Every once in a while, we must “disappear” for a time. Or at least we should . . . anyone who tries to maintain all the little working parts of their lives when the big unexpecteds show up is going to drive themselves to an early stress grave.
Sometimes we face crises (my heart goes out to the families of all those firefighters who died in Arizona), sometimes we change jobs, sometimes we go on extended trips, sometimes we face physical ailments, sometimes we fall in love.
Sometimes all five at the same time.
Whenever this happens, if you’re like me and have to manage your own work schedule, and tend to take on a lot of different projects, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To stay healthy and sane, it’s best to assess all commitments (to yourself and others) and uncommit to what you can.
Without feeling guilty.
Many times it’s the commitments to ourselves we put aside (exercise, creativity, socializing). And we feel just as guilty for breaking commitments to ourselves as we do to breaking them with others. As a matter of fact, I bet those ones break our hearts just a little more, because we are putting aside our dreams.
I feel anxious when I’m not writing or editing. My stress level goes up. So, recently, when life threw me a series of curve balls, and I wasn’t writing or editing or even blogging, and I was overwhelmed with so many things on my plate, I made the decision to drop a few commitments I had made to others.
I chose the ones that I hadn’t started yet, so didn’t have much emotional investment in them. I was brief and honest when I told them they would need to find someone else. It was better than me sending excuse after excuse as to why I hadn’t finished yet and stringing them along. Really, it’s a win-win decision.
I felt lighter after I had told them. Immediately, that night, I started working on my book again for the first time in weeks. And here I am, able to blog again. The short bandaid rip of pain in communicating my inability to follow through on these things was worth it.
So, how do you face your own periods of overwhelm when you have them?