For some people, debilitating anxiety and panic can set in quickly if you don’t do a good job of managing your commitments. You have to make choices and learn to say no sometimes or you WILL become overwhelmed by everything. Saying yes, yes, yes to everything (even if they are great things) will create a calendar that is chock full, and a mind that is frenzied and overwhelmed. Know that you have options, which we will discuss below, and that you never have to experience panic and anxiety again.
To illustrate my point, I’d like to tell a quick story about one business owner I know. She is currently working with several amazing clients, completing an advanced degree, and trying to live a life that includes love and connection with her friends and family, and her fiancé. She is also trying to eat healthy and exercise. She also volunteers several hours per week, and makes time to run her dogs, and keep her house clean. She also gets regular requests from many charities and organizations who need her help.
Oh, she’s also trying to change the world by giving children more choices—children that come from homes of abuse, poverty, addiction, and other negative situations. She gives several hours per week, and thousands of dollars per month, with a goal of giving $100,000 in 2018.
This is her WHY. This is what DRIVES HER TO FILL HER CALENDAR with things that will help her to continue to make the contributions she needs to, for those children. Those children deserve the chance to be anything they want to be, and she’s determined to give it to as many of them as possible.
Last week she was trying to confirm her booking for a hotel where she had to stay in Toronto for a critical school project and although, like a good girl, she booked her room two months early they lost her reservation. Now she has to pay almost twice as much for her stay. On top of this, she’s got a homework assignment that has just been “rejected” by her professor (who does have her best interests in mind) which she had to rewrite by the weekend. Oh, and she’s also got four hours a day of group work, and another long applied project paper due as well. And then there’s all the work commitments for her business. And her fiancé wants some dinner. And the house is a mess. And she can’t seem to breathe deeply… Now she can’t breathe at all and starts to cry uncontrollably. She looks at her calendar, through sobs, and asks God for help. “I can’t do it,” she cries. “I can’t do it.”
She had over-committed and was having a full-on panic attack as a result!
It IS possible for her to do it—all of it—just not all at once. This is where managing her commitments becomes so important.
After praying, when she was at her wit’s end, she made the difficult decision to cancel three major commitments and although she felt so much guilt about not keeping her word, she found the time to complete her assignment, and her group work, and keep up on the final paper. Her fiancé had to find his own dinner and walk the dogs, though.
This kind of anxiety-inducing overload can be prevented in the future by following some important guidelines:
- Don’t totally fill up every hour of your calendar! You need BREAKS! You need REST! PUT THESE IN YOUR CALENDAR, and treat them just like any other important meeting in your calendar. It is absolutely crucial. You need to schedule time to eat healthy and exercise, as these are great stress reducers. You need to ASK FOR HELP (God, friends, family, universe, counsellor, parents, etc.).
- Once you make a difficult decision to NOT do something, let it go. Don’t spend days feeling guilty and therefore being less productive and effective at the thing you DID choose to do!
- Remind yourself who you’re doing this for, and why they need you to do it.
- DAILY, remind yourself of your WHY. For this lady, her why is to show kids (one in particular) that you CAN do it all, you CAN do everything and anything you want to, and it DOES NOT MATTER who your parents are or if people tell you you can’t. YES YOU CAN. Choices for children. That’s how she keeps going. For this reason, this priority stays at the very top of the list at all times and is fulfilled even when it means something else needs to be rescheduled.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint—you have to pace yourself! Your body will start to give you subtle signs when you’re getting stressed out. If you don’t recognize them—or try to pretend they aren’t happening—the signs will get stronger and harder to ignore until one day you just break down.
Some signs to look for include headaches, tight and sore muscles, irritability, lack of focus, troubling sleeping, racing thoughts and more. Stress, anxiety and panic can set in during many different settings, and they can completely disrupt your life and your relationships. Pay attention to those signs and manage your stressors, before it gets out of hand.
If you feel you are ready to make some positive changes to your life, contact TMH Business Coaching today for a confidential, free, no obligation consultation to propel you forward. Also, please feel free to add yourself to our weekly coaching tips email!