Modern times have made many things super convenient, but in return, many other things have now become super stressful.
Trying to juggle and maintain a business, growing a business, marketing a business, keeping clients happy, as well as balancing your personal life, family and friends, is a pressure cooker often just waiting to go off.
It’s no wonder we burn out, get overwhelmed, cry, snap or just bark at those we love - sound familiar?
How do we manage when we’re feeling the pressure? When the responsibility of finances, boundaries and work pressures are weighing heavily on our shoulders? It’s tough to try and manage everything when we’re feeling overwhelmed.
How do we manage when we find ourselves in a spiral of negative thoughts that pull us under and make us feel like we’re drowning, when we’re working so hard to keep our heads above water and trying to keep our mind and emotions sane and not feel like we’re going crazy?
Being in one of those negative spirals is one of the worst things we can be in; and we’ve probably all been there, where we’ve all been pulled under by the pressures of work and life. You’re not alone, and if you’re struggling, there is certainly some help and suggestions we can offer.
First things First
The thought or feeling that ‘everything’ is going wrong, or that we don’t have a grip on anything and that ‘everything’ is going to crash around us, can be debilitating. And have you noticed that when we start on that spiral, it’s a super quick journey down to the bottom of helplessness and feeling like we are in freefall and totally losing control?
It doesn’t take long for those thoughts to grow and snowball and drag us with them, so dont be hard on yourself if this is something that you can relate to.
We have a few tips that can help, so the next time you feel like you’re losing it, or that everything is going wrong, try the below pointers and reflect back on which ones help the most so you can use them again and again.
What is your mind spinning out over? It’s difficult to be objective when we’re in a negative emotional spin that has us in a tizz or a pickle, but we need to get to the facts.
The emotional part of our brain is connected to the fight or flight response, and when we’re buzzing with this type of energy our brain is not logical, so we won’t get the facts, because the human part of our brain is shut off, it’s doors are closed, letting the monkey side of our brain run rampant - nor very helpful hey?
We act out when we’re in this type of emotional state. We don’t respond from a good place and we can’t see the logic. The answers are not easily accessible to us because we’re overrun with emotional energy.
So just simply stop. Stop what you are doing. Walk away from your desk, your phone, the argument you’re in, the books you’re trying to balance. Whatever it is, just stop what you’re doing and walk away.
You need to do something different. Go for a walk, run the bath, do some yoga. Whatever it is, just make sure you change your setting and your state and this will help to shift your mindset from the spiral that has been dragging you down, and lead you to a calmer state.
2. Try some mindfulness techniques
Changing your setting is the best way to shift your mindset, but maybe you can’t leave the building you’re in. If you find yourself in this position, then even leaving the room, perhaps to nip to the toilet, and then try to focus on everything immediately surrounding you.
Notice how your feet feel in the shoes you’re wearing. What can you smell? What objects are around you? What colour are they? How do your clothes feel against your skin? Try to get really present in the moment.
Take some deep breaths and notice how it feels to breathe. Take your focus to your body and breath and notice how your breath feels in your nose, and lungs. We’re not trying to change anything, only shift your mind from your thoughts.
Mindfulness has been found to help many people who suffer from stress and anxiety by helping to shift the focus of the mind from the thoughts, to the present.
3.Get the facts
Now your mind is calmer you can get the facts from the logical side of your brain. It should be back on now, and that switch should have flipped.
What was it that had you spinning out? Perhaps it was the thought that no new clients had booked for next month and you’re worrying about money?
Or, maybe you’re spinning out because you think you’ve failed, that you’re no good and not going to be able to make your business work.
Grab a notebook and pen and write it down. List all of the scary thoughts that have been running around in your head, however big or small, stealing your breath, and get them down onto paper. This will help to empty your mind and declutter your head of all these thoughts and give you a better perspective over them.
4. Write the evidence
Write down what evidence you have for your spiral. If it’s true that you have no new clients, then write down what action you have taken to get new clients. What call to action have you been putting out? What marketing have you been doing?
Write down all of the evidence you have.
You might find that you haven’t been putting out any clear calls to action. Or you might realise that you’ve not done any marketing all month because you have been so busy. It’s now logical and not emotional. You can more clearly now see what you need to do, rather than being consumed with the emotions of the situation.
You think you’re failing. Write down everything about what makes you think you’re failing, then find the evidence against it. Make it logical. Are you failing? Or do you just need to take a few steps towards your goal?
Seeing your thoughts in black and white, written down in front of you, will help you to make a plan.
5. Make a plan
Now you can cross out the thoughts that were from the emotional state and deal with the facts. Make a plan how you’re going to get new clients, where and how are you going to market?
You no longer think you’re failing because your little 10 minute walk followed by the thought dump has changed your perspective and you can see more clearly the points you jotted down on paper. You can look at what you need to put into place and actually do it.
Perhaps you’re using the emotional state to procrastinate putting action into place, because you know that you’re avoiding taking action? Talk to a mentor, or friend to help you gain clarity, but ensure you are honest with them and yourself.
6. Take action
When you have a plan, be very clear to actually take action. What can you do to take steps towards your goals? You’ve managed to drop some of the pressure of overwhelm by getting the facts and being logical, but now you actually need to take action.
Procrastinating will lead to a repeat episode of the negative spiral above, and you’ll end up back at square one, and no one wants that!
What changes do you need to put in place? Put them in.
You don’t need to overwhelm yourself by changing everything all at once. Small steps and small changes can have great outcomes and impact. Decide what you need and do it.
Pressure and overwhelm are real and can lead to burnout and mental health problems. If you feel like you’re struggling and need deeper help and advice, please speak to your doctor who can signpost you to help and services that will help. Please don’t suffer alone or in silence. You’re not alone, and there is help so don’t be shy about asking for it.
At Pocket PA we want you to be happy and successful in your business, so please reach out to us if you need help so we can signpost you to the right person.
Caro Syson is the Founder of Pocket PA and is passionate about helping small business owners to reach their full potential in the easiest possible way.
Pocket PA is a super easy system to manage your finances, accounts and gets you organised in your business to ensure you love your work and shine your light brightly.