Values and Balance and Battling Overwhelm
I recently listened to a great podcast about battling overwhelm and stopping the glorification of "busy" that really spoke to me. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I've been feeling really overwhelmed lately, and while I've tried my best to overcome it, I still feel panicky more often than not.
If you listen to that episode, you'll hear a great conversation about taking a step back and being really intentional about how you want your day and your life in general to look. Your values have to align with what you actually do, and I think that's where a lot of my struggle is right now--there's a disconnect between what I want and what I actually do with my day, my life, and my work.
I like to share my struggles here, because while anxiety can often make us feel like we're alone, I really believe that we all go through so many similar experiences and it's always pretty wonderful to find connections out there. I also thought it might be a good practice to list what my top priorities are right now so I can evaluate if the ranking is right.
These are currently my top priorities:
- My marriage. Life with Rob doesn't ever feel like work, but I still think it's really important to put this one at the top of the list. We communicate well, laugh a lot, and have a nice balance of routine and spontaneity in our daily lives.
- Ender. This little guy is so great, but he's a lot of work. He and I are on a great schedule and we walk or go to the park every day, and Rob and I just started taking him to puppy training classes. His health and happiness truly matter to me.
- Exercise. This one used to be a struggle, but since I started paying an arm and a leg for an unlimited barre membership, I'm in the studio working out at least five times a week. It's a great workout and I love that they charge you extra if you don't show up--I've rescheduled a couple classes, but other than that I pretty much schedule myself five or six times a week and do every single one of them.
- Work. This one used to be #2, but it's dropped a little--maybe because I work for myself and there aren't any immediate repercussions if I don't "show up" one day (or two...woops), but I also think a lot of it is because I'm still learning to balance working from home with having a dog. My blog is incredibly important to me, so I feel uneasy when I let it fall by the wayside. I'm hoping this gets better with time, but I know I'm going to have to be better about scheduling my day if I want to see some changes.
These are things I wish were priorities but can't seem to make time for lately:
- Our home. Laundry is a never-ending pain in my ass, and one that causes me a ton of anxiety. I hate having a disorganized mess in the apartment but I can't seem to get my act together enough to keep it clean. I also leave dishes in the sink at night, even though it drives me absolutely nuts in the morning. Rob and I just recently hired a cleaning service to come in once a month and clean our entire apartment, which was a struggle for me at first--letting go of that responsibility (even though I hardly ever actually owned it myself) made me feel a little guilty, but now it's a luxury that I enjoy.
- Eating 100% Paleo. I used to be about 98% Paleo and I felt great. Lately I've been closer to 80%, which for the majority of people is probably a fine place to be, but I'm super sensitive to food and it's making my life a little harder right now. I'm all about tacos and dairy these days, and as a result my skin is breaking out and I can't seem to get out of bed in the morning.
- Going to bed at a reasonable time. I am a big baby and really need 8 hours of good sleep every night. I would love to be in bed at 9:30, reading until I go to sleep at 10, but instead I usually make a goal of being in bed by 11. And yet here I am at midnight, writing this blog post...Maybe tomorrow.
And, finally, one thing that isn't a priority at all anymore: Cave Girl Consulting. This little side business had a good run, but it's been slow for a while and frankly I don't have the time or energy to dedicate to working on growing a client list and maintaining its social media profiles. I struggled a lot with this for a while, but I think it's time to just let it go.
For me, my priorities feel in line with my values, it's just a matter of making the effort to really do my best in all these areas of my life (and obviously doing better in the cleaning/eating/sleeping categories).
Our culture really does glorify being busy, and I know I do, too--if I see someone on Instagram who always seems to be working on something new and exciting, it can make me feel like I'm not doing enough, which overwhelms me to the point where I sometimes don't even know where to begin. Lately, though, I've tried to take a step back, worry less about what other people are doing, and enjoy living in the moment. I think it's been good for me, but I'm looking forward to getting back to work and creating a life that really feels good on me.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? What are your top four priorities right now? And if you have any recommendations for other podcasts that talk about productivity or living with intention, I'd love to hear them!