So suddenly Spring is upon us and I do mean suddenly…layers of insulation and warmth have been let go, only to be replaced by the warm sun and everyone out racing around enjoying every bit of it. Now you see all of the people emerge that you haven’t seen in, hmmm…that’s right, since Fall. People calling your name left and right, kids going to their outdoor sports, everyone at noisy cafes, gabbing on Facebook about Spring, Spring, Spring. It is a time of great change and it can be wonderfully overwhelming. Deaths, births, movings, finals or just adjusting to longer days, more time and the feeling of speed, speed, speed…I must, I must, I must.
During this time you can feel yourself being pulled in every direction. Deadlines are due. The plans we made during the winter are now coming to fruition. We are making decisions about many things in our lives…seemingly all at once. So here’s the thing..you are not alone in this..which is great, but it also means that the people that you come in contact with will not only be pulling on you but will be being pulled themselves. As we are springing forward into this glorious weather all of these components can work together in a way that makes us feel excited and overwhelmed.
When you are feeling overwhelmed and like your head is no longer attached to your body, check these:
1.Center: What do you do to center? Make sure you have some moments of stillness. Now I know you have infants, grandkids, grants, deadlines, classes to teach,attend, etc. but take 5-10 minutes to take 5-10 breaths in the morning to center. Technique: breath in and out of your nose. On your inhale count the length of the breath, on the exhale double the number. If your inhale count is 3, your exhale count will be 6. Your inhale will vary in length and count. The goal is to stretch out your breath, open your lungs fully in order to activate your Para-sympathetic nervous system, your sleep-calm response. For a more noticeable change practice this in the morning and evening and any time you feel as if you are moving too quickly or begin to feel anxious. This will slow your overall breath which moves you away from the shortened stress breathing that occurs when we feel stressed or anxious.
2.Urgency: There is a sense of urgency, must get done now, must move, change jobs, finish school, go to Haiti, now, now, now. No. You do not have to do everything at once. Stop for a moment. Get the facts. Really examine each piece of what you are trying to do. Does your child need to change schools this year, while you are moving out of your house and changing jobs? Do all of your colleagues have to consult with you all at the same time about their personal issues? Decide what needs to be done now and what you can let go of for now.
3.Pace: Move more slowly. As you feel more piling on at work, deadlines coming near, colleagues asking you to do more and more the tendency is to want to speak faster and move faster. Doing this does not mean that you actually get more done. More often you find yourself zipping around and around, feeling slightly crazy and at the very least exhausted. First slow your breath. Then pay attention to how fast you are speaking and moving. You can still accomplish a lot while breathing and speaking more slowly.
4. Multi-tasking, mono-tasking: Can you really multi-task? Is it really possible? This is why people come into my office thinking that they have ADD. And most of them don’t. We try to accomplish so many things at once that we become unfocused. Let your multi-tasking be turning on music and sitting on the couch. Opening a window, cleaning and singing as you work. Practice doing one and only one task at a time: sitting, eating, walking, or washing dishes. Concentrate on your task. The feeling of the water on your hands, the strength you need to turn the faucet on, the texture of the soap, the smoothness of the plate. You can ground yourself with this practice throughout the day.
5. Loosing Time: I luv a good techno high. Texting, social networking is fantastic. It’s a great short hand to the universe, the closeness of our pasts and present, our thumb on the pulse of the people we care about all at once. But do you ever get off whatever is your chosen techno-tool of the moment(or all 3 going at once) and feel as if you have lost hours? Well you have… because wherever you are, you are not here and that can make you feel a bit whoosoly and out of it. So watch your intake of the techno and spend some time here with us, with yourself.
6. Distance: When things begin to feel overwhelming try to get some distance. A change of scenery is always helpful. Take a bike ride, a walk, experience somewhere else or someone else other than what is involved in making you feel overwhelmed. This helps us with perspective. Sometimes we have thought as much as we can about the multiple things that are overwhelming us and we just need a break in order to see things differently.
So enjoy yourselves folks, it is so darn gorgeous out right now you just want to eat it. So do it, but try to do it at a pace that works for you. Watch your balance between downtime and up-time. Breath. Take the pressure off and do one thing at a time. Know that your decisions are what they are. And as my father says to me, “This decision, in the larger scheme of things isn’t going to make or break your life”. Have a great time springing forward instead of springing right out of your head.
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Psychobabble4u signing off:)
(c) Cori Grachek,: March, 2010
If you have any questions about therapy, are interested in therapy or just have a more private thought or question that you would like to share with me I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .