Monday, February 4, 2013

Getting Over Overwhelm

Last week I told you about how I'd been feeling overwhelmed, run-down, and tantrum-prone.

I asked you - and my Facebook community - how they handle projects and what they do to take care of themselves to help avoid nasty overwhelm. 

It seemed many people were experiencing similar feelings and had also been getting sick after lots of stress. Could it be the change in the seasons? That we push ourselves hard in the new year after having holidays, then we find we have little left to give? I don't have the answer, but I did think it was interesting that many people in my circle were feeling overwhelmed, too.

Several friends offered lots of advice and every bit of it was useful, validating, and soothing.

Some of the wisdom that others passed on to me:

  • Finish one project before taking on another (Lisa Rivas)
  • Learning to say no to things and letting a few items off your to-do list go when you can (Taproot Studio)
  • Create daily rituals for self-care, even if it's just having a cup of tea on the porch (August Wren)
  • Slow down and try to find the right balance for your own life (Suzanne McRae)
  • Start the day centering yourself on your intentions while trying to remember that you're working towards goals for two reasons: immediate output and for 'big picture' reasons (which are the reasons, the purpose behind your work). (Alma Art)

Taking on the advice of such wise women, I decided to let things go and just do the best I could with how I was feeling.

Recovering from being sick, I rested. I watched a lot of Downtown Abbey and Grey's Anatomy.   Sometimes I even watched dvds on my laptop while lying in bed. It was great.

By the end of the week, I was feeling much better and was ready to organize my projects into more detail.  I found lots of cute, free, daily and weekly schedules and printed some off.

I decided to organize my week days according to projects. Some of the work I'm doing does need to happen simuletaneously, so I've split up the days of the week to focus on specific projects.

Thursdays have been my creative, free day where I don't schedule meetings and I spend time alone. This hasn't always worked out and there have been plenty of times I've used my Thursdays to work on my projects instead of letting them be.  I want to be more protective of this day.

My intention is to only do creative things on Thursdays that don't have any bearing on big to-do project lists. It's just for me. To paint. Or do creative writing. No blogging. No course work.  No meetings. Just whatever I feel I need to do to take care of myself that day.  Last Thursday, I did exactly that. I painted. I wrote. And I felt very happy.

I hope this helps some of you if you've been feeling overwhelmed, too.


  1. Love it Becky. You are brave and courageous to speak what you and so many of us are going through. I am happy to hear you have found some answers in that quiet space you took for yourself. Enjoy your Thursdays! :)

    I spent 3 hours by myself yesterday, meditating, praying, doing Reiki, making a mandala all while sitting in a circle of crystals and finished of the evening with my husband doing a Reiki session for me. I felt amazing taking that time I needed to re-center myself. It sure beats pushing myself every single day to accomplish more.

    1. Thank you, Suzanne.

      Your day just to yourself sounds like it was really special and relaxing. How kind and thoughtful that your husband then supported you in your time and provided you with a Reiki session. I hope you can have more days like that to just take care of you. <3

  2. I love that you have one day for creation! The benefits of honoring that time will be powerful.

    1. Thank you, Amy! I have given myself Thursdays for some time now, but they usually haven't worked out. I tend not to answer my phone, but things come up and I don't always get to be alone like I hope and need. But what was new for me was defining what I will and will not do on Thursdays. I used to blog and do all sorts of project work because it was all still 'creative.' Didn't help. I was just doing project work, and not work simply to help me feel connected to myself and happy. So bringing it back to not just protecting that day, but also to use it in a way that's all about self-care. <3

  3. Taking a day off for rest and rejuvenation is a great practice! (Essential, really.) You will have to guard it jealously. Now that you've drawn a line in the sand, anything and everything will try to steal that time away from you. Don't let it!

    Thanks for the shout out. You are so generous, my dear. Have a lovely day! - janice

    1. Thanks, Janice. I'm learning that I have to do it...or else! And you're right: I am having to fiercely protect that day and I have to get better at it. Now that I have set new perimeters around that day to make it more about self-care, will help. :) You're so welcome re: the shout-out!

  4. I too have felt this, especially with the new year. I took ALOT of time off. Almost a month without blogging or doing too much of anything related to art. I needed that time to re-prioritize what I was doing and why. I did alot of soul searching. I also spent alot of time on Pinterest. I have to say that it was the best decision ever. I feel re-energized and full of purpose! I think sometimes we just NEED to let go of what we think we need to do in order to listen more to our internal dialogue. Your internal voice will guide you.

    Lots of love coming your way! xoxox

    1. The Wayward Spirit Rubber StampsFebruary 5, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      I SHARED IT...UH, HUH,..I SHARED IT....UM HUM... I SHARED IT...............

      Great post Becky.......Thanks a bunch!! :O)

    2. You're welcome, Tara!!!

      Suzanne - I totally understand. Good for you for taking that month off doing exactly what you needed to do just for you so you could refocus. How great that you now feel re-energized and ready to take off. Thank you for all your encouragement! <3

  5. Great list you compiled here for us wise women suffering from "The Overwhelms."

    Actually from your behavior you have disclosed a secret = The priority of the ritual of "One Day a Week for One's Self."
    Thank You for asking, now I'm going to try to follow that, and not exactly on Sunday. :-)

    1. Thank you, Lisa!

      Yes - I'm guarding my Thursday tightly. <3

  6. Hi Becky... so disappointed my 20 minutes spent typing some ideas didn't make it your way.. Oh well, the thought was there. I tried. But probably ditto to a lot of what everyone was recommending. i really like Lisa Rivas comments and I had decided to allocate certain days for certain activities too. Because I write and art, I find myself all over the map.
    The one idea you had about downloading some free schedules was good. I was in the process of creating an excel spread sheet for myself. ( how much fun is THAT as an artist ).
    Obviously a big need for us all to optimize our productive time and our ME time to stay in balance.

    1. Hi Sandy!
      I'm disappointed, too! Thank you for trying, though. I appreciate it very much.

      I hope you have fun with your Excel spread sheet (groan!).

      Thank you!!


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