step and just take it without giving yourself any time for second guessing. The phone call, the note, the email… this simple step starts you down the path. Plus, often in the amount of time you spend meditating on the task, you could have actually just gotten it done!

Once I set a goal for a season, I do my best to get some action steps on my calendar. Regardless of the other items on your to-do list, try to think of a small, medium, and large task (your big frog task) to tackle each day. A small action step isn’t meant to accomplish a goal, it’s just something that gets the juices flowing. It could be taking 10 minutes to declutter an area or even making a phone call—something quick that you still somehow keep putting off.

Successful people learn the art of trusting their inner guide and making these three items each day as important as the larger items on a to-do list. Morning journaling, a walk, a warm bath or shower, or even straightening up for 8 minutes can clear your mind, making it easier to come up with your daily intuitive actions.

The Power of Getting Everything in Writing

I love a plan that balances tasks you would like to accomplish with some space for intuitive actions and self-care. I always have clients start out by writing down their ideas, creating vision boards, and then getting some seasonal goals for their health, work, and love lives.

However, I am also a big proponent of tweaking plans as you need to.

It’s less about accomplishing particulars and more about being this future self—if you can step into success before you even reach the actual goal, then you are ahead of the game. Eventually, the goal itself becomes less important than living out your personal mission and attracting the success you desire. So, make a plan, but be open to working on things out of order, and let that inner wisdom guide you—even if it goes against your initial plan.

Have a Conversation With Your Stuff

Think about what your ideal home would look and feel like before asking yourself if you can add this element to your vision board. I know that as military spouses, we often can’t choose where we live geographically, but we can decide we want homes that are organized, simple, and homey. We can decide that we want to make our beds every morning or clean the dishes every night, as well as how often we want to do the laundry.

Our environments matter and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to invoke the feelings we desire. Oftentimes, a fresh coat of paint and a new candle or comforter is enough to create a space that feels authentic and supports who you want to become. I ask myself things like, “What type of room would a published author have? Would she have a reading chair, a light by the bed, a tray on the ottoman for a pot of tea?” Be creative as you imagine this vision of your future self!

If imagining an ideal home and addressing the gaps between dream and reality feels too daunting, then just pick a room or an area and have a conversation about what you really want the area to look and feel like. If you’re closet is overstuffed (like mine), you might add a mirror from Target to make it look more spacious. Ask yourself what it would take to have the room better serve who you are and who you are becoming.

Have fun with it! It’s not about sitting and calling yourself a slob or spending a fortune on beautiful items, but more about having an open dialogue with yourself and making small changes.

Declutter Your Life

Sometimes, it’s getting rid of old books, paperwork from an old job, or college textbooks that you hate to part with. Ask yourself if these things are really serving you, especially as you make all of these military moves, or if it’s time to let go. You can sit and chat with the rooms that are bothering you the most or you can just sit down with a notebook and ask general questions that will still give you a clue as to where you need to take some actions.

 

Pay attention to what works for you. I once had a client who said she was finally ready to have a conversation with her messy desk at work. She asked her messy files if this “system” was really serving her needs. She asked her ideal future desk what it would look like and how she would feel coming to work with her desk in order.

 

As a result of this conversation, she decided to bring a little pile of work home for a few weeks as an investment in catching up. Because this task was linked to a longer-term vision, she carried the work home with a refreshing new attitude versus the resentment that she had in the past. She looked at her desk as a symbol of self-acceptance and was surprised by how the piles of clutter were quickly replaced with fresh flowers and photographs.

Happy 2017

A new coach once asked me what marketing techniques I use to attract new clients. I told her that, when I am looking for new clients, I clean out my closet. While she totally laughed, I feel like this is actually one of my best techniques!

Try it out and let me know what new awesome things you brought into your life once you let go of the stuff you no longer need and focus on loving the journey toward your dream self. You may find that you more easily attract success toward you and your vision board becomes reality sooner than you ever believed possible.

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