by Ndidi Yaucher, DLCC Coach Have you ever felt a sense of overwhelm, anxiety, stress and mental chaos when you have a lot on your plate and you’re not sure where to begin? That’s where I was a few weeks ago. My travel schedule was crazy last month which left me behind on everything from personal, work, business and volunteer work. I was feeling overwhelmed with everything that needed to be completed before leaving for vacation. My growing list of to-dos kept spinning in my head, and I had all this mental clutter that kept me from moving forward. So I paused and thought about what I needed to do to calm down and focus on the tasks at hand, so I could enjoy my vacation. Hopefully, some of these will help you too!
- Drain your brain. It takes a lot more mental energy (and stress) when you have a lot of to-dos circling around in your head. A simple act of emptying the mind usually does the trick. Writing down and prioritizing my list of tasks works wonders for me. As I write my list, I recognize that some activities do not need to be on my list after all. I then prioritize the list and create a game plan on what to tackle. I usually start with the most important task first. For some who aren’t ‘list people,’ talking through your tasks and action steps can help clarify and prioritize them. Find out what works best for you!
- Practice stillness. When there is mental clutter, the act of stillness helps quiet the mind. Stillness can mean different things to different individuals. For me, my stillness practices involve movement (that’s right – you don’t need to be still to create stillness) and music. Walking and exercise allows me to pause and gives me the space needed to clear my mind and come up with ideas to tackle the clutter. Relaxing music has the same effect on me. Other healthy habits such as deep breathing, sleep and healthy eating decrease your stress and anxiety and help fuel your energy and increase your productivity.
- Learn to say no. Lastly, as you are working through your list of tasks, it’s important to avoid taking on more work. As difficult as it is to say no, I’ve learned over time that the more I take on, the further I get from achieving my priorities and goals.