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I have a confession to make. I’m exceptionally overwhelmed in my business right now. Given that I help creatives with this very problem, I see the irony—but unfortunately that doesn’t make the experience easier. And it goes to show that we’re all susceptible to feeling like we’re at the end of our rope when faced with an endless list of to-do’s, maintenance of relationships, and taking care of ourselves. We’re all familiar with this feeling, right?
I know I’m not alone in feeling frazzled as a creative, and that you may even be feeling this way right now as well. Whether you’re freelancing or running a business, it’s all too easy to get in your head when you have big aspirations and high standards you’re holding yourself to, and allow those feelings of wondering “how” to swallow you whole.
When you do find yourself stressed; when to-dos and emails accumulate and you feel like nothing in your business is going quite right, what do you do?
If you’re anything like me, you may point fingers and place blame wherever you can. We find scapegoats for our stresses, mostly because it feels good in the short term. For example, perhaps you say your work environment is the reason you have trouble focusing, or seek out another easy scapegoat for your emotions and overwhelm.
The problem with this behavior is that it only feels good for a short amount of time, and you never quite uncover the root of your problems—the true reasons you’re feeling stressed out in your business. Until you go deeper into the feelings you’re experiencing, and exactly why your business is out of alignment, it can be difficult to move past them. You may notice these feelings resurfacing again and again, sometimes even at consistent and predictable intervals.
When you feel like you’re drowning in work, the best way to deal with the feeling is to pause and take a step back. Instead of moving forward and reacting immediately to stressors on a surface level, it’s ideal to spend a little more time reflecting on the thoughts and experiences that overwhelmed you in the first place. Ask yourself “why am I feeling this way?” or “what led to this current state of affairs?” Being honest with yourself here is key.
Once you begin to uncover the root problems that are bringing your business out of alignment, you can proactively prevent the small things from stressing you out on a daily basis, or snowballing into the larger overwhelms that feel impossible to handle. This is how you truly alleviate the overwhelm, rather than delaying it for another week, month, etc.
How do you tend to react when you’re in this situation? Are you also guilty of pointing your finger at external factors instead of taking a reflective approach? I’d love to hear how you’ve dealt with your experiences in the comments below.