These past two weeks have been chaotic for me resulting finally in me feeling quite overwhelmed! As I now reflect back on it all, I think about why the overwhelm happened and what I could have done to manage the process better. The first thing I realised I was doing was thinking, “What the hell just happened here?” I had started the new year with such energy, optimism and zest and in a short space of two weeks, not even before the third month of the year had started and here I was wondering “Is this how my year going to pan out after all?!”
The mistakes I made…
Big mistake number 1: I was allowing old thinking patterns determine how I think the year is going to continue instead of sitting back, calming down and saying, “Ok, that happened. Now, let’s deal with it and move forward”.
Big mistake number 2: I had let my healthy boundaries slip. In a momentary moment of slipping back into the “old me”, triggered by old events re-surfacing in my life, I allowed boundaries, that I had created in the past couple of years to ensure that I did not let people (and their dramas) drain me, fall away.
Big mistake number 3: I did not give myself the break I needed, thinking instead that “I should” (my clients know that for me this is a big no-no. When a “should” appears in a sentence, you need to stop and think hard!) be socialising when I was bone-dead tired and instead could have taken the day off that my mind, body and soul was demanding.
The responses I made that I am proud of…
But, I did have a BIG “aha” moment too during all of these “life happening” moments and that was instead of reacting outwardly, in my old-style, irrational, chaotic self (yes, that was once me but my journey over the last five years has taught me so much), I stepped back and gave myself the space to think about how I was going to respond to the various situations that were happening. I faced many different scenarios in a short space of time and each time I reminded myself to tap into the life coaching and shamanic tools that I have been equipped with (and teaching) over the last five years. As a result, I can say quite proudly, that I handled most of the situations during this chaotic time with relative calm and rationality. Thank goodness!
The lessons I learnt from the chaos…
One of the best things I have learnt to do is to reflect as soon as possible when chaos and overwhelm clicks in. I thought about the mistakes (which actually are lessons after all) I made, explored the emotions that ranged from worry, sadness, anger, confusion to sheer helplessness, identified the triggers and discovered that I actually had the tools to deal with such situations so that I could emerge relatively sane (exhausted but sane!)
What I have also learnt is that you can have all the best intentions in the world to lead a calm, peaceful, balanced life but that LIFE still happens. The world can suddenly seem crazy and as much as you try to hide from it, it eventually catches up with you when what is happening is close to home. It has to be dealt with and the aim is to deal with it in a way that you can come out the other end dusting your hat and saying, “Ok, well that happened. Let’s move on!” with a relieved smile on your face and your life still intact.
And, the advice I would like to share…
As a coach, I am often faced with clients dealing with overwhelming situations. They get frustrated because they feel they have come such a long way on their personal development journey, only to suddenly find themselves facing chaos! Having emerged recently myself from facing such chaos and overwhelm, I share my following advice:·
* This time too shall pass!·
* Don’t beat yourself up if you reacted in a way that you are not proud of. Instead, sit back and reflect. Ask yourself why you reacted in such a way and find tools to help you respond, rather than react.·
* Watch your thought patterns. If you find yourself reverting to “victim” mode, stop! Hear what limiting, depreciating thoughts you are saying to yourself and stop them immediately. · Be aware if you are slipping into old habits or patterns and stop. Turn your focus to finding new, positive ways of dealing with the situation.·
* Emotions drive our behaviour. If we can be fully aware of our emotions, positive and negative, realising what the trigger points are, we are giving ourselves the breathing space we need in order to respond rather than react. It is also important to embrace our shadow when it surfaces and send it lots of love. ·
* Don’t feed into the chaos! As much as possible, observe the situation from the side-lines and only when necessary, step in with a calm and balanced approach.·
* Be very aware of your own limitations and take time out when needed. This can include retreating to your “safe space”, turning off your phone (yes, this includes Whatsapp messaging and googling Facebook!), asking your family to give you some “me” time, not going to that family-do because you feel you should, taking the day off work (promise you, the world won’t fall apart if you do!).·
* Make sure you have healthy boundaries and stick to them. Often, in times of chaos, we tend to get caught up in everyone else’s demands and dramas. Stay away from them and don’t let them into your space.·
* If you can, meditate. If not, just close your eyes and pray, to whoever you believe in, asking for help, support and love as you deal with the overwhelming situations.·
* Unpack the overwhelming situations with someone you trust – your coach, your partner, your best friend. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Sometimes, someone else’s objective point of view may be just what you need in that moment.·
* Take deep breathes. ·
* Really believe that this time too shall pass.
Two weeks ago, in the midst of all the chaos, I did not believe that “this time too shall pass”. But it has and I can start to re-gather my focus, calm and balance so that the next time LIFE happens, I am ready to handle it, better equipped with all the lessons I have learnt from this one!