By: Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA
Have you ever made plans and then life happened and just like that, there went your plans? How did you handle those situations? Did you succumb to your circumstances or did you set yourself up for a successful comeback?
With the arrival of warmer weather and the world reopening, some people have been resuming their social lives and understandably so, given the past couple of years that we have all experienced; living in isolation for the better part of it. So when we were invited by family to spend a day at the Toronto Islands, to say I was excited was an understatement because that meant that not only would we see them (whom we haven’t seen in two-and-a-half, almost 3 years due to the pandemic), our children would be able to play with their cousins in person. The morning of, we woke up and were eagerly anticipating our long overdue day of family fun when we noticed that our son was running a fever. This meant that we had to cancel our plans and trust that God willing, we’d be able to connect with our family at a later date (provided there were no future lockdowns).
Over the following days, we each fell ill. It started with our son having a fever due to his molar teeth growing in, then something I ate caused me to feel unwell. Next up was our daughter and inevitably, my husband got sick. Mama, has this ever happened to you, where everyone in your home was sick at the same time? When our children are ill, their recoveries are of the utmost importance; housework and things of that nature move down lower on our priority list. With that being said, I do what I can in terms of housekeeping when I am able to and my husband will do what I don’t get to. This time because we were all sick simultaneously, only priority tasks were completed; i.e. the dishes (so we could have our soup, drink our water and tea, etc.). When I got back on my feet, I was facing (what felt like) a mountain of tasks. Just thinking about everything made me feel overwhelmed. I’m not sure about you, but when I feel overwhelmed, my default is to shut down and not do anything. In order to avoid that, here are some things that helped me to move forward.
Tip #1: Start small. Don’t try to do everything all in one shot. Take inventory of everything that needs to be done, then choose ONE thing (the most important) to do each day. If you’re able to complete more than that, wonderful, but focus on completing that ONE thing each day. If there’s a task that needs to be broken down further into smaller tasks to make it more manageable, then do so and give yourself a realistic timeline.
Tip #2: Check in with yourself. I used to move at a fast pace. “Pedal to the metal” is the expression that I would use to describe my default work ethic. Furthermore, I would say yes to everything and take on more than I could handle. Ultimately, I have learned that operating from that place contributed to my feelings of overwhelm, stress, and anxiousness. Whenever I start to feel these emotions in my body, I know that something is off. Checking in with myself allows me to ensure that I am moving at a pace that honors me; which allows me to stay on track, focused, and see the task(s) at hand to completion.
Tip #3: Be transparent with yourself. Sometimes, I feel frustrated for not being able to do everything I want to do (within my desired time frame) and that’s okay. In those moments, I took some long, slow deep breaths and allowed myself to feel and process what I was experiencing. I gave myself permission to grieve over missed occasions, but also found pleasure in the opportunities to celebrate health, life, healing, and more.
Tip #4: Seek support. While I am a huge advocate for tuning into internal wisdom; sometimes, it can be helpful to have trusted loved ones to chime in with loving, gentle reminders and words of encouragement.
Tip #5: Congratulate yourself. While it took me much longer than I would have liked to complete the things that I desired, they got done. Previously, that would have gotten me down and I would have beaten myself up for taking so long; that’s not the case anymore. These days, I give myself the grace and space that I deserve. While I felt better, I still wasn’t 100% well. It is important to stop and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how big or small. One of my mentor’s shared with me, “small hinges swing big doors”. It was a series of small tasks that ultimately led to me completing the overall bigger task.
Mama, if you ever find yourself in this situation, do not despair. Take some deep breaths, get support, and celebrate yourself along the way. You got this!
Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA
Certified Transformational Coach | Wholesome Mind Health Coaching