I was talking to one of my favorite former co-workers not too long ago. When I asked him how he was, he said he was feeling swirly. I knew exactly what he meant.
It’s the feeling when life is just a little to up in the air, busy, and altogether frustrating.
That’s the week I’m having. Maybe even the month. There’s just too much going on. I know I’m feeling swirly when I haven’t eaten a serving of vegetables, but I’ve eaten my weight in sugar and carbs. I haven’t done any work on Christmas gifts, cleaned the house, or done laundry. My wine intake is through the roof; I haven’t seen the inside of a gym in over a week and I’m constantly tired. Sound familiar?
I did this to myself last year. Work was really hectic and I ended up with a sinus infection, bronchitis, and six weeks of antibiotics. I pledged to never do this again.
For today’s post, I decided to write about being kind to yourself. You’re kind of the most important person there is. If you’re not good, neither are the people who rely on you.
- Take a lap. It seems counter intuitive to step away from the work, but going for a walk and clearing your head is exactly what you need to do. When you come back, you’re recharged and ready to dig in. And if you aren’t recharged? At least you got some exercise.
- Prioritize the work. Is it urgent? Yes? Is it important? Yes? Then do it now. If it’s not urgent but important, plan to do it. The Eisenhower box is a great way to plan your to-do list. Created by Dwight D. Eisenhower when he served as a general in the US Army, he used this to prioritize the work he did daily. I figure if it’s good enough for Eisenhower, it’s good enough for me If it’s neither important nor urgent, you’ll get to it when you get to it. Or maybe you won’t and that’s okay, too.
- Touch it once. I do this with my inbox at work. If I get something that will take 5 minutes to complete, I just do it. If it’s an FYI, I read it and archive it. It it’s something more complex or waiting for another person’s feedback, I apply a label and move on. I do this in my personal life, too. Before I sit down to get some work done tonight, I started a load of laundry. I peeled off today’s clothes, grabbed enough to fill a load, and just ran it. When I was done with work, my laundry was done, too.
- Block out the calendar. I really need to take my own advice on this right now. I live by an electronic calendar, so I block out my day to complete tasks or projects even personal items like going to the gym. And with that, I’m going to add “Gym Time” to Thursday night.
- Have a dance party. If we learned anything from Grey’s Anatomy, sometimes you have to dance it out. And sometimes you just got to do the work. Crank up the music and tune out the rest of the world. I love Spotify because I can find a playlist to suit my needs. I created a playlist that makes me happy and let’s me focus on getting work done.
December 6 is the day to donate toys on our kindness-a-day calendar. Not going to happen… I dropped off my donation to our company’s kids drive this morning and I’m calling it a win. And I’ll promise to do better tomorrow.
I’d love to hear from you, what’s your favorite tip or trick for when life gets a little “swirly”?