I’m learning that health is more than eating nutrient dense food and staying active. Much more. Stress is a major threat to our health—physical as well as mental. The tricky thing about stress is we often feel stuck with no way out of the stressful situation. There are, however some streps we can take to prevent burnout and the health issues that follow.
Stop letting perfectionism hinder you.
I’m not going to say “perfectionism is bad,” or “stop being a perfectionist,” because it’s not innately bad. Perfectionism is literally a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable. (dictionary.com) When this mindset leads us to adopt an “all or nothing” approach to everything we attempt, it leads to burnout, overwhelm, procrastination, and feelings of failure.
The all or nothing approach can be hard to set aside. We see it in diet culture, the “hustle mentality”, and even stay at home mom pressures to be “Pinterest-perfect”. We can over come this mindset by taking imperfect action towards our goals rather than expecting perfection in the very beginning. Even the Bible says “better is the end of a thing than the beginning.”
Learn to take things slower.
We live in a fast paced modern world and are conditioned to think “the faster the better.” While it’s valuable to be efficient, creating burnout is counter productive. When we make a plan, we can learn to set a realistic time frame instead of an ideal time line.
FlyLady, Marla Cilley says this:
Your home didn’t get cluttered in a day, it won’t get clean in a day.Sink Reflections, Marla Cilley
Learn to use a planner, time blocking, and schedules. As you plan your days, you’ll have days that you don’t finish your to do list. You will find the sweet spot for you and your schedule if you pay attention to this. Learn what your pace is then you can push it occasionally. If you are always pushing your limit however, you will burn out!
Identify your priority.
Too often we get distracted by things we believe are priorities. The literal definition of priority is the quality or state of being prior. (Merriam-Webster) Only one thing can truly be first, or a priority, at one time, so why do we make a list of priorities? It is important to realize that these are actually secondary to your first and only real priority.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;Mica 6:8
and what doth the LORD require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?
As Christians we have one priority and that is to live for God. This may not seem very helpful in managing your time, but it is. When we keep this priority before us, it will help us to eliminate many many distractions and unhealthy habits, and pressure from others.
I often struggle with at least one of these, therefore keeping my Christian life as a priority also helps me release feelings of overwhelm because I can realize that some things really don’t matter eternally. Take a moment right now and write down the things that are nagging at you and overwhelming you. How many of them can you cross off because they are distracting you from your one priority?
After we have our priority established, yes, we can think about secondary focuses, like serving our family, or even more specific tasks like washing the dishes. But even as we look at our specific tasks, we must realize that we can only do one thing at one time.
List next action steps.
I have so many ideas for sewing projects, home organization, gardening, etc. If it’s left up to me, I would start a dozen projects and not get any of them done! What has been helpful for me is to write my ideas down and get them on paper.
Writing projects down and even planning the first action steps is helpful because it gets it out of on brain and on paper. This is rewarding to our brain (almost as if we have actually finished the project!) Now you can plan a time to start based on your schedule. You have also broken it down into steps so it no longer takes a huge chunk of time because you can work on it a few minutes at a time if you need to! Just don’t start another project before your first one is done or you may never finish!
It is helpful to have one place to write everything down, whether it is in a notebook, on your phone, or in a planner, make sure it is someplace you can easily refer to, remember, and edit.
Start by writing everything down, then break every job or project into smaller steps.
- Paint the kitchen wall
- Buy or locate brushes
- Move the fridge
- Wash the wall
- paint the wall
Don’t try to change everything at once.
One thing I have learned from Flylady is baby steps in habit making. There is also a theory called micro habits. The theory is that if you commit to doing one small thing every day, it will encouraged you to complete even larger goals. What if you decided you were going to go outside every day for 5 min. Your goal might be to spend more time outside, but the time it takes to stop everything and go outside has been holding you back. The habit of going outside for 5 min every day makes it less overwhelming, and therefore more likely to be accomplished. More often than not, that 5 minutes turns into 15-30 minutes because you already overcame the main hurtle (getting outside).
In the same way, a shiny sink turns into a clean kitchen, and a clean kitchen turns into a clean house.
So go ahead. Set a goal and get started with a micro habit AKA one baby step!
Besides decluttering our todo list, many of us need to declutter our homes. Have you realized that everything in your home is a silent to do list? Own a lamp? You’ll have to dust it and replace the bulb sometime. Kitchen gadgets? They have to be washed , dried and put away. Furniture? They have to be cleaned under, vacuumed or dusted. The fewer things we own, the shorter our to to list naturally becomes!
Are your goals your own?
Often times we can too easily let other people create our goals for us. “Lose 10 pounds in one month.” “Make $10,000/mo from home.” “homeschool in just one hour a day.” “Declutter your whole house in 2 weeks.” Or the ambiguous ones like “cut your grocery bill in half.” I could go on. These aren’t bad goals, but are they your goals? And more importantly, are they competing goals that will cause time and energy conflict if attempted all at once?
To find goals that are right for you, I suggest doing a couple simple exercises. The first is to think about your 100-year goal. Write down the kind of legacy you want to leave for your great-grandchildren. From there, consider long term goals of 5-10 years before making yearly and quarterly goals.Secondly, for creating quarterly goals, you can use the “level 10 life” exercise talked about in The Miracle Morning. Rate yourself in 10 different areas of life and think about what your level 10 life would look like.
These are the 10 categories that work for me
- Spiritual growth
- Health and wellness
- Family life
- Friends and network
- Physical environment
- Personal development
Whether you choose one or all of these approaches, I hope you find a way to lessen to overwhelm in your life. God doesn’t want us weighted down by this world. Pray about it and let Him direct you into a free, fulfilling life!