That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Ugh!
There are lots of things that I want to do, but when I get a little bit of time to do it, I just cannot get started. And then the window of time that I have closes and I am left feeling frustrated and disappointed in myself.
If I had to take a guess as to why I’m feeling this way, I think that it’s because I am so overwhelmed by all of the things that I need to do, that I want to do, and by the things that I feel I should be doing, that I don’t know where to start. And because I want to do them all really, really well, I become paralysed by my expectations.
And where are these high expectations getting me? Nowhere. Nowhere useful or positive, anyway.
Wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?
So I’ve been trying to do some things differently because what I’ve been doing to date hasn’t been working.
So here goes – here are some of the things that I’ve been doing to get out of the ugh (technical term 🙂 ). If you are having similar feelings, maybe they might help you too.
1. Be aware of your feelings
When I’m feeling like this, I am lethargic and unmotivated. I have a feeling of heaviness inside me. In fact, it’s this heavy feeling inside of me that is the real sign that I’m not doing too well.
It may take you awhile to realise that you are feeling ugh. But once you realise it, take note of how your body feels when you are in this mood so that you can more quickly identify it next time. Once you know what to look for, take some time out periodically throughout your day to check in with yourself.
2. Be realistic
Part of my problem is that I’m not very realistic about what I can do in the time that I have. In particular, there are a lot of things that I’d like to learn and to do, but given that I have so many other commitments, I don’t have as much time for these things as I would like. It’s not for lack of wanting to do these things. There are just not enough hours in the week and something has to give.
So be realistic with yourself about what is actually possible in the time that you have now. Once you have your ‘realistic list’, cross off a few more things!
3. Lower your expectations
Closely related to being more realistic, is lowering your expectations. Once you have a clear picture about the reality of your situation, it is quite likely that you will need to expect a little less of yourself.
For example, I have read a lot lately about how other bloggers got started and about how they grew their audience. Most of what I’ve been reading suggests that if a person is serious about growing their blog, they need to post several articles a week, comment on other peoples’ blogs and guest blog for others. When I read this, I freak out. I struggle with writing one article a fortnight! How on earth am I going to find the time to write multiple articles a week, let alone all of the other stuff?
The answer is, I can’t. Not at the moment. Hopefully there will be a time in my future when this will change, but at the moment, I need to determine realistic goals for me and commit to them.
4. Ask ‘why’ to remember what is truly important in your life
We can all get caught up in, and consumed by, the things that we think that we should be doing.
One way to become more realistic about this, and to determine whether we really need to be doing these things, is to think about why we are doing each of the things on our “to do” list.
Even those things that seem obvious – cooking dinner to feed your family – may not always need to be done in the way that you’ve always done it. For example, do you really need to cook every meal from scratch? Could your children sometimes have a sandwich for dinner so that you can spend more time playing with them, helping them with their homework, or doing something else that you struggle to find time to do?
Perhaps you are feeling guilty about not committing to something? Asking yourself why you think you should do it can also help you to decide whether or not it is really something you need to be doing.
For example, since my children started school I have felt that I should join the school’s parents committee and feeling guilty about not signing up yet. When I thought about why I hadn’t yet put my name down (and feeling guilty about it), I realised that I wanted to do something that was more directly involved with the children. So now I volunteer a half hour each week to help the children with their reading. And because I’m volunteering with a happy heart, it doesn’t feel like a burden.
5. Relax and have fun
Lately I have been so busy trying to squeeze so many things into my days that I haven’t allowed any time to breathe and to enjoy life. Everything has been a rush from one thing to another and I haven’t allowed myself any time to take pleasure in what I’m doing when I’m doing it.
As much as it is a cliché, I’m so focussed on getting things done (the destination) that I’m not enjoying the journey.
So when you are planning your day for what you can realistically expect to get done, create a bit of breathing room. This gives you some space so that you can enjoy your most important tasks and allows some buffer time for when things don’t go according to plan.
6. Be kind to yourself
Probably the most important thing to remember when feeling immobilised by your expectations is to be kind to yourself. Be aware of your feelings, acknowledge them and see them for what they are – a sign that something needs to change. And then try something different – ease your foot off of the accelerator of life, build some empty space into your day, smile and enjoy.
Wishing you a happy day, my friends.