self worth

What To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you think you’re going insane?

Your iCalendar has more dots than a kindergartener with the chicken pocks, you run straight from one activity to the next, and whenever you actually arrive you’re a solid 30 minutes late, not to mention the fact that you’ve managed to forget someone or something along the way.

It’s easy to feel insane because it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

As a recovering people-pleaser I must admit my days seemed to run together more often than not. I said, “yes” more often than I said “no.” It was hard to actually engage with people because my mind was running a million miles per hour checking off internal lists and replaying previous conversations. I found myself overcommitting and underperforming.

I would beat myself up for overcommitting and then beat myself up even more when I overcommitted to the point of having to cancel at the last minute. Which made me feel obligated to recommit and go above and beyond to win whoever’s approval I had seemingly lost. It was a vicious cycle of hustling for my self-worth that always left me feeling as though I were indebted to those around me.

I looked to my calendar to justify my existence.

Throwing around the phrase “I’m just so busy” gave me the most bizarre sense of importance in the world. I needed a full calendar to feel like a full person who was worthy of occupying space on the planet. I liked the way that sentence tasted in my mouth, as though it were a rare steak only reserved for the busy elite among us, who, for the record, would probably be too busy to actually savor it or enjoy it.

Eventually I found myself exhausted, miserable, and after attempting to be such a good friend I discovered it had turned me into the most rotten friend of all. I was the friend who didn’t show up, who forgot to call, and who absent-mindedly checked emails when I did manage to make an appearance. People pleasing is often the quickest way to find yourself feeling incredibly alone.

I realized the very thing I looked to for life, my schedule, was actually the very thing draining me.

Ultimately I didn’t value myself enough to value my time. I didn’t care about myself enough to want to take care of myself. I thought surely, eventually, I would earn the break I thought I deserved. The thing about your schedule is either you can set it or you can allow others to set it for you. You can decide what’s important to you or you can allow others to tell you what’s important to you. Often those priorities don’t align.

Not saying we should believe the worst about people, in fact I still believe most people are doing the best they can, but other people’s priorities will never be your priorities. And if you’re always choosing other people then when will there ever be room to choose yourself?

In order to understand that I was loved and accepted right where I was I had to learn to disappoint some people.

For me, learning to disappoint others and choose my own priorities was the only way I could truly and deeply grasp the fact that I was loved and accepted right where I was. By setting boundaries around my time I started to realize that no calendar or schedule was going to change my identity. When I started resting, and I mean really resting, in who I actually am and not who my calendar tells me I am, only then was I able to offer to others the time, energy, and relationship that we both truly desired.

Pick three things that bring you life.

Seriously, pick them. Write them down on a piece of paper or in a note on your phone. These three things should be reasonable things that leave you feeling refreshed, rested, and restored. They give you a little extra bounce in your step.

Do one of those three things every single day.

Not only when you’ve finished all your other tasks, rest and restoration aren’t some reward we must earn. Not only on Sundays or when you’re taking a Sabbath. Not just on vacation. I want you to do one of these things every single day.

You’re worth choosing. You’re worth investing in. You and your time are more valuable than you could ever know.

When we choose things that give us life we’re able to turn around and offer life to others. If we’re overworked, stressed, and overwhelmed then that’s exactly the space we will invite others into. If you love your people you want to invite them into a loving space.

Just do one of those things every single day for the rest of the week. Write down what happens. Did the world fall apart? Did you lose all your friends? Did the business shut down? Or did you enjoy yourself and feel rested? Did you have more energy and focus throughout the day?

The more space we create in our lives the more grace we’re able to offer to ourselves and to others.

Honestly, I’m curious as to what brings you life. I would love to know what three things you’re choosing this week. Shoot me a text, send me an email, or you can even write a comment. And if you’re struggling to come up with three things let’s chat or ask a friend when they’ve seen you come alive recently and go from there.