Sometimes overwhelm creeps up on me. It happens most often when I get wrapped up in all the Things to Do, the possibilities of Things to Do and the things I think I should be doing.
I don’t mind a little stress in order to do make exciting events happen, but I hate the feeling of drowning and stress that overwhelm brings with it.
I was in the middle of a particularly full day and starting to feel a little frantic and overwhelmed when I came across a post by Shawn of The Abundant Mama Project that seemed like it was written just for me. It was on Pinterest and described as the ‘mantra for days when you’re feeling overwhelmed‘.
Yes! This is what I need!
Shawn is wonderful at helping you find your way in the middle of mama chaos, so I was happy to come across this post about her new favorite mantra that helps her when she’s feeling overwhelmed. Her mantra is “It will all get done.”
I like mantras a lot in order to change negative thinking so this mantra intrigued me, but as I tried saying to myself, “It will all get done.” the panic just felt a little tighter.
My brain started screeching back at me: Oh my god. It will NOT all get done. I can’t DO it all!
I felt more anxious. Obviously that’s the opposite of the feelings I usually get from Shawn’s calming posts. I did really love her message about how things don’t always happen just when or how you think they will, but they do work out. So I rolled around the concept of this mantra for a while to come up with my own.
What’s most important will get done.
“It will all get done.” is not a fit for me, but when I changed the wording to, “What’s most important will get done.“, it really started to work.
What’s most important will get done.
When I said this to myself, I found I was giving myself permission to let go of the miscellaneous details that don’t really need me to focus on them.
It doesn’t ALL have to get done.
Remembering what’s important to me –
This mantra includes in it the question, “What’s most important?”
This reminds me that it is not wasted time to pause and assess, what IS most important right now?
When I have a lot to do it’s easy to either frantically work on things that don’t really matter, or to get so overwhelmed that I stall out and don’t do anything. Somehow it feels like I’m not allowed to stop and think.
However, when I take the time to plan and think about what’s actually most important to me, what’s most important does get done, or at least it gets a little further along, and what doesn’t get done matters less.
I recently read a powerful book called The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. In one section the author reminds us that having a bit of chaos is a totally normal part of life, and that particularly when we are focusing on things that are very important to us, many other things will fall by the wayside. That’s ok – they aren’t the most important things.
As I focus back on what matters most to me I feel able to stop spinning my wheels and choose the next thing to do.
We don’t have to get it all perfect.
Some things simply won’t get done at all; many things will take care of themselves. When I pause to remember what’s most important and focus on that, at least my energy is going in the right direction.
So what direction do you need to be going in right now? What’s most important to you?
“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, ‘This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!'”
And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.'”
~ Iain Thomas
Some days snuggling with your baby on the couch IS the most important thing.
Some days getting to the grocery store is what’s most important.
Some days that work you promised is most important.
Every day your relationship with your family is most important.
Every day your health is most important.
It’s not all going to happen the way we plan, and even focusing on what’s most important will not guarantee that it gets done the way we think it should get done, but when we refocus again and again back on what’s most important to us, what’s most important will get done.
Be gentle on yourself friends.
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.