My Top Tips For Managing Overwhelm

“That’s your solution? Have a cookie?’ Astrid asked. ‘No, my solution is to run down to the beach and hide out until this is all over,’ Sam said. ‘But a cookie never hurts.” 
~ Michael Grant

Goodness, lovelies, my inbox is FULL of messages from those of you who are majorly stuck in overwhelm right now. It’s a space I am well acquainted with, and as much as I would like to say that with maturity has come the capacity to not succumb, the truth is that I sometimes still move into overwhelm too. So I figure it’s not whether you’ll ever find yourself in overwhelm but when!

Here are my top ten tips for managing myself when I get into overwhelm. I hope you find them useful too.

1.Check my energy levels. Am I exhausted? Dehydrated? Are my blood sugar levels low? Can it be as simple as that? Yes! Sometimes what I need is to chug some water, eat a decent meal and have a good long sleep. Things usually look more manageable after that.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

2. Go for a walk in nature. Walking clears the head, oxygenates the body and helps ground me back into my self.

3. Take a break. Sometimes I just need to step back from my desk or project and disengage for a while. This refreshes and renews me, and is often enough to help me find my flow again.

4. Clutter really contributes to my sense of overwhelm. When things get on top of me I clean my desk, clean my house, put a load of washing on, clean out the fridge, take out the trash, vacuum, diffuse a favourite essential oil. As things move from visual chaos back to calm it helps me find the peace within myself too. Plus it is giving me a much-needed break from my workload or emotional burden and I get the benefit of satisfaction for having cleaned up after myself.

5. I take an hour or two and write down EVERYTHING that needs doing. Even the act of writing it down helps pull it back into some kind of manageable shape for me. It’s always better when I have gotten it out of my head and onto a list.

6. I pick one small thing from my to-do list. I do that thing and I don’t start a new thing until this first thing is done. There is a lot of satisfaction to be gained from actually completing something.

7. I chunk big scary goals or projects down into bite-sized tasks. Then I do those tasks one after another. Anywhere I can I delegate whatever is possible to delegate so I am working on the things that only I can do.

8. I make sure I have time for me to do things that fill me up and make my heart sing. Sunday is always a day off and planning day and I don’t compromise that for anything. Working madly 24/7 will only burn me out and create resistance and resentment.

9. Talk with a mentor, coach or friend. Someone who has walked the road ahead of me can often give me a new perspective and some handy tips. Why reinvent the wheel?

Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash

10. Believe that I WILL get it done, and manage my expectation so that I am not unrealistic about getting a gazillion things done in one day!

Photo by Katrina on Unsplash

I’m cheering you on. Lots of love, Nicole ❤ xx

Just Breathe – It’s a Magical Superpower

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

the next time you want to scream
the next time you want to cry
the next time you feel all alone
the next time the pain is unbearable
the next time life is squeezing you so hard it hurts
the next time you have no idea what to say, what to do, what to feel
the next time you are ready to give up

take a breath

there is space within that breath
there is room to move
time to think
and the way you tap into that is to slow down and
take a conscious breath
and let that breath be your entire focus

take another if you need it

feel it calm you and return you to your centre
let the energy of your breath gather all your scattered pieces back together
let it gather your strength

while there is breath in your body there is power
to overcome, to go on, to find your way

I love you. Don’t give up.
Nicole ❤ xx

Refuelling Your Soul

“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.” ~ Caroline Myss

Feeling tired, flat or a bit lost? That’s okay – I have some tips to help you manage that.

Or perhaps it’s worse than a little fatigue. Maybe you feel utterly smashed by life right now. My advice is still going to be the same. There are three steps to follow.

  1. Find some quiet time. Here are some of my favourite ways to do that:
  • Take a long country drive somewhere, or sit on your commute with some headphones on.
  • Go for a walk or a run or a bike ride or a swim
  • Try some yoga or stretching
  • Make a cup of tea and sit on the balcony, or on a comfy sofa
  • Find a quiet cafe and grab your favourite brew and sit in a quiet corner.
  • Hang out in a library
  • Close the bedroom door and light some incense or diffuse some essential oils
  • Take a long shower or bath
  • Get up early, while everyone is asleep and you can have the house to yourself
  • Water the garden
  • Sit on a swing and then… swing!
  • Take an early mark from work
  • Go find a lookout with a view – views help put everything in perspective

2. Allow yourself to relax. Slow your breathing or, if you are exercising, get it into a steady rhythm. Let the tension unwind from your muscles and consciously relax yourself. Really feel yourself soften and calm. This might take a while if you’re stressed. That’s okay. Take as long as you need.

3. Feel into what you need most right now in order to refill your empty tanks and boost your energy levels, resilience and inner peace. Trust that you already hold that wisdom inside you. Ask yourself the question, ‘What do I most need to come back into balance know right now?’ Explore it via your imagination, in meditation or through journalling or writing. Let clarity come to you in the form of ideas, thoughts, images and feelings. You may also want to pull an oracle or tarot card to give you further inspiration.

Commit to using this wisdom to gently transform your life.

Thinking of you and sending much love, Nicole ❤️ xx

Wednesday Blessings

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“When people refer to ‘Back in the Day,’ it was a Wednesday. Just a little fun fact for you.” ~ Dane Cook

It’s been a rough ride this past week or so. That’s why I’ve decided to gift myself an ordinary Wednesday!

There’s a gentle rain falling, and I started my day by staying in bed, listening to the morning birdsong and the sound of rain on the tin roof.

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Now I’m sipping lemon tea and blogging, before the day unfolds.

There will be writing this morning, early, at one of our favourite cafes in Bangalow.

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And then a morning of craft, catch-ups, cups of tea and friendship at my local CWA. (Country Women’s Association for those of you not in the know)  Lunch will be shared at the craft tables, and there will be plenty of laughter, chatting and moral support.

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Home for a nap and then some time in the garden, and tonight I’ll be cooking a lamb roast and a lemon delicious pudding for dinner, and inviting an elderly friend around, whose wife has recently gone into care.

I’ll finish off with a long soak in the bath, some meditation time, and then hopefully a restful night’s sleep.

For me it’s a day of rich blessings, of celebrating the ordinary, connecting with people I love, and taking some time just for me.  You can’t ask for more than that.

I hope you get to spend a little time doing things that fill you up too.  Much love, Nicole ♥ xx

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A Room of One’s Own…

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Thank you, Virginia, for that most valuable of advice.

When I was younger her quote didn’t make much sense – weren’t women independent now, didn’t we have the vote, weren’t we emancipated and equal and couldn’t we Have It All?

A room? Goddam it Virginia, I’m a modern woman. I can buy myself a whole house if I like. Don’t need a man for that.  Don’t need permission. Money? I can earn my own!

Foolishly, I thought that being a child of a new generation meant that Ms Woolf’s wisdom didn’t apply to me. But it is so much more relevant than I had realised.  Being part of the generation of ‘We Can Have It All’ means that most of us don’t have the time or the energy for that room, and all our money is allocated to mortgages and other grown-up responsibilities.  Dreams are relegated to the dusty recesses of our minds, or that mythical ‘one day…’ place.

But I was pondering this morning the healing value of having a corner of life just for yourself and your own interests. A little time for which you didn’t need to account to anyone, and a little cash for the requisites to fill that corner. Same same, as they say in Thailand. Virginia, you really were onto something!

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My corner is a movable place, populated by my Macbook (which I purchased just so I could use the Scrivener program), some notebooks, a pencil case, index cards and pocket money for lattes, snacks and photocopying.

I might lie in bed and write, or duck out to the local coffee shop. I have written on trains, planes, verandas, decks of boats, under trees, hotel rooms, in my car, and many other locations – which is why my ‘corner’ is portable.

I also have a Tibetan Prayer Bowl, a journal, some crystals, a deck of Tarot cards and a few other bits and pieces for my Spiritual Grab Bag. Same same, only different to my Mac Bag. See what I mean?

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We don’t need grand gestures to get started on what’s important to us. We can have our ‘room’ by creating little windows of time, a small basket of tools or accessories, accompanied by the jingle of just a little loose change in our pockets.

So what’s your thing? What gives your life meaning and pleasure? What fills you up?

We all need a room of our own, a few dollars to be spent as we so choose, and the emotional luxury and freedom that this affords us.

2013 is almost upon us. I’m gently encouraging you to create a small corner in life just for you and your dreams.  One you can visit often, even if only for the briefest of times from week to week.

Wonderful new directions, satisfactions and accomplishment can be had by giving yourself a little breathing space.

Go on. I dare you!

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Who Doesn’t Love a Road Trip?

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.”

~ Anatole France

By the time you read this I’ll be out on the road.  Me, my husband, our trusty old ute…  Who doesn’t love a road trip?

This trip is timely for me after a big few weeks of life at its most unrelenting.

First an unexpected illness -reminding me of my vulnerability, then my Nana’s slow march towards the end of her days, my spiritual retreat and all of my students to look after, a birthday, family stuff, other people’s stuff, a business to run, a farm to run, a weekend workshop intensive with some of my business mentors, and out of the blue the death of an old friend who took her own life after a long battle with depression.

Breathe in, breathe out.  Life.  Wow, what a ride!

So, a road trip for me…

 

Just a few days of wandering along country roads, smelling the fresh air, standing on the earth and reconnecting with myself and my beloved man.

Along the way we’ll pick up my windmill, which Ben gave me as a birthday gift, and which is still sitting on someone else’s farm. Along the way I’ll gather myself back together.  Along the way I’ll say goodbye to my friend.  Along the way I’ll find life’s rhythm again.

Who doesn’t love a road trip? Time for talking, and for just watching the world slide by. Little towns to explore, new bakeries to try, treasures to find, adventures to be had.

And something else.  No office phone.  No internet.  No desk calling me to sit down and catch up on all my work (and trust me, I am WAY behind…). Time for me. Heart-healingly spacious time for breathing and feeling and just BEing in the moment.

If my iphone works, I’ll blog you an update. Otherwise you’ll just have to settle for me toasting your good health at the local pub.  Bless ♥ xx

Too Busy? Relax!

Image from blogs.monash.edu

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.  ~ Attributed to both Jim Goodwin and Sydney J. Harris

We’re coming into a weekend, and I have a mile long list of things that still need to get done.

So, I should be doing them. Right?

Well, actually…  No!

I’m tired. It’s been a crazy week. Truth be told I’m about as sharp as a beach ball right now. So instead of stressing about all that work, I’m going to take the day off. Maybe I’ll get a massage.  Maybe I’ll go the movies.  Maybe I’ll curl up with a book.

But one thing’s for sure, I’m giving myself a mini-vacation; a mental health break if you will. Having once been the Queen of Burnout I recognise that when life is this busy, I need to take a break so I don’t end up broken.

The work will wait.  And when I come back I’ll be refreshed and my approach will be entirely different. There’s a great power in relaxation, a power to heal, to restore, to calm and renew.

When you are way too busy to take the time to relax, that’s always when you need to relax the most! Even if it’s just a few minutes of breathing while you’re seated at your desk at work.

 

You might also like to read these related posts:

Emotions and Their Impact on Your Health

Doing Nothing is Productive

Nothing Grows Well in Depleted Soil

Drinking in Colour – How to Do a Healing Walk

Bert says sorry…

Hello, I’m Bert, Nicole’s trusty secretary…

And I’d like to say sorry.

 

You see Nicole wouldn’t play with me this morning.

I tried my best to look fetching, but she kept ignoring me.

I even tried emotional manipulation…

But she was still ignoring me!

When she went to do her yoga stretches that was the final straw.  I sat on her mat in protest!

So now she’s taking me for a walk instead of writing her blog. Sorry about that! hahaha

I’m taking my ball and my mum and I’m outta here. Bye! xx