Articles and Books
Coping with Overwhelm During the Holidays and Every Day
by Corrine Bucher
How are you faring this holiday season? Between having kids out of school over Thanksgiving, a long weekend trip to visit the in-laws, my uncle’s funeral in Kentucky, a 5-day visit from my parents, coaching clients and being a mom on top of it all...I'd say I've got my work cut out for me!
Are you very far away from what you'd envisioned the year's end celebrations would be? Stop and take a deep breath! And if it's not working for you, let it go. My wish for you is to find a little peace amidst the chaos of the season.
Overwhelm is pretty common at this time of year, which is why I've put on my coaching cap and come up with some reminders that we can ALL apply in our own lives.
What's your typical reaction to overwhelm? For me, overwhelm either causes me to freeze or go into high gear. Obviously neither of these reactions is optimal.
I recently read that overwhelm is a state of mind, not a set of facts, which implies that you do have some control over it. Whew! The other day, I found myself cringing when I heard my 5-year-old daughter telling her brother she was too busy to play with him! Boy, a woman's responsibilities start younger and younger, don't they?!
Here are some reminders to help YOU eliminate overwhelm in your work and life as well:
Get clear about your priorities, again! What are the top three most important things to focus on? Cut your to-do list by 75%. Also: don't let the things that are urgent and unimportant take precedence over the things that are important to you. Trust that what really needs to get done will always end up getting done.
Make time for your spiritual connection by reading a short meditation each morning to get in a healthy frame of mind. Take a walk, enjoy a sunset... reconnect with yourself and nurture a healthy frame of mind. Happiness is an inside job and maintaining a powerful perspective is the key.
Ask for more help than you think you need. Delegate and enroll family members in what needs to get done. If you run a small business as I do, one of the best ways to earn more while doing LESS work is to outsource! Assign those jobs that you know would be best handled by someone else, so that you can really focus on the areas where you shine.
Lower your expectations and enjoy what IS! Unrealistic expectations are resentments waiting to happen. Would you rather stress and sweat over an elaborate dinner? Or prepare simple, delicious foods that let you enjoy more time with your holiday guests? Go easier on yourself, not just during the holidays but every day.
Build the skill of saying NO. How many times have you kicked yourself for saying yes when you really meant no? The art of saying No is critical for mothers. Here's a tip: take the focus off the No and instead think about what you are saying YES to. Example: no to volunteering for the next fundraiser means saying yes to time for you to exercise.
Once you put these practices into action, you'll begin to see what a waste of precious energy overwhelm really is. How much more fun do you think you can have with your family when you choose not to buy into it? I challenge you to bring a little relaxation, enjoyment and peace into your life this holiday season!
Corrine Bucher is a veteran coach and mother devoted to transforming the lives of both working and stay-at-home mothers. Her Workshops for Working Mothers, originally developed for a Fortune 500 Company, challenge and inspire women to define their work/life balance vision so they may begin to feel a sense of control again. Learn more and sign up for her online newsletter, Embracing Motherhood, at http://corrinebucher.com.
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