“What was I thinking when I agreed to do all this stuff?”
My client definitely had a lot going on, and she was pouring out her stress about all of it to me. From her point of view, the perfect storm was heading her way. Besides some major projects converging at work, she was dealing with her spouse’s transition to a new job, some unanticipated travel and volunteer duties, among other things.
She couldn’t help but fast forward beyond her current worries to other challenges she feared would come up in the future. On top of that, perfectionist tendencies were in the mix. She was determined to meet her own high expectations through all of this without letting any of the many balls she had in the air drop.
My advice to her? Take a few deep breaths and focus on what is right in front of you. Staying in the present moment can help relieve the pressure. When you feel overwhelmed and your mind starts racing through the laundry list of work ahead of you, you can become paralyzed. You can lose touch with your ability to generate creative solutions or notice how others can help. Instead you may focus on frustration, negativity, or the obstacles ahead.
By returning to the here and now, you can create the mental capacity you need to deal with what’s happening. The next time you find yourself overwhelmed by what’s on your plate, ask yourself, “What is the first step I need to take?” A simple question like this can take help you get the ball rolling.
For some of you, that first step should be to help you relieve your stress so you can take action. In other words, you may need to get centered or grounded before you try to do anything else. Some of you may want to start directly tackling the issues at hand, so your first step could be to simply block time on your calendar to develop a plan of attack. Once you have completed the first step, define the next. By making it manageable, you will build the momentum you need to get unstuck and start making noticeable progress.
So, the next time you find yourself worrying about the future, take a deep breath and bring yourself back to the present moment.