On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is “not at all”, and 10 is “absolute shocker”, how stressed are you right now?
If you’re 1-3 and all is well, that’s wonderful. Life will be calm, you’ll be firing on all cylinders and although you may be occasionally rushed, or ‘busy-but-good-busy,’ all is generally well. This is sometimes referred to as eustress, or ‘good stress’.
From 4-6, you’ll be starting to feel the strain. Life might feel complicated but doable; you might be dropping the ball but are able to recover, albeit you’re probably starting to feel tired. It might be keeping you on your toes but, certainly over time, just as easily knock you off your feet.
If it’s 7-10, well, life probably feels chaotic. You’ll be finding it hard to think straight, every phone call, text and email might send you into a spin. You’ll be desperate for some respite, and a break in the absolute overwhelm of it all. (If you find this style of measurement helpful, you might also like this Traffic Light Check-In).
Wherever you are on this scale right now, it can be important to make time for you, so here’s what might help:
This week, maybe set the intention to Manage Your Moments. First, it might be time to prioritise, when we take on too much it can be time to assess, or find ways to say no we’re comfortable with. (“Thank you for asking, it’s a no from me”, is perfectly acceptable). Keep in mind though that sometimes even the prioritising of activities (like deciding which email to reply to or which “to-do” to do first) in itself takes up time.
Next, you could keep an activity diary for the week, to see how you’re spending your time each day. Whilst it might feel like one more thing to do, you might be surprised at the number of interruptions you have a day, or the ‘time-sucks’ you don’t realise you indulge (like social media, for example). Not that we should give up the things we enjoy, but we can claw time back from places we might not have thought about.
Then, make room for self-care and time for rest and relaxation. This is important although it will look different for everyone. It might be a bike ride, mindfulness or an early night but it all counts. It might also look like sharing the load in any number of ways, and there’s no shame in telling people when things have got too much. You’re allowed to make yourself a priority so make sure you feature in the things that matter most.
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You might also like: my book Answers In The Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal, out now.
© Delphi Ellis 2022