Just as with dance, the rhythms of life change. There is a shift in the timing, intensity, range of movement and style of expression depending on what music the DJ plays. Some dances are more slow, smooth and elegant while others are fast and exciting. A dance, like a day in your life, can feel gentle or it can feel wild.
In the past, those days that came at me full of the frenzied energy of a million things to do could send me into complete paralysis. My to do list would whirl around in my head until I was literally spinning. I would pick up to begin one task only to be distracted by another action that might be a priority but perhaps not as important as the call I would suddenly find myself making.
The wild ride and erratic energy typically ended with me sitting utterly still unable to complete anything. Most often I would throw in the towel and decide to start fresh the next day. It’s fine to do so from time to time, but there are other moments or days when this isn’t possible. There is no escape hatch to use when deadlines loom or decisions need to be made…or when clients need to be coached. Sometimes we just can’t afford to be paralyzed.
Today was one of those days for me. I felt pulled in hundreds of directions, needing to work through a crazy list of return calls while catching up on hours of content writing…which explains my late evening blog post. But today, I made a different choice. I did not allow myself to go into paralysis.
I felt it coming and pulled out my favorite weapon…my lined sticky note pad I write my ten things to do today list on. I put down the first ten items that popped into my head, then started a second page of reminders of things to get to later in the week. Next step was to focus on one item at a time and begin to work my way down the page.
The result was I ended up with a blog post I didn’t think I would complete today along with making significant progress on some of my major goals for my cancer survivorship coaching and some breakthrough client sessions.
For both cancer survivors and caregivers, when you have those days where overwhelm comes in like a tsunami, reach for your tools. The most important thing is to ground yourself and breathe knowing that this feeling will not last. Then get simple. Make a list of anything that absolutely cannot wait and take it one step at a time. If you need support, reach out and ask for help.
Overwhelm and paralysis, while completely understandable will not, in the end serve you. If you need to walk away for a break, that’s okay, too. Just give yourself a time limit and use the time to clear your head. Honor your process but be ready with tools to get into action. Change the rhythm of the dance from trying to keep up to a frenzy of thoughts into a slower, gentler step by step movement. In your life, you get to be the DJ and choose the song.