I've noticed quite a few people saying that they're feeling overwhelmed so I thought I was share what I have found useful.
When I did my herbal medicine degree, I had a very intense full time job as well. There used to be many times when I felt like I couldn't cope with it all. Now it's rare that I feel like that because I have put things in place that enable to be on top of it - mentally and emotionally. These are some of those things....
- Know that you can only do one thing at a time and it will take as long as it takes. And that's OK. Better than that, it's perfect.
- Put in place a system of organisation that works for you. There are many out there. I started with "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. It revolutionised the way I plan and enabled me to feel on top of everything as I had my lists all in one place. Since then it's evolved as I played with a Kanban style and now a bullet journal style but I still have a mental GTD philosophy running through it. It can be paper-based or online (try www.thesecretweapon.org or trello) and experiment to see what works for you. If it doesn't work, ditch it and try something new.
3. Every night I write down my one most important task for the following day. Sometimes it's something urgent but I try to make sure it's important. I also write down two supporting tasks. The next morning (after my morning routine) I do my most important task (MIT). First. And if I finish that I do my supporting tasks. And if I finish those I write a new MIT and do that. And so it goes.And I know that I am doing the most important thing I have to do.
4 Make space. I meditate every morning. It means I have to get up a 6:30 but I wouldn't have it any other way as having that space to just be sets me up for the day. You could try a 10 minute guided meditation or relaxation (Susan Piver or Lodro Rinsler offer great free videos) or if that's not your thing, try yoga or qi gong..... or even colouring! But try to have something every day that allows you 10 mins or longer to decompress.
5. Take time off. It may seem counter intuitive when you have lots to do but I find a day off laughing with family or friends, doing something creative or going for a walk, leaves me feeling energised and refreshed and ready to take on the world again.
6. Do some exercise. It releases endorphins so you feel good, they reduce stress and give you energy. Maybe start with a 10 minute lunchtime walk.
7. Finally nurture yourself. Stress is a killer - literally. During stressful periods, when I write my MIT I also write one thing I am going to do to nurture myself. It could be one of the above, or a relaxing bath or a cup of chamomile tea (it's a relaxant so really helps with stressy feelings) but it reminds me to look after myself. After all we are very precious beings.
Sometimes though, self help isn't enough and you need help to get you back on an even keel. There are many herbs that help you relax, lift your mood, give you energy and help your body cope with stress. Seeing a medical herbalist to get a personally tailored medicine just for you is a great way to nurture yourself.