Overwhelmed and stretched too thin?
I was hoping that was a thing of the pre-pandemic days. But alas, I think we’re coping with new stress that we’re not sure how to handle.
I recently found myself talking to my own therapist about this. “I’m stretched too thing but I’m not sure where to make a change in my schedule or my life.” Between the kids back in school and trying to find time for myself, all while holding space for others to unload their stress–it can feel like a lot. It’s true that the time we were closed and I was with my family virtual schooling and taking care of my dad who eventually passed, I figured out a lot about what wasn’t working in the ‘before times.’ And I’m grateful for that reprieve so I could restructure things to be a better mom and a better massage therapist for my clients that I hold so dear. With all of my restructuring and mindful planning, why am I still feeling stretched?
And many of you are telling me the same thing.
I have some theories on why this is happening but more importantly what should we do about it? This has been really helping for me but it may not work for you. Keep in mind, I’m a super visual person so I jive with guided imagery and creating places with my imagination that I can store what is not needed in the moment.
Let me paint a picture for you…
We can easily get wrapped up in our thoughts about what is dragging us down… Covid, masks, politics, health, social distancing, etc etc… The list goes on. Then we add in normal stuff like kids, soccer practice, and work. And something that some people really value and some people don’t completely understand, time for yourself. Oh, and nurture your friendships and your relationship (if you have one).
Time for yourself means that you have time to do things that nourish you soul and doesn’t have to give anything to anyone else. Sometimes people think this is taking up a hobby (and it can be) and sometimes it can be more simple. Like reading a book or participating in a ritual. I think rituals can be a great way to add in something you can expect and enjoy. And it doesn’t have to be elaborate.
One ritual that I attempt to do everyday (& I succeed most days) is making a cup of tea after my kids go to sleep. Sometimes I’m tired and I just want to sleep and other times I have other things to catch up on and that’s ok because I can bring my tea with me. For me, tea doesn’t always equate to hot beverage + reading a book + cozied up in my favorite room. Nope, it’s the act of preparing and expecting something delicious to hit my tongue.
This is what works for me. You may find something else is better for you.
The idea of containers…
This seems so simple but can be so profound. I imagine that I am putting away the stress/work/drama/story into a container. I picture a wall of shoe boxes with labels. I make sure I put away my “story” before moving onto the next.
For example, I am the executor of my families estate and if you’ve ever had to do that, it is not easy no matter how prepared or simple the process is. I would ‘open the box’ then ‘put away the box.’ And it was the only thing that made me feel like I could truly put it away.
I want to mention this is the proverbial box and I don’t have a real wall of shoe boxes with labels. But hopefully you get my drift. Create a box for work, for school work, for kids stuff, for whatever you need in your life.
And open one box at a time–if it’s possible.
Stress feels like a butterfly getting stuck in gooey, heavy slime. (graphic enough?) The butterfly can’t fly when weighed down by such ick. When things get really stressful, I imagine a spray of oil all over the wings and a careful hand to massage and sooth each fiber of the wings. Phew, I already feel better for that butterfly. Not only is the butterfly wings free but the butterfly received some tender care to such powerful wings.
I could make a connection to massage here with my butterfly imagery but I think you can figure that out for yourself. 😉
Stress shouldn’t be experienced alone. Get on our table to let go of whatever you’re carrying around.