So, over the weekend I had a bit of a ‘temper tantrum’. You know the kind where a 2 year old throws themselves down on the floor of the grocery store for all to see, well that’s what I felt like doing, and kind of did.
Why was I feeling that way? I was overwhelmed due to an unexpected stressful situation that I had to deal with during the month of October. I was behind with everything as in I hadn’t been grocery shopping, hadn’t paid bills, and household chores were growing like my laundry piles. Ironically my laundry seemed to be under control. I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. During this time my younger two boys were tracked out. They are in year round schools which means they are in school for 9 weeks and then they get a 3 week break all year long. I finally started to come up for air last week when they went back to school. Then reality set in as it was also two days from my oldest son’s birthday with which I had no idea what we were doing or getting him for a gift. The second half of reality set in which was the reminder that if it is his birthday then that means Thanksgiving is next week! I said to myself “Are you kidding me??” How in the world did this happen? My calendar says it is October 1st! I was having dejavue as I told myself last year that next year (which is right now) was going to be more organized, less chaos, and well you get the idea. We all whisper those little words to ourselves or is that just me? Even with all the planning and preparing, nothing can control the unexpected, as well all know.
Then I had a conversation with my best friend who is Stage IV Brain Cancer and after listening to her give me a pep talk, she said “when I am feeling down, I think about my boys attending my funeral” and that was all I needed to hear. I realized how ridiculous I had been. Complaining about what? What did I really have to complain about? My complaints were meaningless compared to what she faces every day.
It was time for me to take a deep breath, step back away from the situation and do what I do best which is to make a list, and in my case there were multiple lists. I like to call this process a brain dump. This is the only way that I know how to make myself feel like I was in control when things were out of control. I need to focus on the things that I can control and let the rest go, easier said than done. I have to work really hard at letting go. No one can change the past so stop focusing on it.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and out of control? Are the pressures of the holidays starting to build? If you answered yes, then try these steps to see if it might work for you like it did for me. This is not a right or wrong answer. Most importantly is that you recognize what is causing you to feel the way you are. Think about what will make it better for you? What can you do about it? Then take action!
I don’t have all the answers, not even for myself but I can share with you what I did and what works for me:
1. Throw a temper tantrum – go ahead! Give yourself permission to kick, scream, yell, cry, drink, eat, shop or whatever it is to get it out. Sometimes we all need to give ourselves permission to do the things we are “not supposed to do”. No one said you should go to the store, throw yourself down on the floor and kick and scream but it is ok to go somewhere and give yourself a few minutes to come unglued!! Go for it! There is plenty of glue at the store so don’t worry about not being able to “glue” yourself back together! I’ll be there to help you!
2. Brain Dump – This is where you write everything down that is in your head. Find a time where you can spend a few minutes and just write everything that pops into your head (it can be electronically or good old fashioned pen and paper, whatever works for you). Don’t worry about what it is and how you are going to get it done, just write. Write until you can’t think anymore, but leave space because you will always think of more things, always!
I feel much better when I write things out. When I walk around with it all in my head I can’t think, I can’t focus, I can’t sleep, I’m grumpy, I snap at people and I become someone who is not nice to be around. Does that happen to you too? After you’ve gotten everything out of your head go back read what you wrote. Take a deep breath and ask yourself what you can do to help alleviate some of this for yourself?
3. Break your list down into categories if you need to, I had to do this so that I could prioritize better. My categories are household, business, holiday, meals and groceries.
Now that you have your list, it’s time to prioritize, plan and schedule!
a. Highlight the items that need to be done now. Go ahead and put those items on your to-do list
b. For my Holiday list I sat down with my calendar and actually scheduled all the things that I need to do and from there I filled in those things that I would like to do.
c. For the remaining items, I put those on a separate list for another time
Take a deep breath and ask yourself what you can do to help alleviate some of this for yourself? How do you feel? Better? Worse?
It is very easy to get caught up in what we think the Holidays should be, or that we have to live up these expectations of the perfect Holiday. Or maybe we are trying to make everyone else happy when inside it is causing more stress and taking away from enjoying the season. This is not the time to perfect being “perfect” this is all about surviving with a smile on your face and at the end of the day making sure you enjoy it as well. If it does not make you happy, and you are doing it out of obligation then cross it off your list. Do what is right for you and what works for your situation. You will be much happier. Saying No really is gratifying. Try it.