What to Do When You’re Falling Apart and You’re Out of Glue!

Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that even my hair is tense! When this happens, I can almost see myself as a cartoon with my body parts dropping off one by one. I feel like I am coming apart and I’m out of glue!

I can always tell when I am approaching my limit of overwhelm, because I begin to resemble a deranged squirrel. I must mention that even on my good days, I am not one of those women who roll out of bed with sexy tousled hair and sultry eyes. I arise with my hair looking like monkeys danced in it during the night and my eyes are more squinty than sultry. But usually, after taming my crazy hair with a comb the size of a farm tool and wearing tea bags on my eye bags….I can pull it together.

However, when I am overwhelmed, it has been pointed out that I have the look of a terrified rodent! I’m pretty sure that other people experience these times as well and they react in a variety of ways when they feel this way. Some folks get angry and lash out at others, some withdraw and pull into themselves and others become unable to function and eventually fall apart.

There are lots of techniques to help reduce that panicky feeling of being pulled in a hundred different directions, but none of them work if you don’t take the time to implement them. Coming apart at the seams is a helpless feeling, so here are some tips which will help you glue yourself back together:

Draw a line in the sand. Most of the time, we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed without even realizing it. By refusing to draw boundaries, we are inviting others to take advantage of our willingness to help. There is no need to feel guilty if you are feeling like you need to lighten your load. Taking care of yourself does not make you a bad person!  There are nice ways to say “no.”

Put yourself on your “To Do” list. While you are busy taking care of everyone and everything, make sure you don’t forget to pay attention to yourself. If you consistently put yourself at the bottom of the list, you will soon run out of steam and if you fall apart, you won’t be able to help anyone!

Prioritize and purge: If you are wondering why you are feeling squeezed out of your own life, try making the ever-popular pie chart. Estimate how much time you spend on various tasks every week and give them the appropriate slice of the pie. If you find you have less time dedicated to your health and well-being than to everything else, you will know that you have a “pie chart of death.” Ask yourself, “Does this really need to get done now? What will happen if I don’t do it? ”Choose the things that critical and cannot be delegated to anyone else and dump the rest.

Take time to recharge. Although it seems counter-intuitive to take a break when you are really busy, it is essential for you to carve out some “time outs” each day.  If you don’t take brain breaks, you might short out! Utilize stress management techniques, meditate or just sit and vegetate!’ When you return to your work, you will have a fresh perspective.

Remember what you like to do and then do it! In my stress management workshops, I often ask people to make a list of activities that make them feel happy and fulfilled. Then I ask them to write next to each one, the last time they participated in that activity. Almost always, they are shocked when they realize how long it has been since they have done the things they most like to do. When we ignore the things that give us joy, we are cheating ourselves out of the best “glue” to keep us from stressing out and falling apart.

We are never going to be able to eliminate all stress from our lives, but if we keep that glue bottle handy, at least we won’t fall apart!

Linda Henley-Smith is an author, speaker and coach who often looks like a deranged squirrel, but has finally learned how to pull herself together! Visit her website at www.lindahenley-smith.com

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