Wow, it's February and it seems that the pages of a calendar get turned faster the older you get. One of the big days this month is Valentine's Day on the 14th. Now I am a huge fan of love, romance, and showing signs of affection but I don't think we need to fall into the trap set by the merchandisers just to prove our feelings. Instead, make an agreement with your special someone to celebrate maybe a week later. The cost of flowers doubles right before the holiday, the restaurants are crowded, reservations are hard to get, and the service isn't as good because they are so busy. You can lower your stress level and expenses by celebrating after the 14th. You'll still be able to show your love and will get better service as a bonus.
How to Get Out of the Hamster Wheel by Jan Cerasaro
Do you work hard but feel like you’ve accomplished little or nothing at the end of the day?
Do the fruits of your labor leave you wanting more?
Do you find yourself wondering, “Is this all there is to life?”
If so, chances are you’ve been living as if you’re on an endless treadmill. Here are a few useful ways to further investigate:
- Do you often feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to take action? Perhaps you’re no longer interested in trying anything new. Maybe your actions throughout the day are on “autopilot.”
- Has it become more and more difficult to make decisions? Our modern world can be overwhelming, and choices seem more complex. Have you started to simply ignore your challenges, hoping they’ll go away?
- Has tiredness become a constant companion? Whether it’s due to lack of sleep or just having less get-up-and-go, this is about more than aging. There’s a growing feeling of depleted energy.
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, take heart. Awareness is the first critical step to feeling better. Being overwhelmed, having indecision, or exhaustion can serve as valuable signals telling you that your life is out of balance, that something needs to change, and that it’s time to feel more excited about your life.
How can you step off the treadmill, and regain equilibrium and a sense of positive and forward motion? Read on for a decision-making process that can reduce overwhelm, clarify your decisions and re-energize you.
Sort your decisions into 3 categories: “Yes,” “No” and “Maybe.”
Do I want to, for example, take on that extra assignment at work? If your immediate answer is "No", honor it. Trust your instincts.
What about taking the vacation you’ve been dreaming of for years? That probably gets a "Yes" answer, right?
Without thinking about how each thing is going to happen, or what the consequences might be, go through the list of decisions you need to make and ask the question "Do I want to ........"?
If it’s not Yes nor No, put it in the Maybe pile.
The Maybe pile is usually filled with things you’re uncertain about and is the category that seems to be the biggest and bogs you down the most.
Here’s the kicker: Your Maybe pile is very likely an extension of your No pile. Big Maybe piles are only overwhelming if you think of them as Yesses—or "shoulds."
Just say ‘NO’
Until you’re clear that you’ve taken care of all the Yesses in your life, everything else is a No. It’s that simple. Working from a small, contained Yes pile helps you focus and let go of the “what ifs.” Using this method, the overwhelm starts to go away.
A simple decision-making process like the above can be all it takes to reduce tension, help you breathe more calmly, and give you more energy.
Many people I talk with get stuck overthinking what they ought to do. You know it sounds like "What if this..." or What if that....". If you or anyone you know has been caught in that mental loop you might want to check out the book Stop Overthinking by Nick Trenton. It's an easy read with lots of great information.
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