|Hello, My Name is Overwhelmed|
It's been a couple weeks from my last confession. I can't even tell you when because the last three weeks have morphed into one giant day.
I blame myself for much this, I have this nature that says yes, when what I meant to do was run screaming from the building or say no. I also have this nature that believes that I can do a lot-- and I can-- but today I woke up with the telltale sign I have taken on too much...
To the confessional--
I confess I know I've taken on too much and am officially "stressed" when I look in the mirror and see a red dot on my left cheekbone. Seriously. I get this weird breakout right there every time I take on too much. And I noticed it last night and woke up this morning and saw it here.
I was a young 26 year old corporate go-getter the first I got it. We were moving offices and I was not only in charge of the full move, but actually designing the office. First, who gives this kind of responsibility to a 26 year old?! Second, this was the exactly moment I knew I needed to get the heck out of corporate America.
I confess right now, today's "To Do" list has 10 *must do* items. (Writing a blog post is *not* one of them.) This is insanity in ink-- the To Do list, not the blog post.
There is a list of 17 other things I need to have done by the 20th.
Most of the things have to do with AWP, Two Sylvias Press, the transition from editor of Crab Creek Review to non-editor, my book, and the workshops I've been teaching recently (though my last workshop is this Saturday in Seattle... and yes, there are a few more spaces if you're interested. )
I confess I have been waking up at 4:30 am - 5 am to get things and have been cheating on my To Do list by writing poems. I try to make that the first thing I do so I don't resent the rest of my life.
I confess while at a poetry salon on Sunday, I received a text from my daughter that said, "Demi & I cleaned the whole house for you." My response, "I have never been so proud of you." (Forget the fact she got all As last year and went to Washington DC as a state champion for the National History Bowl, she cleaned the house! Let the confetti fly! --wait, no confetti, I don't have time to sweep.)
This is a sure sign that my priorities are a little messed up.
And here's the thing, I know this is temporary.
And I have more to be grateful for than to be stressed about.
I know that every time I cross something off my list it helps me feel less stressed. But I also need to learn to live with things undone. It's hard for me and my Capricornness. It's hard for me in the middle place. I write and rewrite To Do list. I get a huge satisfaction of crossing things off.
But there's a point when I feel overwhelmed. And I've reached that place.
So here's what I'm going to do:
1) Get my top items off my list today
2) Do the same tomorrow
3) Eat good food and have an amazing dessert
4) Spend fifteen minutes starring out the window at the birds and the water
5) Spend time with my family
6) Try my best, but not take anything too seriously
I confess reaching this place of stress is a good reminder to me to make sure I am saying yes to the right things and to not take more on than I can handle.
I know this is a lesson I have been learning and relearning all my life.
But it reminds me not to volunteer to do things just because others aren't stepping forward, or to say yes because I want to do things and not out of obligation. In fact, say no if I just feel obligated.
So I made a list of what I'm focusing on this year and what I'll say yes to:
My book, Hourglass Museum and my own writing
Two Sylvias Press
Poets on the Coast
These are my top three areas of focus. All the other stuff (family not included as they are the top of the top) has to fall to the sidelines.
And if you find yourself to be a YES person, here are a couple good articles to read:
When To Say Yes (Things to ask yourself before saying yes)
The Yes Trap (a great article on *why* we say yes to things-- fear of missing out, guilt, being uncomfortable in saying no, good girl hang-ups, etc.)
Setting Boundaries, Saying No Nicely (this is a little more corporate world, but good ideas here.
My life is good and I am thankful. It's my own internal laid-back, low-stress, no drama temperament that gets a little bent out of shape when there's a lot going on. But good stuff, stuff I'm thankful I need to do and complete.
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