Maybe you feel that way too? Especially at this time of year, I feel the crush of 4th quarter and think of all the things on my business to-do list that I’m eager to complete. AND with the holidays coming, it seems my personal/family to-do list has grown exponentially in keeping with season, and even though I am not extravagant about holidays – I just can’t keep up!
All this makes me feel exhausted – even on days when I’ve barely begun to do any work! It’s like I get up tired, just thinking about the volume of chores that are mine to accomplish. Yikes!
Lots of caregivers feel this way. Truthfully, if anything is going to happen or be accomplished, it will fall to ME to do it; delegation often isn’t an option!
It can feel paralyzing – just creating my list can exhaust me – where’s the joy that comes from crossing things off the list? It’s hard to find joy when each task completed leads to two more additions to the list.
Maybe you’ve encountered this sort of exhaustion? I know for me it’s exacerbated by self-talk that diminishes anything I HAVE accomplished or the bounty of good things that the work itself represents. I’ll hear myself saying:
- You SHOULD have the holiday cards addressed and ready by now, it’s nearly Thanksgiving!
- You OUGHT to move the sofas and clean under them before any holiday company arrives!
- You MUST empty the refrigerator and wash down all the shelves before you re-stock it with food for holiday events!
Anytime I hear myself leaning into SHOULD, OUGHT or MUST, I know I’m in trouble – they are clear verbal cues that my expectations are exceeding my capacity for accomplishment and I’m setting myself up for failure – or at least feeling like a failure, because I just can’t keep up!
What’s the self-care “fix” that can get me out of my funk? Here’s three things I do when I’m feeling this way:
- Count my blessings! It has been an amazing year for my business AND, at home, I’ve gotten a lot of big projects completed (even if I hired someone to do the labor!) – it feels good to recognize that my efforts aren’t in vain – some good work is getting done!
- Re-think my priorities! My holiday visitors really aren’t looking under my sofa to catalog the dust-bunnies there. Generally they come for fellowship, friendship and a little food – not to examine my housecleaning habits. I can focus instead on being a gracious hostess!
- Remember my core values! When I’m using my time to align with what really matters to me, I can begin to let go of those “Shoulds, oughts, and musts” that often come from outside myself (television commercials, social media posts or grocery store gossip) and send a message of inadequacy, insufficiency and scarcity. I am enough, and what I accomplish is good enough!
Those may be simple reminders, but often they are enough to turn the tide of my negative mindset and get me back on track for taking on the next set of chores that has accumulated on my list. Today, it’s all about cleaning my office – I’ll need to remind myself, progress beats perfection every time! There’s no film crew coming to evaluate my success; I’m the only one who needs to be satisfied with the results!
If you’re feeling that YOU just can’t keep up, take a moment and reassess the reality of your situation:
- There may be blessings that you’re missing – things to be grateful for that could use your attention! Remembering, we can’t be in gratitude AND anxiety simultaneously – it’s one channel or the other, so pick the one that serves you best!
- Rethink your priorities – what’s most essential on your to-do list and what can be delayed or disregarded altogether? Whose agenda are you using as your guide? If it doesn’t serve you (or makes you feel weary) maybe you can just let some things go – not everything really matters!
- What would match your core values? Focusing our attention on things that matter most will begin to change how we feel about the investment we’re making with our time, energy and other resources. That alignment reminds our nervous system that we’re making good choices!
As always, hoping you’ll be well throughout the remainder of this year. Wishing you small celebrations of the successes you create and the commitments you keep (especially to yourself!). And, above all, be sure to let me know if I can help!