I missed my lovely Sunday morning 'Psycotherapy the alternative sessions' with the gorgeous Ms C. I ended up feeling restless and out of sorts. Part of the reason for feeling like this was due to the fact that I had been going through my papers (I always have several different piles of 'projects' on the go) and after becoming excited at the prospect of all the lovely stuff I had planned for my future, I then became very agitated on where to begin first! I ended up feeling completely overwhelmed by it all - without ever uttering a word to anyone. It started and finished as per usual in my overloaded head. I felt so out of sorts I ended up in a completely bad mood, lost spectacularly at backgammon with luscious husband and generally felt like a bag of wasps.
I am by nature curious and have a huge appetite for learning about new things. I can come up with ideas and solutions quicker than you can shake a stick. Babara Sher author of 'I can do anything if only I knew what it was' and a host of other fab books (I did her Success Team Leader training a few years back) calls us Scanners. We are part of the Renaissance Souls Tribe! We are ideas people, creative beings and quirky thinkers. By the way, if you think I am blowing my own trumpet a bit, you're right, after a lifetime of 'I couldn't possibly do or say that' thinking, I am most defo giving it a toot!
It's great knowing you can solve other peoples problems really quickly, and its all very well think up wild and wonderful ways to make something happen. However, amongst all this creative frivolity, there is a flip side. And its much needed otherwise we would never get any grounding! This downside for many of us is no time to do anything because we're so busy absorbing new info or working out our creative plans. We frantically and busily take more and more information on board, just in case we've missed something, and we end up feeling that we're running out of time, resources and energy. We end up feeling overwhelmed, depleted and burnt out. And in many cases that's before we've even got started on the action steps. Everything becomes just too much, its too big an idea and we feel exhausted and take to our usually unmade bed (life's far too exciting for housework). We end up drowning ourselves with too many options, too much excitement about the ideas, rather less actually doing and before you know it you're as frazzled as a streaky piece of bacon left too long on the frying pan. This situation is just one step away from creative depression, hopelessness thinking and a week under the duvet if you can skive it off of work. (Ice cream lovers tend to eat Ben & Jerry's by the carton load.)
Is there a way out? Yes. Yes and Yes. There are plenty of escape routes if we look for them. The first and most important thing an overwhelmed creative thinker can do for his/herself is to clear the head. Clear your space and then breathe mindfully for a minute or two. A great head clearing exercise is one I do frequently with my coaching clients and that is to make three columns and in the third column begin writing everything down row by row that pops up ~ a bit like a really long to do list. It doesn't matter how many rows you fill up the point is to clear your head. Then on the second column run down beside your written to do's and put in order of importance A, B or C - A obviously being the most important. Finally in the first column the one next to the ABC's write 1, 2 or 3. Use different colours for the ABC's and separate colours for the 1,2,3's. At a glance you can see whats most important from the ABC's and even more important from the 1,2,3's You can then cut and past into your own most important task order.
Next you can clear your space. Nab a load of shoe boxes - I paint mine different colours - and label them up with all of your projects for instance you want to write a book, make a label for that, you want to lose weight make a label for that. Do as many boxes as you have projects for and then every time you have an idea, a thought or read something relevant to a project, you can write it down, rip it out and put it in your project box. This honestly calms your mind and frees up space for the next stuff to clutter it!
Bruce Elkin author of Simplicity and Success and a fantastic brilliant creativity coach who I was lucky enough to have a few months coaching with shows us in his books and writings, simple ways to creep by self sabotage and overwhelm to enable us to be moving closer to what we dream of being or doing. By completing small doable daily tasks, ones that we can start and complete easily on a daily/weekly basis, we are able to create more of what we really want and desire.
For example say you want to lose 10 stone, run a marathon and travel around the world. You start off full of high hopes, big expectations and suddenly 3 days in realise it is just too monumental a task to do, you end up becoming overwhelmed, fed up and frustrated with yourself and in true comfort zone patterning you follow the line of least resistance into a packet of biscuits, a box of choccy'sKaizen which is the Japanese way of doing small actions, thinking small thoughts, noticing small things and completing small tasks. (I am a trained Kaizen Creativity Coach - I trained with Jill Badonsky and Dr Robert Maurer author of One small step can change your life)
So back to the original dream - lose the weight, run the marathon, travel around the world. We begin by breaking it down until you find something you can do today. For me it would look like this:
Lose Weight Run Marathon Travel around the World
Find a slimming group Do 1 min on bottom step of stairs Visit travel agent for mags
or start a support group Do 1 min of back exercises Get brochures for pictures
Come up with eating plan Do 1 min on exercise bike for making a dreamboard
Buy a blank Journal
This would complete my tasks for today and give me something to look forward to tomorrow.
Tomorrow would look like this:
Phone Slim group or make Do 1 min as Yesterday Buy large sheet of card for
leaflets for start up group Do 1 min as yesterday dreamboard and paint it.
Make a statement to help me Do 1 min as yesterday Cut out travel pic's glue on
with my healthy eating dreamboard and use quotes
Begin my journal with a few words of encouragement to myself.
Find a friend who I can trust to support me or help me to start a group.
End of today's tasks
You can see it would continue. Small easy to complete steps without any overwhelm and they are completed each day. OK a minute a day on each bit of exercise is not going to get you super fit in a short space of time, but it IS three mins a day, seven days a week which is half an hour a week MORE than you've done consistently for the last few years. It's a doable start, it will make you feel good. You will find a sense of purpose and achievement and if you need accountability and someone to share your small wins with, grab a good non-judgemental non-critical friend who will support you no matter how small a step you are taking. Start a group, join a group get a few people onside. Join a social network group, begin one yourself. Just find someone or something to answer to or employ a coach who will work alongside you. Take some coaching sessions with me! Do whatever you can afford to do (can you afford not to?) Find what you are motivated by and accept help in being supported, isolation is a dream killer so says Barbara Sher and she's right!
Small steps every day using the big and the small picture will get you well on the way to becoming the person and living the life you dream of being and doing.
Note to self...remember to slow down, remember to you have plenty of time, remember to do it small, remember to breathe mindfully several times a day for a minute or two, remember to just do it, remember to accept help, remember to be grateful for supportive friends, remember to be good and kind to myself, then I will feel more in control. I will be able to restore my equilibrium and sense of doing something positive. I will enjoy the friends who I choose to have in my life more and be at peace with my solitary times. I will then be living a happier, less stressed more carefree life.....Now if only I can remember to remember...
I do know some great ways for that.....but it's another blog post!