3 Easy Tips to Simplify Life's Balancing Act
Living Life in a Constant State of Overwhelm
It seems like living with a constant feeling of overwhelm is becoming the norm for way too many people in our society.
In fact, many people are so accustomed to this state of feeling like they are never going to catch up that they don't even realize how much stress it is contributing to their lives.
For example, one time my sister told me about a crazy dream she had where she was riding a horse (generally one of her favorite activities) down a very steep hill.
Normally this wouldn't be a problem for her, but in her dream, instead of holding onto the horse's reigns, she was precariously balancing an assortment of books and other random items in her hands, one of them being a pizza that was about to topple over.
Normally my sister would find riding a horse to be extremely therapeutic, but in this dream, it just added to the stress she was experiencing.
My sister thought this was a very strange dream and couldn't imagine how or why her subconscious mind would have come up with such a creation.
When she told me about it, the meaning of this dream was perfectly clear.
Anybody observing my sister's' lifestyle at the time could see that her plate was absolutely full and spilling over.
She was spending her last semester of college working as a student teacher while compiling research and case studies to finish up her final course work for her education degree. Not only that, but she was struggling to find the time and energy to maintain healthy habits, and trying to balance a social life on top of her other responsibilities.
Ironically, she'd even unsuccessfully been trying to make arrangements to clean horse stalls as a trade for being able to ride an acquaintance's horse.
Her dream was a perfect metaphor for the overwhelm she was experiencing as she tried to find balance in her life, and she's not alone.
Far too many people go through life feeling like clowns in a juggling act.
As they strive to keep an impossible amount of balls in the air, they go through life tripping over the balls they are supposed to be juggling with the overwhelming feeling that life is taunting and mocking them.
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Tip #1: Prioritize
When we have a lot on our plate, it is easy to get overwhelmed and lose sight of our priorities. We feel like our plate is hopelessly spilling over, when in a lot of cases we could make everything fit if we did a little bit of rearranging.
The worst case scenario is that we might not have room on our plate for that extra brownie every day.
This might make us sad at first, but the important thing is that we are getting all of the essentials, and we could discover that just like in a weight loss plan, there are actually some benefits that come with skipping our brownies from time to time.
One Simple way to prioritize your activities is to make a list of everything that you have to do, and then separate the items on your list into three categories by marking the appropriate letter next to them as follows:
A-these items are urgent and absolutely have to be done today.
B-These items are important, but could wait a day or two if necessary.
C-These items are things that you want to do, but aren't essential.
Once you have categorized your activities, you will need to exercise some discipline. You will probably be tempted to do some of the less important activities first, but it is important that you do your activities in the order of how urgent they are.
You may be surprised to discover that as you prioritize and keep your focus on the most urgent items on your list first, you actually end up having time to get more done than you normally would.
You will be able to overcome that haunting feeling of overwhelm, and you will often be able to do many of your fun optional activities along with finishing all the essentials on your list.
This video shows that you can fit more into your day when you do the most important things first...pretty cool demonstration!
Tip #2: Let Go of the Mental and Emotional Burdens That Are Weighing You Down
If you're like me and have a tendency to over pack (or be prepared for every situation as I like to call it), you're probably accustomed to having people ask you, "What are you carrying around in there, rocks?"
One day, I was cleaning out my purse and realized that I literally was carrying rocks around with me. I picked up a few rocks thinking they were pretty and then forgot they were there.
When I was cleaning out my purse later and promptly removed them, it felt like a huge burden had been lifted.
How crazy that I had been putting that extra strain on my shoulder for months for no reason!
I share this story because many of us carry around too many mental and emotional rocks that are wearing us down and overwhelming us without us even realizing it.
Some people dwell on the sorrows of their past, others are prone to worrying about the future, and many unnecessarily carry around judgments and grudges that are only hurting themselves.
If you are carrying around mental and emotional burdens that are constantly wearing on you. It's time to let them go. Live in the present instead of dwelling on hurts of the past and worrying about the future. Let the healing power of forgiveness work its magic in your life.
You will be amazed by the sense of relief that you feel as the burdens that used to be so heavy (whether you perceived them or not) become lighter and eventually disappear.
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Tip #3: Cut Out the Clutter
Unnecessary clutter is a huge contributor to feelings of chaos and overwhelm. If you easily pictured yourself as that clown that's tripping over the balls they are supposed to be juggling, it could be because you have way too much stuff to juggle.
My friend told me a story that was a perfect example of this type of situation.
She was trying to make her house look perfect before a final inspection, and was feeling quite overwhelmed.
She was frantically running here and there around her house trying to get all her last minute jobs done, and in the mean time ended up with quite the random assortment of items in her hands that needed taken care of.
She told me that some how in the craziness of it all, she'd been carrying a bowl of cat food around for quite some time. Long story short, when her list of chores led her to her sink, she ended up dumping the cat's food down the drain, an action that had not been her intention.
At this point, she realized what a crazy thing she had been doing by carrying around all of these useless items while trying to get her jobs done.
When we have too much stuff in our hands, or on our desk, in our room, in our schedule, or wherever it may be, life becomes chaotic, and we easily lose our focus.
Sometimes we may feel very attached to our clutter, carrying it around with us everywhere we go like a security blanket without realizing that it is hindering us more than it is helping us.
If this is the case, we should probably take a closer look at why we find this clutter to be so essential. We should never be afraid to let go of something that is no longer serving a practical purpose in our lives.
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