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What To Do When Overwhelm Takes Hold.

Do you fear success as much as you fear failure? Don't get caught in the self-sabotage trap! Click through for 5 ways to get through overwhelm like a breeze.

 

It seems like the older I get, the faster times goes.  I remember my dad saying that to me when I was younger and I thought he was craaaaazy!  Keep in mind, during those days I was lounging in front of the TV watching Josie and the Pussycats or the Brady Bunch; time seemed to stand still.

Fast forward to life as an adult and all of a sudden, moments fly by in a blur.  At this point in my life, I’m planning a wedding, settling into (and trying to decorate) our new home, getting ready for the holidays + in my spare time, launching my art business.  Let’s just say, there’s not a lot of down time.

In fact, there’s too many lists and too many tasks on those lists to check off.  All of the things I’m working on are so exciting!  And amazing!  And I’m not complaining (truly).  I’ve said it before–feeling overwhelmed comes from living a full life, so I try to appreciate the gift that come from feeling this way, too.

I just know that even in the fullest, most exciting moments of my life, I can feel overwhelmed  to the point of it almost ruining the experience.  So here are some tried and true ways I get beyond the fear.  Maybe they’ll help you, too:

  • Make a list.  I know, I know, I was just bashing lists but I’m talking about a big master list to work off of.  I need to know what I need to manage and if I don’t have the big picture, the overwhelm can seem so much worse than it really is.  Seeing everything in front of me puts it into perspective.
  • Break down the list into manageable tasks. For example: I’m not going to finish the big list in a day or maybe even a week, so I try to ration out tasks over a period of time so I can realistically get them done.  Jamming them into an unrealistic time frame only paralyzes me into not taking any action.  I recently made this handy schedule for myself and mapped out 2 days, hour by hour.  Holy Moley!  I was fascinated with how much more I got done when I broke it down into small steps.
  • Ask for help. Why do we think that we have to do it all, alone?  I’m a huge fan of reaching out and asking for expertise/tips from friends and family.  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and they’re usually pretty happy to help (I know I am when people ask me) so stop being the hero + ask for a hand.
  • Take a step back and evaluate the big picture.  Will this matter in a month? A year? etc.  Getting clear about what my intentions are, keeps me focused.  Overwhelm sometimes comes from the feeling that I’m not doing what I really want to be doing and I end up getting caught up in silly time wasters.  Remembering what my goals are helps me get back on track with what I’m actually excited to work towards.  And then the stress of it all shrinks.
  • Take time for self care.  Overwhelm comes in and sets up camp when I’m not eating right, exercising regularly or getting enough sleep.  So first things first, I have to make sure I’m taking care of my needs and then I can conquer the world–and my list.

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What To Do When Overwhelm Takes Hold.2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

When Was The Last Time You Did Something For The First Time?

When was the last time you did something for the first time?  Click through for some tips on how to get through first times like a breeze!

First times are exciting and new.

I saw this question about trying something for the first time on pinterest and it got me thinking about first times.  There’s something so precious + scary + fun about first times; I remembered my first time learning to drive a stick shift on my friend’s Geo Tracker when I was on vacation in Florida (Hello 90’s!).

The most I remember about that time is the patience he had shown me as the car was lurching + grinding forward; I learned a lot faster because he was kind.

First times are scary and intimidating.

I remember the first time I got the lead in a school play: It was a small yet important part (ok, I was a princess), but I was up against one of the prettiest girls in school.  I remember thinking I was just going to try my hardest and not think about my competition.  I was scared to try out so I was open to suggestions + I was willing to try what the director suggested; as a result, I got the part.  It felt like a new world of possibilities opened up from that–it was a good lesson in letting the fear go and taking risks.

First times are about being open and acknowledging what you don’t know.

I remember the first time I tried yoga–  I was coming off of a bad break up and I was desperate to feel something other than sadness.  That first class was extremely uncomfortable–I was sweating like a pig and my muscles were shaking to embarrassing levels–but something cracked open in me.   I finally got out of my head and I felt like in trying that new way of moving, I learned a new way to look at things.  Yoga brought me back to myself in a new way.

First times are a lot about trust + leaning in to that fear of newness. 

As we get older, first times get harder because we think we’re supposed to already know everything we need to know, but that leaves little room for growing + learning.  It doesn’t allow us to make mistakes.  We need to keep trying new things no matter how old we are, so that we learn more about who we are meant to be.

A few years ago, I started taking a formal painting class.  In the beginning, I felt awkward and uncoordinated.  I was almost embarrassed to go because everyone else was so much better than me but I wanted to make painting a part of my life terribly, so I kept showing up.  It reminded me to ignore the fear and focus on the benefit.  Now, here I am with my own shop of prints + products.

When trying something new, you don’t have to know how to do it or know the outcome–you just need to be willing. 

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Do you have thoughts about this you want to share?  Come on over and tell me!

When Was The Last Time You Did Something For The First Time?2018-03-29T20:23:14-04:00

House Construction + Weekly Links

Lately Around here

Chris closed on a house Friday so that means I closed on a house Friday, too!  We have some basic improvements to make before moving in, no major construction thank GOD (just putting up molding, painting, etc) but I wanted to post a few ‘before’ shots.  And I promise I will try not to become one of those home improvement blogs.  They are so fascinating to me, but man!  When do they have the time to do all of that?  And document it?  Sounds so overwhelming.

So here’s the living room, you can see the paint samples we were deciding between.  How do you pick?  There are about a zillion greys + tans + taupes + greiges to pick from.  And never mind that we are painting over a *ahem* lovely shade of mauve.

LR/DR

There was a little hangover wall between the kitchen and the den that we took down. (And don’t you just love the wallpaper in the kitchen?! Ugh.)

Den

After taking it down, you can see it really opens up the two rooms.  I can’t wait to see the finished product. (Hi Chris!)

Den after

And out on the back deck we have some visitors–three babies and a protective mama.  I felt like that was a good omen they are there, I’ll be sad when they leave.  I love watching the mama bring them worms all day!

bird family

I saw this caterpillar on the ground yesterday and it reminded me of a saying my mom always used to say–“Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.  By the yard, it’s hard.”  As I’m going through all of these changes, I’m trying to remember that simple mantra, to take life by the inch.

caterpillar

Link Love

Some of my favorite links around the web this week:

House Construction + Weekly Links2018-03-29T20:23:16-04:00

Is An Irrational Fear Zapping Your Joy?

A few years ago there was a bed bug infestation in the northeastern part of the US.  I know, eeeeewww.  There was so much coverage in the media, it was hard to miss: “Beware of the permanent visitor!  Bed bugs are coming to get you!!”   I admit,  I fell victim to the hype.

These little critters have always freaked me out.  From hearing the phrase as a child “don’t let the bed bugs bite!” to now as an adult witnessing the madness they bring, I cringed with each new story I heard about.  I especially hated this one: a friend of so-and-so got bed bugs, had their apartment fumigated and then a month later, they’re baaaack.

You are confined

It was strange; all of a sudden I became obsessive about checking where the bed bugs were concentrated, and I avoided those places at all costs.  This included crowded malls, movie theaters, New York City altogether and other dark busy venues (they don’t come out in light, after all).

I thought about them somewhat regularly; this little bug had taken over a small corner of my sanity.  And for those of you who don’t know me, I’m not an alarmist.  I’m an easy going girl, but I built my own crazy fort of fear.

It held me back in ways that I am almost too embarrassed to say.  I avoided going to the movies for two years (yes two years! And I love going to the movies!)  I panicked about staying in hotels because who knows who was there before me and what they brought with them?  I checked my own bed pretty regularly for any signs of infestation.  It was madness, I tell you.

It got me to thinking: was this a real fear?

When I dug deeper, I realized my fear was about those bugs taking over my apartment and not being able to get rid of them.  I realized it wasn’t so much about the bugs but it had more to do with my ability to take care of myself and fear of failure.

You see, I loved my apartment.  It was a one bedroom haven nestled on the third floor, surrounded by trees– a proverbial treehouse.  It was quiet, I had a loft and I could paint there.  It was easy to have friends over for drinks if I wanted to.  It represented everything I loved about my life–simplicity, joy and fun.  It gave me the space to explore, grow and become more myself.

As I looked at the situation from this point of view and realized it wasn’t about the bugs per se, but more about my fear of loss, I relaxed a little.  I began to see how absurd the whole thing looked, but acknowledged that it was a normal fear, just disguised by the bugs.  (It also made me more more compassionate towards those with OCD or anxiety disorders.  I can’t imagine the pain of living like that all of the time.)

So as I talked myself off of the ledge and rationalized that none of my friends or relatives had gotten bed bugs, that the haunting stories were always from the media + ‘people-who-knew-people’, I slowly let the fear dissipate.

I realized I had never even seen a bed bug in person.  My gripping fear now looked silly to me.

I saw how this pretty irrational fear was holding me back from living my life and from fully enjoying it.  I was worrying about a scenario that hadn’t happened and probably wouldn’t.  Can you relate?

To move forward, I used my fear as fuel.  I stopped looking at media about the critters.  If anyone started talking about them around me, I would change the conversation.  I stopped giving my energy away.  I sent love to my apartment and I tamed my monkey mind of obsession.  And you know what?  It worked.

Even if that bug fear pops up a little now and then in my psyche, I remind myself that it’s not about the bugs, it’s about being able to handle what life throws my way.  And I can handle it.

I stopped wasting time and energy on something that I couldn’t control + it has made all the difference.

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Is An Irrational Fear Zapping Your Joy?2018-03-29T20:23:20-04:00

The Secret to Happiness: Let Go Of These 5 Lame Beliefs. {Part 1}

let things go

As much as we try to deny it,  we all have those stories about our life that we tell over and over again. (I know I do!)  A lot of the time, those stories are of pain and heartache; they can feel so heavy sometimes.  We’re hoping that talking about it over and over will change the outcome, or things will just feel different the more we tell them.  It’s the wishful thinking that some magical solution will appear when we aren’t looking.

Telling the stories over and over doesn’t make them go away; in fact it does quite the opposite.  This type of thinking holds us back.  It delays our happiness; it reinforces the struggle and keeps those feelings alive and thriving in our mind.  Thankfully, there is a solution to this emotional merry-go-round, and it’s not as hard as you think.

What is it time to let it go of?

Let go of the idea that you’re going to get it together.  We’re constantly changing beings.  Nothing stays the same, that’s the beauty of stretching limits and growing in life.  The sooner you accept that you’re always going to have to make adjustments in your life and it won’t be wrapped in a pretty bow, the happier you’ll be.

Let go of needing someone or something to fix you.   That house, car, partner or kid is not going to make you feel like the person you always thought you were.  Things don’t make you happy, experiences do.  Stop chasing satisfaction from the outside and find that rich inner life that you want to explore.

Let go of people or things you’ve outgrown.  It’s hard to let go of friends or objects that you’ve had forever but if they are not contributing to your growth and happiness, they are holding you back.  Have the courage to let them go so they can find someone else that they will thrill and excite.

Let go of being seduced by the struggle.  Don’t buy into the idea that everything takes hard work to happen.  It’s true, life is full of challenges, but sometimes the most beautiful things happen easily and effortlessly. Life can often be quite easy when you let it; don’t question that gift from the universe.

Let go of the hurt. “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die” (Buddha) We’re all tender, vulnerable beings and we get hurt everyday in some way.  Letting go and letting lightness back in will make you a stronger, more compassionate person.

Take a deep breath.

Make some space for yourself by letting go.

The universe will reward your courage.

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The Secret to Happiness: Let Go Of These 5 Lame Beliefs. {Part 1}2018-03-29T20:23:24-04:00
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