Overwhelmed? Check your should(s).

We all feel it from time to time, the sensation that there is just too much going on. Not enough hours in the day, the week has been too long. Something changed and now the schedule feels not manageable. What do you do when you find yourself in a situation like this?

For one, I try not to get there in the first place by taking enough breaks and downtime, but it doesn’t always work perfectly. Today for example, it has been a very full week and this weekend looks slightly daunting. Today I am working from home with quite a backlog and my kiddo has a special moment in an assembly and I want to support him. So I have rearranged priorities and now I have a choice of bringing the stress of this morning, yesterday, last week with me into the weekend or letting it go and enjoying the new moments.

It’s funny, I worked myself up pretty good this morning with “The Should(s)”. “The Should(s)” are a set of expectations we place on ourselves. We then bend ourselves into pretzels to make sure they happen, all the while making ourselves stressed and uncomfortable. I shouldn’t cancel on a new friend for coffee, I should make fancy snacks for the mother daughter group on Saturday, I should pick out the perfect gift, I should drop off this or pick up that…and on and on. Is your shoulding on yourself making you happy? Are you experiencing joy in your day or just self-inflicted guilt and stress?

This is my favorite part. Once you realize you are overwhelmed and creating your own misery, you have come to a choice point. This new awareness allows you to choose your actions instead of doing what you have always done. And to choose, with the amount of time you realistically have, what you value and then act on it.

So, in the example from today… I rescheduled my coffee with a friend because I value my family and being present at special school moments, I threw out the fancy snack menu for Saturday because I value simplicity and sanity. And I am bringing awareness into the rest of my day to be thoughtful about my choices. Guess what, i’m not going to do it perfectly, and that’s ok. It’s all part of the growing.

A dear friend said to me recently, “Treat yourself as uniquely precious”. I love that. To me it means, give yourself a break, honor your beauty as you would a friend or a child and be kind to yourself. You are the only you that you have. And you are pretty spectacular.

As you go about your day, remember to breathe. Our breath is a gift that is with us all the time. A constant reminder that we can at anytime check in with ourselves and recenter.

Enjoy breathing and remember, check your should(s).

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