A couple of weeks ago an article I wrote was published in The Huffington Post. Although the article was written to help the overwhelmed working woman cope with life, the six life practices I included in the article can help the stay-at-home mom, the working man, and the stay-at-home dad. Actually, these practices can help just about anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or a little out of balance in life.
6 Life Practices for the Overwhelmed Woman (From my Huffington Post article, Helping the Overwhelmed Working Woman Put Down Her Super Cape)
Get in touch with your emotions and know they are temporary.
When you are in a deep dark place, you may feel like you will never experience joy again. It is important to remember that life ebbs and flows, and you will not feel like this forever. You may even feel a little bit better after a walk, a shower, a talk with a friend, or a good night’s sleep. Yes, it may take longer than that to feel better, but if you allow yourself to feel your feelings without putting a harsh judgment on them, and you allow yourself to share your pain with a trusted friend, you will eventually feel better. Time really does heal if you allow yourself to feel.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
(From my book, The Snowball Effect: How to Build Positive Momentum in Your Life) Comparing yourself to others is not a true comparison. We are comparing what we know about ourselves on the inside- our fears, insecurities, vulnerabilities, past mistakes, and shortcomings- to our perceptions of others. We haven’t walked in their footsteps; we have not experienced their experiences. We are comparing ourselves to some fantasy of what we perceive them to be. When we compare ourselves to others, we also have a tendency to compare what we perceive as our limitations to their perceived strengths. We lose sight of the fact that we may have strengths in areas where they are more limited. If we want to move forward in life, it is important that we maximize our strengths, accept or strengthen our limitations, and appreciate our individuality.
Focus on progress not perfection.
If we have to be perfect to be happy, we will never be happy. Remembering that no human is perfect can help us celebrate our progress. Instead of viewing mistakes as failures, view them as learning opportunities. We must realize that we cannot please everyone and trying to do so will leave us miserable and empty. What we can focus on is letting some things go and recognizing our progress in areas that matter most. Letting go of superwoman doesn’t make us a failure. It actually restores our energy for the things that truly matter.
Identify values and make behaviors match.
When life gets busy and stress gets high, it is easy to forget what really matters. We must have some quiet soul-searching self-reflection time so that we can identify what it is we really value and make sure we are living with integrity. Living with integrity brings peace and will prevent a lot of regret. We cannot be everything to everyone, so what can we do? Ask yourself, “What kind of legacy do I want to create?” “What really is important?” Life is short, and one day you will ask yourself, “What did I do with it?” Let that lead you. Avoid putting the things you value most on the backburner. Remember, today you are making memories. What kind of memories do you want to create? Does your lifestyle reflect what matters most?
When your gas tank is empty you have nothing left to give. Treat yourself like you would treat a small child or someone you love. Carve out time for you. You will be a more effective woman both personally and professionally if you take care of you. Exercise, seek support from trusted others, ask for help, keep up with your doctor’s appointments, eat healthy foods, get enough rest, and stop putting yourself down! Treat yourself well. You are worth it!
Create realistic expectations.
You must create realistic expectations and know that the superwomen out there eventually get sick. They may be able to keep up with their superwoman schedule for a little while, but eventually they suffer emotionally, physically, and spiritually. All of a sudden (but usually not very sudden at all) depression and anxiety become superwoman’s kryptonite. Eventually her immune system becomes compromised, and she becomes seriously ill. It usually takes some kind of crisis to get superwoman to take off her cape and realize that she has always been good enough…even without superpowers.
To read the entire article as seen in The Huffington Post, click here. The original post includes the story of Maria (not her real name), one of my clients who learned how to put down the super cape and find balance in life.