Things have been a little hectic around here lately. (Hence the longish gap between blog posts!) As a working single mom, I’m very mindful of the need to keep overwhelm at bay by not taking on too much, but as we approach our big move to South Carolina I’m feeling the stress. This is the list of things on my plate at the moment:
It’s long, and daunting, and I’m the only person responsible for getting it all done. (By the way, yes, that’s a Bullet Journal! I’ll be blogging about my beloved new BuJo very soon.) Anyway, back to my stress. Pretty much every time I look at that list, I start to hyperventilate. I worry that there’s no way I’m going to get it all done, especially not on top of my mountain of usual responsibilities. So, what’s a zen mama to do?
Answer: Remember The Serene Six. When things to start to feel stressful and out of control, I make a point of incorporating these six simple steps into my day:
- Breathe. When we’re stressed out, we don’t breathe deeply. We take quick, shallow breaths which only compounds our anxiety. Whenever you find yourself freaking out about everything you have to do, take just a few seconds to breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose, and out through your mouth. Imagine that you’re riding your breath deep into the center of your being, where everything is calm. In this place, all is well.
- Meditate. While you’re breathing deeply and getting calm, take five more minutes to just follow your breath. Just five minutes. Don’t try to empty your mind of thoughts, just note when one comes up, and gently return your attention back to your breath. In…and out.
- Unplug. Turn off the TV if it’s blaring in the background, get off Facebook, put your phone on silent. Those are all distractions that only add to the feeling of too much. Embrace the silence.
- Build margins into your day. Give yourself extra time, create buffer zones around your tasks and appointments. Leave ten minutes early so you don’t have to rush. Work for 45 minutes, and then read something uplifting for fifteen. Relax with a cup of tea before you start making dinner.
- Do a brain dump. If you have a swarm of mental gnats swirling around in your head, making you anxious and crazy, get them out of your head and down on paper. Just sit down with a pen and write down everything that’s on your mind, both large and small. (I regularly use pages in my Bullet Journal for just this purpose.)
- Do the next right thing. It’s true what they say about eating the elephant one bite at a time. If I think about my entire moving list, it paralyzes me, and I just want to take a nap. But if I just choose one item, something small I can do today, I feel like I’m making progress and I just might get it all done after all.
How about you, lovely readers? What do you do when you’re feeling stressed out?