my top 3 tips for getting out of overwhelm

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Yesterday was the first day of spring and here in New York, it snowed.

Despite the snow, there was still something about the start of spring that got me really excited and motivated for a change.

I’ve been hibernating all winter and in true hibernation form, i’ve been very resistant to exercising, eating nutritiously, and well, just any kind of movement at all. It’s also time to spruce up my spring wardrobe and I’ll need to do some shopping. Now that Im thinking about it, it’s probably time to give my apt some love; i’ll need to clean, get some plants, new throw pillows, some fun new decor. The start of spring is also a good time to revisit my goals… There becomes so much to do that I don’t even know where to begin so I…

don’t. do. anything.

I know I can’t be alone on this one so I’m sharing my 3 uber simple strategies for getting out of my obnoxious overwhelm, and getting sh*t done.

TIP #1

Make your bed. Seriously. Stop everything you’re doing right now, make your bed, and continue to make your bed every morning. Let it be the first thing you do each day. Making your bed every morning will give you the same satisfaction as crossing something off of your list. What better way to start your day than feeling accomplished. I know it seems small but trust me, it is the little things that matter in this life. Also, if you haven’t seen this Navy SEAL’s commencement speech to the 2014 graduating class of the University of Texas, watch it. He sums up the importance of making your bed every day much more beautifully than I ever could.

“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

– U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven

TIP #2

Empty your brain. Ok, full disclosure? I actually call this exercise a “brain dump” but there has to be a more eloquent name for it, right? Suggestions welcomed!

Supplies needed:

  1. You
  2. Something to write with (This something that you choose should allow you to write freely, easily, and quickly!)
  3. Something to write on (This something that you choose should be roomy enough to fit all of the thoughts in your brain right now.)

How to do it:

First, just start writing. Write everything that comes to your mind that you feel is something you have to do. I mean everything. Even if it’s something you don’t think you don’t need to do for another 10 years, if it popped into your mind, it must leave your mind so, write. it. down. When I do this, I usually fill a few pages of a journal and it sounds a little something like this:

eat healthy. cook more. grocery shopping. plan my wedding. buy a house. plan trip to thailand. finish tip sheet for work. email grandma back. drink more water. sign up for a new yoga studio. boot shopping. pack up winter clothes. order book from amazon. make my bed. wash dishes. laundry. make eye doctor appointment.

and the writing goes on and on until I feel like Ive squeezed every possible to do off of my list, big or small, near or far.

Then, I pick 2-3 things that I can do right now (ex: make my bed, schedule eye doctor appointment) and I do it and cross it off my list.

Lastly, I mostly just stare at it all completely humored at the ridiculous many things that pop into my mind, contribute to my feeling overwhelmed, and prevent me from getting many amazing things done. If I’m still feeling overwhelmed, I prioritize the list and start crossing some other things off but usually, just writing it all down is a weight lifted for me.

TIP #3

Minimize your activation energy. Activation energy is a chemistry term. According to dictionary.com it’s defined as “n. the least amount of energy required to activate atoms or molecules to a state in which they can undergo a chemical reaction.”

For the sake of getting out of overwhelm, we will define activation energy as the energy it takes for you to initiate an action and therefore, get some serious stuff done. cool? 

So, think about what is creating so much overwhelm and strategize a way to decrease the activation energy to get whatever it is you need to get done, done.

For example: If I want to start running in the mornings. I know that waking up in the morning, struggling to find clothes in the darkness of my room, deciding what pre-running snack I will have to fuel me, and locating some H20 are all things that will ultimately, prevent me from even bothering with the run in the first place.

to decrease my activation energy, on Sundays, I can lay out my running outfits for the entire week, ensure that I have water bottles filled, and refrigerated and even pack a breakfast snack for each morning that I plan to run. Boom. I’m way more likely actually go for my morning run.

What tips do you guys have for getting out of overwhelm? Id love to hear. Share them in the comments below! 

Thanks for reading

Amy K Hall

experience vs. dwelling

Life is crazy. Unpredictable, unexpected, unplanned things happen all the time. Things out of our control, out of our scope of understanding will continue to happen because well, that’s just this crazy little thing called life.

What we do have the power to change is how we recover and how we allow these unpredictable and unchangeable occurrences to dictate how we lead our lives.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

-Viktor E. Frankl

I am not suggesting that if you simply choose a different response, you will be free and happy and therein lies the secret to a successful recovery or rebound from outside occurrences in which we have no control.

Although, I do believe it is a start, it’s not the answer and it’s never that easy.

We know that.

What I am suggesting is that maybe the secret to not just our personal success but our success as global citizens is how long we allow ourselves to experience vs dwell in our outside occurrences.

When we dwell, we live in these outside occurrences until we are numb, as if they are the only truth and when it’s true for us, we lose the possibility of change.

However, when we experience, really truly experience, we feel until we are moved to take a stand, make an impact and on the smaller scale of ourselves, to simply recover.

i guess nike was right all along

I was once scared of blogging. (I know…) You can read about it here. 

Since overcoming that, I’ve been fascinated with discovering the secret formula for kickstarting a good habit or, really, starting anything.

We all know some things are good for us, yet,  we can’t always bring ourselves to do them. For example, meditation, theres enough research telling us that this is without a doubt good for us but what’s the secret for getting started?

I look at people who are ridiculously healthy & energized and think…how did they do that? How did that happen to them? Oh, you mean they ate healthier, exercised, put in the work, and that’s the result? 

Yes. Just like that.

Turns out, there is no magic formula that will make you exercise, force you to meditate, eat your vegetables, take your vitamins, stop drinking so much on the weekdays (I’m talking to you, New York – you’re killing me) start your blog, write your book – anything! 

You just have to do it. 

Take one small action today and it will build the momentum for another small action tomorrow. 

Thats all. 

Just. do. it.

I guess Nike was on to something.

you can try & (maybe) fail or you can not try at all

#truth #motivation #justdoit

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Last week, I ran into a college professor at a local coffee shop. Actually, I saw her from the back of the line, stared into my phone, and prayed she didn’t notice me.

Suddenly, I had a full on flashback of our last conversation. It was my senior year of college, and I had just handed in my final. She walked me out of the classroom to say goodbye, and asked about my post grad plans. I explained how excited I was to be an actress. I had taken every acting course my college offered and had never felt an adrenaline rush greater than when I was playing a character. The further away from my own personality the bigger the rush.

Since I was graduating, I could focus on auditions. I’d probably find a part time job to pay the bills and do what I already knew I loved.

Her response? “That will be hard, but good luck.” It seemed harsh at the time, but she was sincere in her well wishes, and she was right. It would be hard.

Snapping out of my flashback, I realized where all the avoidance was coming from. If she were to say hello to me, today, I’d have no great stories of failed or funny auditions, the work that I had booked, the successes the failures, the learnings. I couldn’t even say “well, tried that, not for me.”

I didn’t even try.

At the first sign of failure, I traded the grind of acting for a steady paycheck where I could safely learn to rise and fall fail.

I wish I could tell my 22 year old self how necessary, important, and ultimately, inevitable those failures would be but there’s a lesson to be learned in everything we do — or in this case don’t do and it’s one of the most important lessons of all, for me. 

It will always feel better to fail, learn &  grow than to have never tried at all.

Completely unrelated to fear, I no longer have aspirations of being an actress but I do have aspirations.

Big ones — and I won’t allow myself to say I didn’t try. 

how do you meditate?

I’ve noticed some people are very rigid not just in their practice of meditation, but in their definition of meditation.

Truthfully, It means something different to everyone. It’s not important that you do it a certain way. It’s just important that you do it. Why? Well, because science says so. There are studies that prove mediation can improve your focus, lower your blood pressure and even alter your genes. Who doesn’t want that?

The goal is to think of nothing, give your mind rest, and truly, if for only 20 minutes a day, be in the present. Whatever gives you that rest and clears the noise in your head, do more of it!

I have friends that paint their nails, hold a plank, dance, or sing as their meditation. Although I prefer the standard 20 minutes of sit-in-silence-and-think-of-nothing-technique, I’ll try just about anything.

How do you meditate?