Do you every feel that way? I know I did about this time last year. I was struggling with an overwhelming number of commitments, trying to manage my home, my family, my job, and feeling as if I was failing at all of it. I felt like a terrible mom, wife, friend, coworker, child, the list just goes on and on. It took a moment of serious introspection to realize the only thing I was failing at was saying NO.
I needed to set up boundaries and start prioritizing what was happening in my life. This meant reconsidering my commitments, looking at the things I was allowing to fill my time and then making changes. For me the changes were not to only one area of my life. Instead, I had to look at things holistically and determine the areas that were causing me the most overwhelm.
My list looked something like this:
My Home - cleaning it, laundry, getting rid of stuff, mess in my office, etc.
My Children - activities, volunteering commitments, their stuff, their rooms, the playroom
Online & Social Media - too many "friends," contact list was out of date, emails and SPAM!
Paper - junk mail and paperwork piling up, old documents that needed to be shredded
My Career - I wasn't finding joy in my work and it was very stressful
Financial - setting budgets, creating long term plans, college, and retirement
Health - sleep, a healthy diet, exercise, were all lacking in my life and I lived on coffee
Social Commitments - I was giving huge amounts of my life to a variety of causes
I just felt so overwhelmed by it all. Where did I start? How could I wade out from beneath the pile I was buried under? I wasn't sure, so of course, I started with Google. I asked questions about getting my life under control, stress management, life management and more. I couldn't find the answer I needed, but I knew it was out there. So I started looking at personal coaching. Someone who could help coach me through the process of changing my life. Eventually, I found one I liked and set up an appointment.
That appointment ended up transforming my life. Not in the way I was expecting though. I thought the coach would give me a checklist and help me reset some goals and that would fix me. Instead, I found, I had to confront some of the very things I was most fearful of. Telling people NO. Setting boundaries on my time, energy and willingness to do things. Letting go of the people who were negatively impacting my life and spending more time on positive relationships. Letting go of all of the things that had been cluttering up my home. By the carload.
Letting go of things was harder than I expected. I had to do it in shifts. I read many books, watched KonMari on Netflix and have done Emily Ley's Ruthless Declutter challenge several times this year. What I have learned in the process? It's worth it. I have less junk and more things I love. I have let go of the things that were anchoring me to the past. I have learned to enjoy the moment more and make time for what is important. I have a better sense of self.
I think all of us deserve this. It takes time and effort. It takes honesty and compassion - with yourself. There will be tears; however, the end result is absolutely worth it.
This week, I challenge you to make your own list. When you write this list, be brutally honest with yourself, you aren't sharing it with anyone else. What in your own life is causing you to feel overwhelm? What in your life is weighing you down? What is keeping you from achieving your full potential?