Susan was a busy woman wondering how to get out of overwhelm. Having two jobs and three children meant life was a constant juggling act. Every day she added to her to-do list which never got any shorter, and every day she put herself last in order to try and get everything done in a day she had to. Even when she had a day off she went into battle with various tasks and jobs to try and make the most of her time at home.
Sure she was tired (isn’t everyone these days?) and fed up (perfectly natural) and found herself day-dreaming about living in a cabin in the woods all on her own with no internet, no work and no kids; just peace and quiet with the sounds of the forest and nothing to do but sit and enjoy the beauty around her (sound familiar?)
But this was a dream that would never happen for Susan because she was the only one to do everything. In fact, Susan was aware that life was passing her by because she was on this hamster wheel of life and if she stopped or even slowed down, everything would turn upside-down and her world would quite literally end. If she stopped who would get the kids up and ready for school? Who would earn the money? Who would do the washing and cleaning and cooking and the other thousand things she did every day? No, Susan had to keep going (God forbid she got sick!!!)
But sick is exactly what Susan got. The years of doing everything, being everything to everyone all of the time gradually took its toll on her and as she got more and more exhausted, more and more depleted, more and more fed-up, she became more emotional, crying over the silliest of things, feeling an uncontrollable rage about all that was going on in life and the world, feeling debilitating fear over the future of her kids, her job, herself, and her body decided enough was enough. Her mind decided it was simply going to shut down for a while and she became unable to think clearly, unable to get things done, unable to do anything other than the bare necessities needed for life.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? If it does, then you’ve probably experienced, or are experiencing overwhelm and burn-out. I send my love to you; it’s not a nice place to be.
There is a way out though and I want to share the 1st step with you. Yes only the 1st step because if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you really don’t need a whole process to take on board right now! Do you want to know what it is?
Step 1 – SLEEP
Yes, that’s it. One word. SLEEP. If you are overwhelmed part of that will be because you’re not only tired but exhausted and totally depleted.
Sleep is something quickly becoming under-rated in our fast-paced, busy world (only the weak need to sleep right?) but without it you will crash and burn and die.
Without the sleep your body and mind needs, you will die. Harsh? Maybe, but you need to hear this and take it on board.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and burnt-out you will need a lot of sleep. Not just an extra hour here and there (although that will certainly help), but substantial amounts of uninterrupted sleep. You will need to allow that to happen and take the steps necessary to make it happen.
Take some sick leave or holiday leave so you can sleep late, sleep during the day and go to bed early. Get a friend or relative to look after the kids for a day so you can rest (NOTE: this is not time to get through your to-do list!!).
Take yourself away to somewhere quiet so you can rest –a night at a B&B or hotel wherever possible is great or even staying with a friend who will allow you to hide under the duvet for 24 hours, undisturbed.
Give yourself permission to just sleep whenever you for how long you need to, and if you need to ask for help to allow this to happen – ask for it! There are no badges of honour in heaven for being the busiest and no rewards for being exhausted.
You may feel a bit disappointed that the #1 step for getting out of overwhelm is just sleep, but I promise you, it’s the one that will make all the difference, and once you feel more yourself again, contact me for the next steps.
If you’re wondering about how Susan got on, she followed this first vital step, asked her family and her friends for support, gratefully received it, and is now enjoying having enough energy and time for her work, her family and some non-negotiable time for herself each week. She is back to feeling herself and being a much happier person both at home and at work. 🙂