You know that feeling when you only have one candle and not enough ends to burn it from?
You’re flinging washing in the machine while poaching an egg, burning the toast while responding to Tinder messages, opening 15 million tabs and trying to attend to them all at once until your browser crashes and you can’t remember why any of them were important anyway?
You’re cramming the weekend with breakfasts, brunches, coffees, and dates all before lunch, then afternoon missions to buy a bed and some hand soap for your new Airbnb listing.
And three days later you realise the washing is still in the machine?
Since the beginning of the year, I have been capital letters OVERWHELMED with shit to do.
I thought my life was busy before I started a business!?
I was rushing around telling people that I was overwhelmed and busy and that I didn’t have much time to catch up, up to my eyeballs in adrenaline, feeling as though I didn’t have time for yoga or meditation.
It all culminated in me bursting into tears at JB HiFi because there were just TOO MANY ROUTERS to choose from.
I didn’t have a single decision left in me.
I’ve learnt this lesson before, and like everything in life I’ll continue to have to learn it until I’ve learnt it. Which might possibly take forever.
You see, I’ve noticed a pattern I follow. I wonder if you might do the same?
I start off on top of the world, feeling great, doing lots of exercise and yoga, meditating most days, making the time to do all the things that I know are necessary for me to stay on top of my bloody good life. I wake up bursting with energy and inspiration, it feels like life is too good to be true.
I feel invincible and fearless, so I fill my life with more life. I start new projects for Project Self, write a million blog posts, start building things, writing cards, doing a lot of yoga.
I start dating up a Tinder storm, and my newfound energy and zest for life attracts loads of eligible babes into my life. So I try to date them all. I start listening to new music, experimenting in the kitchen, and trying to catch up with every friend I know.
I move heaven and earth to cram as much life into my life as possible.
And then, at some unknown high point, at the peak of the wave, I realise that I have massively, massively overcommitted myself.
Too many dates, too many catch ups, too many tabs open, too many projects.
There is a fine line between living at the edge of your limits (where the magic happens), and falling over the edge into overwhelm and panic.
When this happens, I let go of all the things that got me to the high point in the first place.
>> Yoga, exercise, meditation and getting outside fall by the wayside.
I cancel on friends and dates and retreat into my cave. I try to get on top of all the work I’ve created for myself, but since I’ve locked myself in a room with my overwhelm and hermitted myself away from everything that lights me up, I no longer feel inspired, so I can’t write or create the content I need to create for the projects I’m working on, so I procrastinate.
I start eating more sugar and chocolate, and I stop cooking healthy food (who has time for that). The procrastination then causes me more guilt, and before I know it the most productive week of the year has crashed into the least productive week of the century, all the while I continue to feel overwhelmed, panicked, and guilty.
I recognise the pattern, yet I keep doing it over and over again. I still haven’t learnt.
Eventually I reach the bottom of the wave and realise that shit has gotten dire.
I realise I need to pick myself up again and start doing all the things I know I need to keep myself stable, balanced and inspired:
- Meditating at least once a day.
- Yoga a few times a week.
- Getting outside and going for a run.
- Taking time to rest, read (away from screens), and do things I love.
- Eating proper food – lots of vegetables and not lots of sugar.
- Writing a few things that I’m grateful for each day.
- Seeing friends in manageable timeframes.
- Cutting down on erratic dating.
- Focussing on the most important projects and accepting that everything else can wait.
- Working on becoming more mindful again so that my laundry doesn’t go mouldy in the washing machine.
Life goes in cycles, this is the way it works.
Just like we wouldn’t appreciate the blue sky without the clouds, we can’t appreciate the highs without the lows.
So let this be your reminder:
If you’re at the peak of the wave,
packing your life full of Things and Stuff, calm that shit down before it gets out of hand. Don’t forget to do the things you need to keep yourself in balance.
If you’re at the trough of the wave,
feeling uninspired or overwhelmed, remind yourself that it’s just a wave. A peak always follows a trough; you’ll be on the up as soon as you decide to be. Have a think about the things you know that keep you balanced, (or use my list), and go and do them, no matter how much you feel like resisting.
If you’re thinking, what the hell, what peak?
– how do I get to this peak you speak of? – Check this out.
Life is full of highs and lows. I can show you to take the midline up a few notches so that your new lows are your old highs, and your new highs are just fucking awesome.
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