A client recently sent me a note telling me they were drowning. I knew they had a lot of responsibilities, many balls in air to juggle. I offered them an option, perhaps they could consider flipping over on their back and floating. What does this mean? It means that the ability to recognize when we are, (drowning, floating or swimming) might help us either sustain if we are swimming or flip over to float if we are indeed drowning. This analogy is where we find ourselves daily, hourly and sometimes minute to minute.
Below are some tips meant as a triage to help you identify where you are and where you want to go.
Drowning: When I feel like I am drowning a couple of things may be occurring; I am trying to do too much and or I have unrealistic expectations of what I or others can do in the moment.
- Stop, take a breath and name what I am feeling, overwhelmed, drowning, exhausted. Being able to identify what phase I am in helps to address it and put it in perspective.
- Prioritize 2-3 needs and let the rest go. Let go of expectations on what I think should matter or get done.
- Do something physical to in order to help letting go, a short walk, yoga, cleaning out a drawer… do some small act that will allow a mental shift or restart.
- Flip over and float with the sole purpose of keeping my head above water and just do the top 2-3 priorities until I feel ready for more.
Floating: Here I am maintaining and catching my breath. I am not making headway or progress in areas. I have prioritized wellness, quality of work, and life over unrealistic expectations from myself or others in this moment.
- Take deep belly breaths in order to unlock all of my brain from the fight, flight or freeze mode. I make better decisions and choices when calm and thoughtful.
- Maintain keeping my head above water and assess where I am and what really is important. What are my wants and needs? Be clear on the differences between them.
- Rest, replenish and plan when is a good time to test the waters and swim for small distances building endurance. Then try it, always returning to float to rest and replenish.
Swim: This is when I am moving in a direction I desire; I am making gradual progress toward a goal. I feel stable and competent in my direction and the ability to right myself when things go wrong.
- Focus on what I have control over even if it is my reaction to the world around me. I am responsible for my actions and words, so by taking time to consider them thoughtfully is important.
- Pace myself in a realistic way by assessing the external and internal conditions that are present. Take control of my direction, action, choices and speed.
- Understand what is mine to fix and what is someone else’s. Enabling others undermines them. We all have our own individual course and each of us has choice to act or not. Know that not choosing is also a choice.
Remembering to check-in with ourselves all day, every day on where we are allows us agency over our lives through conscious choice. Putting our head down and plowing through our days, months or years invites dysfunction. In doing that we chance making ourselves ill, damaging valued relationships and our reputation. If we don’t pay attention to where and how we are, we can’t get to where we want to go. Changing a small thing can net big results, you know this to be true if you have ever tried to go to sleep with a mosquito in your bedroom. – Kyra
For more information about my coaching go to Trueroadtraveler.com.