I’m the all-or-nothing type of person, with a strong tendency to ‘all’.
There’s always something to do, and things can always be done better and faster. Over the years that’s a good recipe for either burnout, chronic overwhelm, a fried nervous system, a complaining body – or all of it at the same time.
But how does one create balance, when there is such a load of generational beliefs, societal conditioning and inner ideas of ‘not being good enough’ to combat?
For me, these things manifest as a strong sense of unrest in my body. It feels like a rush, thoughts of all the things I need to do and which need to be done now. It may look like a computer with many tabs open and three to do lists next to it – or at least feel like that.I know my strategy is usually to try to do it all, where I may do one thing as another thing needs a little time to upload. I try to get rid of the unrest by trying to do it all.
Some days, they are more rare but exist, I may ignore everything. I put my phone away (or keep frantically checking it though not opening the messages and emails of people that I expect want something from me) and indulge in distraction.
Of course neither are a good nor sustainable solution.
What is a good solution, is something I’m learning. As I get to know my body and how it expresses boundaries better every day, I notice that I have limits. I can’t do everything at once. Sometimes I need to do less than I believe I should. Sometimes I need to cancel things. Sometimes I need to be patient with myself. Sometimes I simply need to be more realistic of what is humanly, and healthily, possible in a day.
It means I do the things I do one at a time, finishing the task before starting a new one. These are some other strategies:- understanding what I do better at which part of the day.- prioritizing things that energize me. Is there just a little daylight in a day? Then I go for a long walk first and answer emails after sunset.- I make sure I eat well and make time for preparing food.- I am my own coach: I tell myself I can answer my emails few times a week (not a few times per day), and I don’t need to force myself to create online content when it’s too much to do.
And most of all: I practice dealing with the unrest. I try to figure out where it comes from. Is it the idea that people expect certain things from me? (And is that true?) Is it old conditioning where I am worthy as a human when I work hard and suffer hard? Does that voice come from myself, my upbringing, dogma?
And I breathe. Deep, slow breaths.