08 Feb 2019
There’s too much to do.
There’s not enough time.
I’m letting others down.
I haven’t done enough.
It won’t be perfect.
I should be doing…
As a health practitioner, I serve as a role model, coach, and example to my clients and peers at school. I love my career with a fierce passion, but I too feel a great deal of pressure to be the perfect all the time. I strive to be a shining example for my clients but feel immense amounts of guilt if I fall off track or am unable to practice what I am recommending to others.
I might be a recovered anorexic and binge/emotional eater, however, I am still a recovering workaholic and perfectionist. The eating disorder days are long gone, but the battle of perfectionism and feelings of overwhelm has quickly taken its place. I’m embarrassed, to be honest, and put it out there that I struggle with self-confidence and anxiety. Why? Because it’s not the put together and polished image that I want to put out to the world. I want people to think that I have it all together and believe that stress is something that I only face around the Christmas season. But that would be the farthest thing from the truth.
Maybe you’re just like me, but have a plate full of different commitments. Instead of trying to balance school, you might be balancing work, relationships, friendship, getting to the gym, running all of the errands on the planet, a sick parent, carpools, groceries, walking the dog….the list could go on forever.
With so many to-do’s and tasks being added to our overflowing plate, it’s easy to get to the point where you feel like you are going to break or crash. Exhaustion hits you and you collapse on the couch and your brain starts to play the laundry list of items that you still have to accomplish like a broken record.
Between trying to manage school, building a business, exercising, eating healthy, maintaining a social life and living in two different cities, I need my L-Theanine. I need it in those moments when I frustrated that I didn’t dedicate enough time to my studies, when I miss a workout, when I open my email and see the hundreds I need to respond to, and I especially need it before an exam. When I start to question if I can balance all that I am doing and worry that it’s not enough, I take a moment to myself, grab my bottle of L-Theanine and breathe.
Often times we overwhelm ourselves with believing that everything needs to be done immediately. We add to our to-do lists as the day goes on because we believe that the more we do, the more valuable or worthy that we are. I wear busy like a badge of honor and feel like I had an “unproductive day” if I didn’t drive across the city, meet with clients, photograph content for social media and get in a workout.
We can’t do it all, but what we can do is our best. Take a moment for yourself to sit down with a piece of paper and do a brain dump. Write everything that you feel like you need to do - the people you need to contact, upcoming deadlines, important events, cleaning your car, returning the shirt you bought a few weeks ago. All of it. From that list, pick three (and only three!) projects that you want to focus on that would give you the greatest sense of accomplishment and reduce your stress and anxiety levels the most.
But what about the rest? Filter them into 3 categories - should do, nice to do, and don’t need to. You’ll be amazed at what you can take off your plate and ask for some help from others with to lighten your load.
It sounds simple, but during these moments of absolute overwhelm and feelings of frustration, it will help you recentre your attention and remind you to spend time on the projects that bring you the most joy and excitement.
We are all doing our best and that is more than anyone could ever ask for. So you didn’t make it to the gym today. But maybe you chose to take the stairs instead of the elevator and parked a few blocks away from the hockey arena where you cheered on your daughter in her first game. Those are the wins we need to celebrate. Checkmarks beside a list of to-dos does not determine your worth. You are priceless. And don’t you dare let anyone else tell you differently.
So, the next time you feel like you are drowning in a never-ending list of to-do’s, breathe. Everything that needs to get done, will get done exactly as it needs to.
Now the only hard part is deciding what tasks are worthy of your precious time.
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