My mind is racing through my list of activities and commitments ahead in the next few days, scrolling through a mental to-do list that needs to be written down.
I feel my pulse quicken as my thoughts dart from what I should have finished already to what I’ve yet to start.
And I’m not even out of bed yet.
Sound familiar? With the holidays upon us, the feeling of overwhelm can be great. It meets us at every turn, in every room and in every situation. We feel like we must do it all – wrap gifts, address cards, buy more gifts, bake cookies, straighten up for visitors, or just do the laundry that’s piled up while we’ve been busy doing those other things.
But if we want to stop the Crazy Train in its tracks, really we only need to do two things right now.
First, take three deep breaths. Seriously, try it.
Then restart your mind with one question:
What are the things that only I can do?
Only I can take care of myself. Only I can choose to get enough sleep, exercise, eat well, and nurture my mind and spirit. Choosing to focus on self-care is not selfish, particularly in stressful times. It helps you and everyone else around you, because it will slow the Crazy Train. When my personal needs are met, I can handle my to-do list and life situations with greater ease. Which one of these can you focus on right now to help get you through the day? If you’re not sure, start by taking a half-hour walk.
Only I can nurture my important relationships. This means putting my most important roles first (for me it’s as wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend), and making decisions in my heart and on my calendar that reflect those priorities. It means being present when my spouse needs time, when my children need love and guidance. It doesn’t mean that I cater to my child’s every whim or say yes to every opportunity that comes along, only that I start from a place of awareness of what’s important.
Only I can complete the work that is uniquely mine. What is your calling? What are those tasks that only you can do? As COO of my household, and an independent business owner, truly there are some tasks that only I can fulfill. But if I’m honest with myself, especially about the jobs around the house, I know I can spread around the tasks, even if it means giving up control and even if it feels easier to just do it myself.
All else becomes clear when we breathe deeply and then ask ourselves that one question.
Life is abundant with choices for how we spend our time, money and energy. Too many choices can keep us anxious, cause us to shut down, and lead us to respond to only the next urgent thing – never really pausing and reflecting on what our next right thing is.
What are the things that only you can do today?
Let’s go get ‘em.
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