We’re 2 weeks into 2021 and if you’re experiencing anything like what I’m feeling, you’re exhausted. There’s a lot going on in the world; the pandemic is still here and you’ve got your personal things to deal with. You aim to complete your own projects within a specific time frame but when you don’t meet your expectations, you berate yourself. Then there are the favours you said “yes” to because dang it your boundaries are difficult to honour, so you spread yourself thin. You just can’t catch a break!
2020 taught us to slow down which felt all kinds of strange. We’ve been wired to rush and be productivity machines for years and there was no warning before we lost that normalcy. Of course, this change was good but that didn’t make it easier to leave the hustle mentality behind. It felt like tossing out a raggedy old pair of slippers. They fit every contour of your feet so well but no longer give you the support you need.
Then enters the resistance…
You know that rest is the remedy for your stress and there’s peace and quiet when you finally decide to. Throughout this period of rest, you get the occasional mental reminder about your to-do list, but you’re able to put those thoughts aside. This rest is going quite well overall, you don’t even sneak any glances at your phone.
Then a few minutes later, your mind starts getting antsy and begins prompting you to get back to work. Even when you try to get it to rest again, it ramps up the thoughts and takes you out of the moment. Now you’re envisioning a stressful scenario where you’re rushing to get a project completed. This is the number one tactic of your mind to get you up and moving: it’s resisting your need for rest.
You fall prey to the dramatic stories your mind tells you and open up your laptop. This doesn’t make you feel better like you thought it would though. By the end of the day, you’re more exhausted than you had been earlier because you didn’t truly get to rest. It ended just as soon as it began.
I know the feeling…
Monday morning rolled around and like most Mondays, it came too quickly. To compensate for this feeling, I decided to take the day slowly and was not prepared for what came next. My plan was to take an hour to finish up a few important tasks, grab some breakfast and play the rest of the day by ear. This felt great! It was like mustering up the energy for a call I didn’t want to be on then getting a message to reschedule — pure bliss.
Two hours into taking it easy, my mind decided that it was no longer okay with my approach so it kicked things into high gear.
“Email needs to be checked ASAP.”
“There are too many tasks on our to-do list, we can’t rest.”
The voice became so loud and I caved, telling myself that I’d “quickly” check my email. After all, what would be the harm in that, right? Wrong, there were a slew of emails that needed my attention.
I know, I shouldn’t have looked. 🤦🏾♀️
What I made it mean…
In my eyes, those emails proved that I didn’t have the right to rest. I viewed them as urgent emails (when they could have waited) which put me in a scarcity mindset. I had thoughts that ranged from not having enough time to complete the week’s tasks to being inadequate altogether. It also didn’t help that while stressing about those emails, I scrolled Instagram and saw a bunch of people having productive days. More proof that I made a mistake in thinking I could rest.
I completely disregarded the peace I had for the few hours I spent immersed in the moment and instead questioned if it had been a good decision for me to take that time for myself. My mind was straight up gaslighting me! Of course, it was a good decision to rest and fill up my energy tank.
It did, however, take me the rest of that day to get out of the thickest part of that funk and the following day to work through what was left over. The largest shift to get my mindset back on track occurred when I became aware of my poor mental state. It was from there that I went through the 5 strategies listed below to rewrite the negative narrative playing on a loop.
5 Ways to Stop Spreading Yourself So Thin
Check in with yourself.
Make sure that all your basics needs are met. The whirlpool of unhelpful thoughts can get through your defenses much easier when you’re running on E.
Go back to the basics:
- Have you gotten enough sleep?
- Is there enough food in your belly?
- Did you move your body today?
- Have you showered? (The difference a shower can make is incredible. I always feels better after I have one.)
Give yourself permission to be.
- Ease into your day
- Switch things up
- Leave tasks for later
Guilt doesn’t have a place in the mindset mix when you show yourself compassion. You can relax and be in the present moment because you know that where you are right now is enough. The best part is that you granted yourself this permission. You allowed yourself to simply be. As a people-pleaser, you’ve spent a lot of time waiting for someone else’s approval but in reality, only you can choose the way you live.
Get your energy levels up.
It’s impossible to pour from an empty cup. You can’t show up well for yourself and your people when your needs haven’t been met. Do the things that feel right for you to remind yourself that you are worthy of the love and light you effortlessly give to others.
Block off time in your calendar for rejuvenation. Restore the fun and humorous side of yourself that’s been stuffed down by your productivity mode. If you want some ideas, download this list of 30+ ways to increase your energy levels in 10 minutes or less. When your energy levels are up, you operate from a place of abundance, squeeze the joy out of each moment and show up as an excellent version of yourself.
This step heavily relies on your ability to say “no”. As it stands, you take on much more than you want to, leaving yourself with responsibilities and obligations piled up high on your desk. In most cases, you can handle them but that doesn’t mean you should.
To reduce some of this stress you’re feeling, write out all the obligations and responsibilities on your desk for the week and ask yourself:
- If your efforts were concentrated solely on tasks that you’re really good at and/or passionate about, what stays on the list?
- What can you delegate?
- Which ones are important and urgent?
- What can you move to next week’s or next month’s to-do list?
- Which tasks will energize you?
Go all in. Decide on how you’re going to spend your next hour and commit to it.
If it’s work, work.
If it’s rest, rest.
It’s normal for your mind to send you in all kinds of directions and it’s up to you to guide it.
You’ve got this…
Your wellbeing always comes before the obligations in your calendar. Give yourself permission to ease into each day and be prepared for your mind’s resistance to that slower pace. It is absolutely normal.
You will have great days where your energy is up and things are going well and there will also be days when you find yourself deep in the mindset muck. Your self-awareness along with these 5 strategies will prevent you from spreading yourself thin.