Life is pretty full of responsibilities and activities of the daily grind. When unexpected challenges or crisis show up, overwhelm sets in pretty quickly.
I coach about how to be our best self, productivity tips, and goal achievement in our life and work. These are all for the personal growth journey of unlocking more joy and fulfillment daily.
But, what happens when unexpected challenges show up and it feels like so much is out of our control?
It all feels like it is just TOO MUCH!
I get it. I’ve been there many days. I do get it.
My children have had serious and unpredictable health struggles for the past several years. When challenges arise, it affects my routine, my plans, my best of intentions and my own emotional state. Every “crisis” quickly brings me to overwhelm and anxiety in the uncertainty. Of course, we have worked hard to learn how to cope better in the moment and recover. BUT... recurring challenges take a toll even after the crisis of the moment is resolved.
I have often found myself saying to friends and family "It's just too much!"
What are our options? Nervous breakdown, numbing out the pain, giving up on our loved ones or ourselves? NOT good options.
We can’t just drop everything in our life and focus only on the crisis at hand. We need to continue to manage our health, our careers, our households and our emotions well… for our own sake and the people we care for.
Today, I want to share a few of the things I have learned about surviving and even thriving during some of the most challenging seasons of my life. Unfortunately, there is not a simple switch to flip. But, I do have some key strategies that have served me well. We need to take every task before us and be intentional about how we manage it.
These strategies serve us well during the most stable of times but they are critical during our most challenging times:
What routines do you need to stick to that will keep you grounded and feeling productive when things are otherwise overwhelming and even out of control?
We need to have non-negotiables in our days. These are the routines and habits that we do that we don’t have to spend time and energy “figuring out”. For me, it’s workouts, my prayer and quiet time, journaling, coffee 😊, regular meal times, check-ins with the kids and taking water and supplements. These are all non-negotiables for me because I am my best self when I STICK to these routines. What are your non-negotiables?
Do you have a system for keeping your top priorities in front of you daily?
It’s easy to get caught up spinning about the “what ifs”, especially in challenging times. We can research every possible outcome and end up creating more fear and overwhelm. We need to do our due diligence in any struggle. We do need to focus on what is most important, especially in times of crisis or overwhelm. Of course, we need to focus on what needs to be done to address the crisis of the moment. We also have to be intentional about the other areas of life that need to continue to move forward.
Every single night, I PICK and write out 3-5 tasks that are most important to get done in the following day. If I get just those things done, I have made progress. Everything else, is bonus! What system to keep your top priorities moving forward works best for you?
Do you get hung up thinking that everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW?
The reality is that a lot of things really can wait. Often, many tasks would be done better when we are in a better state of mind. Upon careful inspection, you might find many tasks that don’t need to be done at all! We really do have to give ourselves extra grace when crisis hits. It is not worth crashing and burning to get more done. Give yourself permission to BUMP the less important projects or tasks to a later date or better yet, delegate to somebody that can support you by doing them. What can you put off until to less challenging times?
Do you feel like you are constantly starting and stopping tasks because you are being interrupted by urgent needs?
LUMPING tasks together will bring you greater control of your time, mind and emotions. First, lumping like tasks together and working on them in blocks of time will make you more efficient by not switching gears so much. Second, when you have your tasks lumped together, it is easier to grab them and work on them as free moments arise.
Part of navigating the health challenges with my kids involved tons of hours in the car and in waiting rooms. Because I had tasks lumped together, I was ready to work on them or listen to training in waiting rooms and while driving. What tasks or projects can you lump together?
Who can you reach out to in your social networks for emotional, informational, instructional and/or companionship support?
Last week I talked about 4 kinds of social networks. It’s so important during challenging times that we have people to lean on. It’s time to delegate stuff you might not normally want to. It’s also time to find people you trust to share the emotional burden you are carrying.
I’ve had the major emotional breakdown that comes from trying to keep everything going in the right direction during a challenging time. Trust me, it’s not worth the risk of losing yourself handling challenging times. People really do want to help and often don’t know how. What can you DUMP on the people in your networks?
I hope these strategies support you when challenging times come. They come for all of us sooner or later.
On #tuesdaywithtammy I chatted more about how these strategies supported me. Check out the video if you want more insights.
When it's all JUST TOO MUCH, you don't have to do it all and you don't have to do it alone. Seek out the strategies and the people you need for support.
You are worth it.