Feeling Overwhelmed? Five tips to help you when you’re feeling like you’re drowning.

Life sucks. And then some.

Sometimes life just gets too much, too hectic, and we can feel like we have no control over our own lives. In fact, it’s happened to me recently and that’s why I’m writing this post. I want to share with you the top five things that helped me get back on track and gain control of my life.

I’m so busy! But then, who isn’t? I write this blog, have three shops, need to make products for those shops, as well as look after my family and my dog. Oh, yeah, and myself!

I’m not moaning. I love my work. I wouldn’t have it any other way but sometimes it feels like there’s just too much stuff to do!

So what do you do?

Tip One:

Take one day at a time!

Rome wasn’t built in a day (I know, it’s a terrible cliche but still very true!). You don’t have to do everything in one day. Prioritise what needs to be done.

I follow a red, amber and green system where assign every task a colour ( red being the most urgent, green the least – I know, I know, it took me ages to think of that ;)). I make sure I do the urgent (red) jobs first. Usually, this is based on time constraints and as we progress through the week or month some jobs that were green will go to red. To do this you need to:

Tip Two:

Make lists! Every week I write a list of things that need doing. This is a big list with everything on, even things that I know can wait for a while. Then I assign them a colour so I know what needs to doing and when. I update the list every day, knocking items off that I’ve completed (Sooo Satisfying!). At the end of every working week, I rewrite the list fresh for the next new week.

person holding blue ballpoint pen writing in notebook
Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Tip Three:

I print off a calendar which allows me to plan long term. This is especially good for planning blog posts and, in my jewellery and gift business, allows me to plan for big occasions such as Halloween, Christmas and Mother’s Day. It also allows me to see when my kids are going to be on holiday so that I can do all the planning, writing of blog posts etc. in advance rather than trying to do it all with the kids off.

flat lay photography of calendar
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Tip Four:

Even with all this planning, I can still get that awful overwhelming feeling that I’m sinking into the mud, never to return.

Lists are great for planning but sometimes looking at a long list can give you the heebie-jeebies. When this happens I walk away.

It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But, it really works. Go and have a cup of tea, take an hour off, go for a walk, watch your favourite T.V. programme. Whatever you need.

OR…

Just take the day off. You’re not a machine. Sometimes when you’re feeling like this it’s because your body and your mind need a break!

Just because you’re sitting at you’re desk doesn’t mean you’re actually working!

If you take the day off you’ll probably find you’ll come back fresh the day after and actually get more work done!

Blimey, there were a lot of exclamation marks in those last few sentences, weren’t there?

Tip Five:

Learn to chuck things in the fuck-it bucket!

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

Ask yourself; do I really need to do this? Does this add anything to what I’m doing? Do I really need to go to Aunt Sara’s party tomorrow when she can’t stand me and I haven’t seen her in ten years?

Learn to say NO. Learn to turn things down.

And, I’ll say it again for everyone at the back; LEARN TO SAY NO.

This, my friends, is very important because the majority of us are brought up to be people pleasers and that means we’re not very good at saying no.

A great resource I go to whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed and needing help to sort my head out (and my priorities sometimes) is the fabulous book by Sarah Knight, called, The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving A Fuck. I urge you to try it. It’s full of useful advice. As I said in a previous post (Books that have helped me with my writing), this book has changed my life! Knight teaches you “how to stop spending time you don’t have doing the things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like.”

Oh, and an extra tip; look at pictures of cute animals. Like this:

close up photo of dog
Photo by Juliano Ferreira on Pexels.com

Damn it, cute animals get me every time 🙂

What tips would you give to people who are feeling overwhelmed?

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Six Things To Remember When You Think You’re Failing

Think you’re failing? Just that word, “failing” is enough to give you nightmares, isn’t it? Well, all is not lost. When you’re feeling like you’ve failed remember these six things:

  1. Remember, EVERYONE feels like this at some point. EVERYONE fails at something. What’s important is that you get back up again. You might need some time to get over it; it’s okay to feel shitty, it’s okay if you fall apart for a bit, just make sure you don’t unpack and live there! Get back up and straighten that crown.
  2. It doesn’t matter how many times you think you’ve failed. It’s not the failure that matters; you could fail fifty times, just make sure you get back up. THAT’S what matters. It’s not how many times you fall but how many times you get back up!
  3. Failing means you’re living. It means you’re trying things even if they’re not working out. THAT, my friend, is worth it on its own because:
  4. That means you’re learning. Failing means you’re trying things and learning what to do and what not to do. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Keep on learning, keep on growing.
  5. Keep your failures in perspective. You’ve probably not brought about the end of the world (which is a good thing, I think? Although if it is the end of the world and there are zombies involved, I’m down for splatting a few. What can I say? That’s the gamer in me:)) Don’t turn it into a catastrophe if it isn’t one. Learn from it and move on (after doing whatever it is you need to do to move on. My poison of choice is wine and chocolate. A proper writer cliche, I know, but I am what I am :))
  6. Remember, “Failure is a verb, not a noun.” This is from an article on Psychology Today. I like this point. It’s important that you realize failing doesn’t mean you’re a failure. See?

And, as Winston Churchill once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” More importantly, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

 

Further Reading:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201610/8-things-tell-yourself-when-you-feel-failure

So, you want to be a writer?

So, you want to be a writer?

Here are six tips to help you on your way!

I make jewellery but I also write too. I have four books out as I’m writing this and, as you know from previous posts (see A Writing Experiment? and New Year, New Projects) I have more in the works. Here are my top six tips to get you writing:

  1. Read. A lot!! I love reading so this isn’t a major issue for me. Reading will make you a better writer. You need to learn somewhere, right? So why not learn from those who came before you? It’s amazing what you can get from other writers. You’ll pick up writing techniques, grammar tips and vocabulary as you go. Learning by osmosis – what’s not to love?
  2. Get yourself a notebook and a pen, go somewhere quiet and write! You don’t need any expensive gadgets to start. Just time, inspiration, and a notebook and pen.
  3. Practice. And Practice. And practice… Once you begin writing, keep going. The only way to get better at anything is practice. Maybe take a writing course to hone your skills. Writing courses come in many shapes and sizes. Some are free and some are run by fabulous, well-established writers (Neil Gaiman, I’m looking at you!).
  4. Get feedback. This gives you an outsider’s perspective of your writing. People can tell you where your weak points are and when you’re doing something right. You could join a local writing group for this. I did and it improved my writing considerably.
  5. Get a thick skin. You’re not always going to write fabulous prose. Sometimes your work will be utter crap. Don’t be afraid to face that fact. And even when your work is absolutely amazing and fabulous, people will tear it apart and make you feel like dirt. Unfortunately, this is something we, as writers, have to live with. Not everyone is going to love what you write and you need to learn to live with that. Write anyway!
  6. Write! Make sure you write, even if it’s just a few words every day. Don’t just talk about it. Write it! Write your first draft even if it’s utter rubbish. Don’t worry, everyone’s first draft is crap. But as they say, you can’t edit a blank page! You can edit your writing though. And edit. And edit. Rewrites will make your writing shine!

As Charles Buckowski said:

“There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire the eye and put you face to face with death. You will die a fighter, you will be honored in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it.”

 

Six Things You’re Probably Doing If You Have High-Functioning Anxiety.

According to the NHS website “Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life – for example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal.

.Anxiety is a part of life and is normal in terms of the flight-or-fight response we have in high stress or threatening situations. This fight-or-flight mode produces adrenaline and cortisol which means we either stand our ground or flee from a harmful situation. It’s a perfectly natural response to what’s happening and can save our lives.

However, sometimes anxiety becomes overbearing and oppressive and can take over our lives in a detrimental way. As the NHS website says, “some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.” But not everyone who has severe anxiety looks as if they have anxiety. Many people function on quite a high level but are still suffering inside.

This is a list of six things you’re probably doing if you have high functioning anxiety:

  1. Trying to please everyone. I have been so guilty of this one in the past! Trying to make everyone else happy even if it makes you unhappy. We are the ultimate people-pleasers and our anxiety makes us feel like we’re never good enough.
  2. We put off calling or texting people. I’m also guilty of this. Sometimes picking the phone up and making that call is the most stressful thing in the world. What if they don’t pick up? What do I say? What if I can’t do what that person wants me to do? What then? What if I don’t know what to do when I speak to them? I had a job as a Management Administrator. Sounds posh, doesn’t it? Ha ha. I was terrible at it. I hated picking up the phone. I was so super-stressed all the time because, like, what if I didn’t know the answer to what they were asking, or what if I messed up? I know, stupid, right?
  3. Shutting down and not telling people what we really feel. Because, what if you laugh at us? Because we’re not supposed to show you that we’re struggling, right? And we know we’re just being stupid. And, what if you don’t like us then?
  4. Or we talk and talk because we don’t know what else to do and we can’t stand those big uncomfortable silences. Sometimes this means we say completely inappropriate things! Inside we are so freaking out right now!
  5. We are good at making people think we’re totally snobby and off limits and completely rude. We’re not. We’re just really overwhelmed and very anxious!
  6. And we apologise for everything! Even, and especially when, it’s not our fault and it’s something out of our control. I still do this, even now! Someone bumps into me in public, I apologise! I even apologise before I ask someone a question. Like, really? I so need to stop that!

Is there anything you’d add to the list? I know I could. I could probably go on all day 🙂 And then I’d apologise!!!!

 

Further Reading:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/

https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/high-functioning-anxiety/like-high-functioning-anxiety/

https://www.womenshealth.com.au/symptoms-signs-high-functioning-anxiety