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Seven Surefire Strategies for Dealing With New Year Overwhelm

meditation-264508_640 Guest post by licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitator and Associate Coach Kiala Givehand

As soon as the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, there is a cloud of expectation that looms over the small business owner. If we aren’t mindful, that cloud can stay with us for the better part of the year. For some, the cloud is a reminder of everything they didn’t get done in the previous year (which the business owner then tacks onto the New Year to-do list). For others, that cloud is weighted with expectations of what they must make happen over the next 12 months. And then there are still others who find the silver lining in their New Year cloud by treating it as if it carries buckets filled with refreshing rain that will wash away all of their failures or provide a clean slate for what’s to come.

Regardless of which of these you identify with, the result is often a feeling of overwhelm. You’ve heard of good stress, right? Well the New Year can be both a burden and a blessing, but in the end, it creates a stress that can often set the tone for the rest of the year.

Here are seven ways to deal with feelings of overwhelm…

1. Stop Comparing — One of the most detrimental things you can do as a business owner is compare yourself to others. The 2nd most detrimental thing is comparing yourself today, to your past self. This can be heartbreaking. This is true in your personal life as well. Comparison breeds negativity and negativity leads to feelings of overwhelm. Make a conscious decision NOT to compare yourself to anyone — not even to yourself. Use the past as a guide, not a measuring stick.

2. Consciously Choose Silence — Take at least one day out of your week where you go about your day with the intention of being silent and being in silence. This can be difficult for many reasons (family, job, it’s new to you, etc.), but give it a try and see what comes up and out when you spend the day with your own thoughts, dreams, desires, fears, and hopes. Want to really make a mindset shift? Try this for a week. Turn off the radio in the car. Don’t watch television. It’s harder than you might think if you’ve never done it before, but the results can be astonishing.

3. Be Here Now — It is no longer last year. It’s today. Right now. That’s all it will ever be, so be here now. Live in the moment of your day. I know, I make it sound so easy. Trust me, I know there are times when it’s not that easy, but that doesn’t make it impossible. Try it. After you read this blog post, step away from your computer and take a walk or stand by a window and look out. Just be in the moment. Allow yourself to take in your surroundings and just be here now. Do this when the world feels like it is spinning out of control around you. Stop. Walk away. Gaze out the window. It’s equal to your mind taking a deep breath.

4. Celebrate Something Small in a Big Way — We celebrate the changing of our year with all sorts of parties, food traditions, ball dropping ceremonies, and fireworks. Find something small and celebrate it like it’s the biggest, most important thing that has ever happened to you. No one else can tell you what to celebrate, but here are a few examples to give you an idea of what could be seen as small but worthy of celebration:
a. Getting a parking space up front at the grocery store.
b. Finding a pair of earrings you thought you lost.
c. Going an entire week without chipping your nail polish.
d. Having a good hair day.
e. Finding a penny on the side walk.
f. Seeing the first flower bloom in your garden.
g. Hearing the song of a bird in the early morning.
h. No traffic on the way home from work.
i. Attending yoga (or the gym) everyday for one week.
j. Going 24 hours without social media.

5. Spend the Day Getting To Know Your Inner Critic — Upon reading this you may be thinking that this sounds like the opposite of ridding yourself of overwhelm. Think about it. We feel overwhelmed we when don’t have control. We give our inner critic a great deal of power over us, but we never actually spend time getting to know it. Take some time and really listen to all of those negative thoughts that come out when you are overwhelmed. Listen to what those thoughts are really saying to you and about you. You can think of the inner critic as separate from you, but the truth is, it’s your defense mechanism — it IS you. It’s that voice that kicks in when we are tired and overworked, or when we are dreaming, hoping, and expecting. Spend the day with those thoughts. Write them down. Dialogue with them. Find out what your inner critic has to say about your New Year cloud, then provide a comforting response that will soothe that critical voice so that you can move on. Take back your power by facing your fears and understanding them better.

6. Nourish Your Creative Spirit — In Building Your Business The Right-Brain Way, Jennifer Lee has you do an exercise where you create a self-care catalog. She places the focus on energy management and nourishing the creative spirit. It’s all about refueling so that you can be your best self. Jenn walks you through the activity in the Embracing Ease chapter on page 205, and even shares a photo of her self-care catalog. Once you create yours, you can use it to remind yourself of all the things you could do to combat the New Year cloud. You can also use it to pick things you want to do each week in order to overcome (or stave off) feelings of being overwhelmed. (Be sure to come back here and share a link to pics of your catalog, I’d love to see them.)

7. Have Fun & Laugh— Whatever fun looks like for you, do more of it. Whatever makes you laugh, do more of it. If you like watching comedy, take a day and binge watch comedy movies. Make sure you do it on a day where you won’t feel regret later or give yourself permission to play hookie from work and just spend the day laughing and having a good time. If you like the library or bookstores, go spend the day around books. If your idea of fun is doing something exhilarating and adventurous, go do that. Maybe fun for you is a day of yoga and meditation or a day of Crossfit, TRX, or Jazzercise — if so, go do that. Just do whatever you need to do to incorporate fun into your life — it’s a surefire remedy for feeling overwhelmed.

So tell me, which one of these can you do right now?

Kiala GivehandKiala Givehand, EdS, MFA, MA is the founder of Giving Hands Creative, Generations Literary Press, and HowToArtJournal.com. She has a unique perspective on what it means to be a multi-passionate business owner. As an empowerment & accountability coach for creative female entrepreneurs, introverts, writers, & artists, Kiala uses her fierce energy to help her clients identify and embrace their gifts so they can empower their lives with passion and intentional success. You can visit her on her Website. Kiala is one of our licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitators and a Right Brain Business Plan Associate Coach.

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