Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash
The last month has been one of the most stressful of the year for me. I would say it’s been stressful in a good way, but I’m not exactly sure what that means. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that I have and I’m so excited about the things happening in my life and in my business, however as the saying goes, “to whom much is given, much is required.”
Let me just say, entrepreneurial endeavors are hard. Be very clear, and don’t let anyone tell you different. If you aspire to own your own company, please know that it’s not all glitz and glam. However, it is a lot of sleeplessness and vulnerability. These are the things less publicized. And what you see on social media is not the whole story… but I digress. So, in addition to being extremely grateful and fulfilled, I’ve been dealing with feelings of overwhelm, inadequacy (imposter syndrome is a real thing), and stagnation.
Over the last three weeks I have slept on my sofa, to be close to my computer, as waking up in the middle of the night to finish documents and work on projects would not happen if I had to walk down the stairs to access my computer. I’ve dealt with the mom-guilt of sending my kid to school to order hot lunch, and forgetting to pack her daily snack everyday for a week straight (don’t judge me, they have healthy options at school). Oh, and I almost had an anxiety attack at Starbucks. Luckily, I’m in tune with my body enough to recognize that I was having a stress reaction and was able to avoid exacerbating the situation (with a little meditation). And that’s when I knew it was time to write this blog; selfishly, to remind myself of the self care activities I implement in my life to avoid these scenarios and selflessly to help someone who may be feeling overwhelmed and alone on their journey, with practical ways to alleviate stress.
There will always be stressful times, whether you’re an entrepreneur or a stay at home mom. Shit still needs to get done, and in order to do it, we need our peace of mind. So here are five things I do and recommend others do, to PUSH THROUGH.
1. Remember that this life is a marathon, not a sprint.
When you’re caught in the thick of it (as they say), it’s easy to lose sight of your goals, become perplexed and let doubt settle in. When this happens, try slowing down, meditate and reassess priorities. I know this sounds cliche, but take it one step at a time. I just finished reading The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson, and it’s all about how small actions taken everyday are what determines the outcome of your life. This philosophy will serve you well when you’re feeling swamped, because thinking about big goals as being achieved through smaller everyday tasks reduces feelings of overwhelm and empowers you to take back control.
2. Celebrate small wins.
I so struggle with this. It’s not that I don’t value small wins, it’s just that I have a hard time identifying them. But really, it’s all about perspective. To some, waking up everyday is a small win, because not everyone is fortunate to do so. A gratitude journal can really help in this area. Identifying three things that you are grateful for everyday can help to uncover small wins in your life. Celebrate those things, if for no other reason than to create happiness. Happiness can take you a long way when things are getting hectic. Be happy for the hectic, at the very least you’re not sad and more likely to keep pushing.
3. Chunk & Prioritize.
This is actually one of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling stressed (I have a lot of nerd tendencies… sue me). It helps me put things in perspective. On a daily basis, I write out ALL of my To Dos. Some days the list is around 10 and other days the list may be 25. Either way, I choose 5 priority items and write them on a separate To Do list (slight overkill, but again, I’m a nerd), along with 3 things I’m grateful for (small wins = happiness). This helps me focus on priority items and to not become too overwhelmed with the entire list. Every now and then when I’m struggling to prioritize I use the Eisenhower Matrix to help me identify things that need to get done now versus things that can be delegated or postponed.
4. Take a break.
That’s right. Removing yourself from the thing that is causing stress is healthy. My husband reminded me of this the other day. I was a little antsy because I didn’t get as much done over the weekend as I wanted, and he simply said, “But you rested. If you don’t get rest, you won’t be able to do anything.” He’s pretty awesome that way. And he’s right. I have to remind myself that rest is a part of my work. If I’m not rested I cannot think or do anything properly, which only adds to the frustration. Self-care is essential. Maybe rest for you is running, or cycling, or maybe it’s getting a massage or pedicure. Whatever it is, do it. Your work and and ability to focus will only be better for it.
5. Remember your why.
There is a reason you’re doing what you’re doing. Remember it. Keep it at the forefront of your mind at all times. If all else fails, this will be your saving grace. Nothing gets me out of bed like remembering that my children need me to do so. Not so much financially, but to be a positive influence and role model in their lives. I truly believe that I can do whatever I want to do, and I want my children to believe that as well. So I guess that means, I actually have to get out there and go do it.
“Don’t give up five minutes before you reach your goal.”
Yes, life gets hard. There are times when I just want to quit, it would be easier. Talking to people is stressful (especially when you’re an INTJ, like me). I don’t always feel like cooking dinner. I hate washing dishes. I don’t really have enough time to help with homework and complete that proposal and get adequate sleep. But guess what… I am blessed to have the opportunity and the ability to do it all. So, since I can’t change my circumstances, I choose to change my perspective and to keep pushing.
If you enjoyed what you read, or gleaned some insight/value, please share.