Over the last week, I have allowed my mind to enter a state of overwhelm. With 2 big moves coming up, a sporadic travel schedule, entertaining a 15 month old (safely), a boyfriend returning from deployment, and new work opportunities coming my way (the emails that need replies are endless), the hours in my day fly by! Needless to say, my thoughts are scattered. By the end of the day, I’ve spent more time staring at my to-do list than actually taking steps to attack it.
There are people (and I am one of them) that recoil during overwhelm and seek out mindless activities to put them at ease, like, oh I don’t know, watching reality TV (Keeping Up With the Kardashians, anyone?). Does it work? Nope. Do I feel more productive or ready to work? Inspired? Motivated? Rested? Nope, nope, nope, and absolutely not. This just adds chaos to our already over-stimulated “ADD” brain. Sometimes I feel like there is a ping-pong game going on inside my head, and my attention span is the ball.
I have a couple tips (and a SUPER simple recipe) that will put you back on the productive track and allow you to feel rewarded as you cross out those to-do lists items at lightning speed.
- Find 15 minutes. As someone who used to track their time in 6-minute increments (thanks to public accounting time sheets), I’m aware of just how much one can complete in just 15 minutes. Set the timer on your phone and tackle the first item on your list. Only commit to 15 minutes, a manageable chunk of time. You’d be surprised at how much you’ll accomplish.
- Shut it down. Turn off distractions; too much multi-tasking actually makes tasks take longer. If it’s cleaning or organizing on your list, go ahead and turn on your favorite TV show, podcast or Ted Talk. If you have to use your brain in any way, like writing an email or having a phone conversation, limit the distractions to music.
- Think Simple. When I have a s@#$-ton to do, I often get caught up in the details, missing the big picture. I’ve noticed that there is usually an obvious way to simplify the situation, that I don’t see until I think “out of the box.” Up-level your approach, choose the most important thing on your to-do list and begin!
- Honor your bed. Staying up late to get ahead is soooooo appealing. Once you hit the midnight mark, it’s no turning back and you enter this zone beyond tired, like zombie zone. I admit to employing this practice about once a week, but no more than that. It’s a tricky situation that creates a domino effect and can mess up your entire week! Don’t waste your weekends playing catch up to your weekday, sleep-deprived self! Instead, set a reasonable time to get to sleep (7-8 hours before you want to wake up) and be in the bathroom 30 minutes before! No excuses! Brush your teeth, wash your face, floss, cut your nails, whatever ritual you have before bed. Restrict “in bed” activities to reading (no TV, no games, no iPhone).
- Stay Balanced. In your blood sugar that is! Cravings for sweet comfort food occur full throttle when we are overwhelmed and/or sleep-deprived. Our body releases cortisol, which increases appetite and makes that Starbucks Mocha Mint Chocolate Chip Frappuccino seem oh so alluring. Instead of boarding the blood sugar rollercoaster, opt for a homemade “pick me up” like the Peppermint Green Tea Frappuccino below. Your body will thank you!
SIMPLE PEPPERMINT GREEN TEA FRAPPUCCINO (made with REAL food ingredients)
½ banana, frozen
1 peppermint green tea bag
½ cup shaved or crushed ice
½ cup canned coconut milk
½ cup warm water
*Option to add natural sweetener, cacao powder or fresh peppermint leaves
- Place peppermint green tea bag in ½ cup warm water and let steep for 5 minutes.
- Add peppermint tea water with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Serve over ice, relax, and enjoy!
Don’t forget to maintain perspective! It will be easier to find your center when you remember there are a lot of people around the world dealing with injustices and stress levels much higher than yours. Practice gratitude and outsmart your overwhelm!
Live your WHOLE life,
Shannon + Meg
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