Summer for us tends to be really busy, especially in August, which always seems to creep up on us. We spend almost 2 full weeks away between our family reunion and the Philadelphia Folk Festival (this will be our 14th year!). This year, I set myself up with a plan to keep the stress and overwhelm at a minimum and I was proud of myself for that. Then something happened – I had an idea.
If you’re anything like me, you like to take an idea and run with it, even if filing it away for the future would be the less stressful thing to do. So here I was, sabotaging my own plan for a relaxing summer by putting more on my plate than I could realistically manage.
Here’s a little secret – most of the time when it feels like there’s too much on your plate, there’s an easy way to take something off of it and give yourself some breathing room.
Today I want to share 5 tips with you that helped me reclaim my summer and that will help you release the feeling of overwhelm even when you have a lot on your plate.
Ditch the “should, must, have to, got to, and ought to” way of thinking (this one comes courtesy of the amazing Angela Heather)
I’ve just started doing this recently and let me tell you how empowering it is! I find myself really thinking about why I am spending my time in certain ways. Of course you might feel like you “have to” wash the dishes, but really, you want to have clean dishes to put your food on, right?
This simple shift can help you feel more excitement and energy around the things that you do in your daily life, and you’ll be shifting away from a negative way of framing things (this is very important always and especially when planning for a baby).
Fill your to-do list with things you love
When you fill your time with things you love, even if there are lots of things, you’ll be more likely to be in a happy and joy-filled place. And, you’ll start to crowd out the things that feel like time and energy sucks, because why clutter your life up with that? This is so important because you have to take good care of yourself before you can truly and deeply take care of others.
What’s more, you’ll start to understand the deeper intricacies of what constitutes a “should” on your list. Even if it’s something you love, if you start to feel more stress around it than you can handle at the moment, chances are it’s a good thing to put off for another time.
Honor all that you are accomplishing
It can be really easy for all of the little awesomeness to fall through the cracks. Then you get to the end of your day, week, month, or even year and feel like you didn’t get much accomplished and that doesn’t feel so good, does it? Appreciate all that you have done and how much those little things count. I remembered to water my plants today, I made time for yoga, I did a load of laundry. These things matter!
Be patient and compassionate with yourself
Even when you do all of the above, you’re going to hit moments of overwhelm (I had one just a few minutes ago!). You’ll feel like there’s too much to do and not enough time, and you might want to scream or put aside all responsibility and watch a movie or read a book. Do it and here’s why – you have to take care of yourself and be open to the flow. If something isn’t flowing, take a break from it. Forcing it will not make it come sooner or more easily, even if you’re on a deadline.
Give yourself permission or find someone who will
Sometimes you just have to let it go. That idea I mentioned? It was the awesome video series that I started putting together for you. I couldn’t give myself the permission to let it go, but I was talking to a friend the other day and she made it okay for me. I realized in talking to her that as excited as I am about this series, I am also excited about the other event I had planned (a great call that you won’t want to miss). “Do the video series in the fall and enjoy your summer,” she said. She was right, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do!
This is a perfect example of not noticing that something was a “should” on my list. Sometimes we need someone on the outside to help guide us to what will serve us best.
So I’m doing these things and remembering to breath. I focus my energy on what I’m most passionate about and I trust that I will make everything that I want to happen. Sometimes making a lot happen without overwhelm also means reaching out for support. I’m getting very good at that – are you?
Peace, Love, and Wellness,