Are you living under a rock? Feeling out of touch with the world and with your writing?
Friend, me too!
Life lately has been happening Really Fast. (Yep, with capital letters and everything!)
During May, I’ve had NINE speaking engagements, TWELVE phone meetings with prospects, TWO launches, and…
Ben is leaving on Memorial Day for his summer job in Nebraska. We thought it was a July 1 start date but they need him early. (He’ll be spraying crops as a helicopter pilot. Super cool but he’ll be gone for two and a half months. *sniff*)
Oh… And we ordered new carpet so I’ve been busy moving, purging, and painting.
So yes, I feel like I’ve been living under a rock. The type of rock that comes crashing out of the sky to flatten me.
And in chatting with lots of friends, clients, prospects, and business owners, I know I’m not alone. Maybe it’s something in the air, maybe it’s the moon, or just too many dog farts in my office… So here are my top 5 tips to help you crawl out from under that rock – and get back to writing!
1. Acknowledge the rock
For weeks, I tried to ignore the fact that I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I thought if I just changed my attitude – focused on the positive – I’d feel better and be more in control. It took naming what I was feeling – and acknowledging why I was feeling that way – to turn the tide.
Take some time, maybe with a trusted friend, to acknowledge the rock and give it a name. It doesn’t solve the feelings but at least you’re not running away from them!
2. Pick up your pen
This isn’t to work on your project! But grab your pen (yes, a real pen) and some paper and write down everything. Just EVERYTHING. What’s going right. What’s going wrong. Your to do list. A list of gratitude.
Go totally Middle School Girl on yourself and journal it all out. Angst and really bad poetry welcome and accepted.
3. Find something you can complete
And do it! For me, doing the dishes has become a cornerstone in my otherwise chaotic house. (Getting ready for new carpet, remember!) It’s ONE area of my physical life that I can control since I can’t control the boxes EVERYWHERE as I’m packing to move furniture.
The key to this task isn’t that it actually has to be related to your writing or business! It’s some (albeit) small aspect of your life that you can control. So put that bad boy under your control!
4. Reach out to your mentor
A bitch-fest with your best friend is great but while complaining can make you feel better in the moment, it’s not a long-term solution. You’ll want to reach out to your mentor for some practical, on-the-ground support. If you’re like me, you probably have different mentors for different areas of your life so find the one who most directly ties into the biggest rock that’s flattening you.
You might want to clue your mentor in if you’re feeling extra fragile! A dose of tough love might not be what you need – perhaps some gentler coaching, advice, and encouragement will get you moving further faster.
5. Don’t stop eating and exercising!
I’m not a stress-eater. So when I get stressed or overwhelmed, the first thing I do is stop eating. That’s just as damaging as reaching for the cookies or chips! When I know I’m feeling out of whack, I plan an extra trip to the grocery store to stock up on healthy, easy meals and snacks. I also “trick” myself into a little extra exercise and fresh air – meaning I FORCE myself to hang clothes on the clothesline rather than using the dryer. The tiny, extra measures add up!
Hey! Don’t start the negative self-talk about your eating/exercising habits (or lack thereof) while you’re being flattened by the rock. Take a little step every day to take care of your physical body while your mental body is feeling squished and overwhelmed.
Throughout it all, I find that more than ever, I rely on my mini-goals to keep my projects on track. When I’m feeling extra stressed, I break my personal projects and my client projects down into what I can accomplish in 15-minute bursts. Then do it every.single.day.
Is it as much as what I can do when I’m feeling great and can happily focus for 90 minutes at a stretch? Of course not! But it keeps my projects moving along (and clients happy!)
Bonus Tip: Recognize your “avoidance behaviors”
If that’s binge-watching Netflix or playing too many games on your phone or computer. (Or mindlessly trolling Facebook on your phone!) Then set a timer for 15 minutes BEFORE you start so you can “tune out” for a while but not lose huge chunks out of your day.
Because when you’re feeling overwhelmed, the only thing that gets you feeling more in control is ACTION. So set yourself up for success!
Leave me a comment and share what you do when you’re feeling flattened by life!