Sometimes, despite our best efforts to be productive and to complete projects on time, we get overwhelmed. Too many deadlines loom. Too many to-do items beckon. Too much has to be done right this instant.
I just had this happen yesterday. I returned from a weekend away to a mountain of projects that ballooned into emergencies through no fault of my own. I could not get them done no matter how hard I tried. There was only so much of the ten pounds of poop my five pound bag would hold.
I stressed out. Immediately, my stomach clenched, my jaw ached, and my head pounded. I started the hamster-in-the-wheel race to get everything done, but I eventually admitted defeat. I was not going to be able to complete everything on my plate for yesterday. And then, on top of that realization I also heaped on a huge helping of guilt for not being super woman and somehow eking out a miracle. Talk about a double-whammy!
After a couple of hours of this double-whammy of stress and guilt, I took a break. I sat down in my chair. A cat climbed into my lap, and together, we closed our eyes, breathed deeply, and relaxed. I didn’t rest for long, but I needed a breather. I needed to center and relax if only for five minutes. And most of all, I needed to release myself from the prison of guilt for not being able to do the impossible. I put down that burden, opened my eyes, and then proceeded to kick butt on everything else I could do for the day.
I’ll be honest, I would not have been able to proceed nearly as well or as productively if I hadn’t taken those few minutes to unwind and release my guilt. The guilt would have continued to weigh me down. I would have labored under it for the rest of the day and not gotten nearly as much done.
It has taken me something like 40 years to learn that particular lesson. And it is this: Forgive yourself and recommit to the plan tomorrow.