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Overcoming Overwhelm

I look at 2019 as a year in my life where I will invest heavily in my learning, my business, my family and my self-growth. Interestingly, this is also an investment year for my family. For my daughter who will be preparing really hard this year so she can sit her GCSEs next year – a big year for her of learning and commitment. For my partner, who will be investing his time and effort to pursue his personal and professional goals.

I believe investment years are so important. They call for massive action from our part, commitment, passion, drive and of course some sacrifices. I’ve also noticed that it’s in these years we tend to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones, face fear, failure and perhaps even feel like quitting. There’s no instant gratification in investment years only delayed gratification. However, if we can pull through, be resilient and keep our eyes on the prize the results will be tremendous.

I’m sure there are many of you out there for whom 2019 is a year where you will invest heavily in your growth. I thought it would be useful for me to write about this topic of overcoming overwhelm earlier in the year when we are just at the start line. When I was working on my goals late last year for 2019 I knew that there would be moments of tremendous overwhelm for me. Beginning an intense Masters programme, working full-time and parenting a teenager would be no walk in the park. So I spent some thinking about ways in which I can reduce stress and overcome overwhelm this year. I want to share some of my learnings with you.

Make Choices That Align With Your Values: I’ve always noticed that my biggest dissonance shows up when I’m not in alignment with my values. And when dissonance turns up overwhelm and stress are just round the corner. This is what I’ve learnt - when we honour our values and the choices we make in our lives as a result of our values we feel that internal “rightness”. And that is so important. So the next time you are working on your goals and feel overwhelmed, take some time to regroup and see if your choices and action is in alignment with your values.

Setting Daily Intentions: Setting daily intentions allow us to be clear and grounded. It raises our emotional energy that in turn increases our physical energy. Intentions give us purpose, as well as the inspiration and motivation to achieve what we need. The practice of setting daily intentions can help us plough through even the toughest of days.

Practicing Mindfulness: I’ve written a lot about mindfulness before. Mindfulness is our ability to stay grounded in the current moment and be present with whatever is happening. Everything we have control over happens in the present moment – whether it’s our thoughts, feelings or actions. Practice of mindfulness meditation is a great way to learn how to focus and be present in this moment. This is a great tool that can help us manage and overcome stress and overwhelm. A small mindfulness exercise I use often when I feel like things are spinning out of control is to ask myself these questions: What do I see now? What do I hear now? What can I smell now? What can I taste now? What do I feel now? Answering this relieves me of stress, grounds me and brings me back to the present moment.

Pause, Reflect, Re-direct: When we feel extremely overwhelmed, we get tempted to quit. When that happens, this is a great time to follow three simple but effective steps. The first step is to just pause. This is the moment to stop pushing ourselves and take a moment to regroup. Once we’ve done that, then the next step is to reflect. To the best of our ability we should reflect on the situation that is causing this overwhelm without being self-critical. The third step is to redirect. Its time to re-evaluate our goals or just see what needs to be done to pivot if needed. Working with a life coach at this point can be really helpful.

Practice self-care: I can write pages and pages about the importance of self-care. But today I’m just going to say this - self-care is different for each person. For some it’s getting massages, or going to the spa, for others it’s exercise, sleep or meditation and for some self-care simply is waking up early in the morning to get an hour of work done. There simply is no right or wrong self-care practice. The most important thing is that you have a routine that works for you. Taking care of yourself as you work really hard is so vital so you can be your best, productive self.

I’ll leave you with the quote – “The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

I'm Poornima Nair, Certified Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, Founder of Live Authentic Coaching and a Mentor with The Cherie Blair Foundation. If you are curious about coaching, interested in being nurtured, inspired and pushed to your edge, to discover and create the relationships, career, lifestyle, finances you are longing for, please reach out to me for a taster of what great coaching does to foster the clarity, mindset, qualities and skills that will allow you to breakthrough.

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