Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Juggling Many Balls and Dealing with Overwhelm

With Fashion Week starting up - a time where many makeup artists are juggling several balls, and when I personally experience the craziest schedule perhaps all year - I thought that examining how to handle "overwhelm" would be appropriate. You've got juicy goals, a crazy work schedule, friends that are dying to hang out, and it's been way too long since you've seen your mom,...what do you do?! You can't stop time (I've tried), and life will keep throwing you curve balls. If your go to response is "I'm too busy/tired/overwhelmed" it's time to reevaluate! How can you juggle all the pieces without falling apart?

#1. Just accept you will need to become a superhero.

Someone once told me "If you have a lot on your plate, then switch to a platter". When you are going to be up to a lot in your life, it is not possible for you to handle it all by doing things the way you have always done them.  You will need to approach it with a different way of thinking, a creative way of thinking.  You will need to step into the nearest phone booth (if you can find one that actually exists anymore) and change into your "super suit". As your super self you can handle anything, you will see ways to do things differently, and no matter what it looks like you will be committed to getting it done.  What's the trick to becoming your "super" self? Just keep believing (even if you don't know exactly how, or what it will look like) anything is 100% possible for you to complete, 100% of the time. My favorite quote from Einstein is "you cannot solve a problem with same manner of thinking that created it."

#2.  Take breathing to a level deeper.

Absence of oxygen causes our hearts and blood to pump harder and laboriously. We breath shallow when we are not present and are just trying to make it by the skin of our teeth. Anxiety and stress directly correlates with shortness of breath. If in a moment of stress, stop, become aware of the shallow breath, and consciously take a few minutes to do some deep/slow breathing exercises - you're heart will get the oxygen it needs to pump ample fresh blood to the brain. Your nerves immediately begin to relax, and you start to feel grounded, and are able to critically and creatively think on a vast level. The funny thing is, this could be one of the simplest things for calm our nerves and see things much clearer, yet most of the worlds population doesn't realize it. There is an easy and ancient breathing technique you can use called Pranayama. Follow this link for the very simple steps; it should take you no more than 5 minutes but the results will have you be much more focused and calm to handle your day.

#3. Make your calendar a game of Tetris

When I have a lot going on sometimes I dread looking at my calendar. With so much packed in it just seems I started looking at it as a game. Some of my biggest problems when I'm busy are getting back to people's texts/emails/phone calls, taking care of my well being, and finding time to restructure/clean my tools and supplies. I started looking for all the big chunks in my calendar - the big blocks of commitments like work and important family obligations - and then I find the little empty spaces where I can fit stuff in, and strategically add things in: 45 minutes to answer all correspondence, go get acupuncture, invite an intern over to help restructure my kit, sit down with hubby to watch (fill in the blank) shows on DvR, go to bed early this day.... It's sounds silly, but if you make those things a vital part of your schedule and even book it it with alarms, you feel less anxiety around forgetting something and you don't feel you are being pulled in a hundred different directions. You control your schedule, it doesn't control you.

#4. Be conscious of others who count on you AND who you can count on.

When I get too overwhelmed I trap myself in a little bubble of solitude. I do not consciously do it, it's a matter of habit from being independent. The problem is that when I do this I hinder myself in 2 ways: 
A.) I forget others count on me in big and little ways, so I don't communicate with them. I forget to tell them I will be busy in days/weeks ahead, they will assume things are hunky-dory, and they wonder why I am not responding or doing the things they count on me to do. 
B.) I also forget that 2 or 3 brains/sets of hands could be the magic trick I am looking for that will have me get more done in a shorter amount if time. So by not reaching out to my network for support, I could miss an opportunity to alleviate stress and my work load.
Bottom line, be responsible, communicate, and ask for support from others. That way you should never find yourself on anyone's "shit list", and you may find peace through the help you receive if you have the courage to ask for it.

#5. Do your best and take care of yourself.

Even if you are a superhero, everybody needs to take care of their well being. Even superheroes are vulnerable with kryptonite moments. Often times when people are busy they do nonsensical things like forgetting to eat, hydrate, or sleep enough. I have NO idea what that is like ( ...said no makeup artist ever). Busy people also do ironic things like eat what's convenient, chain smoke, and drink to to let off steam. (Still have no idea who would do that. Just guessing.) Who are we kidding? We all do it... And we wonder why at the end of a nonstop week we want to crawl into bed for 4 days, and feel like our bodies got pummeled by a Mack truck then went in reverse flattening every ounce of energy we have.  So if you want to be more productive during your "cray-time", and not feel like the floor of a taxi cab at the end of it all, it comes down to a few conscious choices. Every moment you come to the precipice of a choice: Do I go to sleep early or go out for a drink? Do I eat bread at every meal or supplement a veggie? Do I drink another cup of coffee or a glass of water? Do I go out and smoke a cigarette while yapping with the crew or take a moment to be quiet and recharge? All of these are vital choices that could make the difference at the end of the day of feeling energized or exhausted.  Now no one is perfect and old habits are not easy to change...But remember to put on your super suit and do your best. 

When the going gets tough, you get going. Acknowledge yourself for the things you do well in the heat of stressful times, practice, and push your tactics further. Don't settle for less, you really can have it all!

No comments:

Post a Comment