ANXIETY | May 13
What to Do When You Feel Like You're Not Doing Enough
When I first trained as a hypnotherapist, I was also working full time for the NHS as a nutritionist. By day, I’d be working in the community helping families to cook healthier meals and by night (and weekend) I’d be seeing clients, writing blog posts, tinkering with my website and working on a seemingly endless to-do list that got twice as long with every item that I ticked off.
To say I was busy (and stressed) was an understatement. Things got even worse when I finally quit my ‘day’ job to do hypnotherapy full time. The pressure was really on to make it my main source of income. I’ll always remember the January of 2014; business was slow so I’d spend a lot of time at home, alone, trying to get things done, trying to ‘be productive’ and ensure I could pay my rent. At the time, I was putting so much pressure on myself that it didn’t matter what I had achieved that day, it never felt like I was doing or achieving enough. I couldn’t justify taking a break, I told myself I didn’t even have time to exercise; and guess what? I felt terrible!
Does this ring any bells for you? So many of us worry that we’re not doing enough, getting enough done or making the most of our lives. That we’re not doing enough for our families, for charity, for ourselves…
If you’re suffering from ‘never-doing-enough-itus’ I’d like you to consider the following ideas:
Firstly ask yourself: Is the pressure of feeling you don’t do enough, actually leading to procrastination (so that you really don’t do enough?). Anxiety about doing things can mean we put it off because it all becomes too overwhelming. Then take one small action first thing. Start by making your bed in the morning. According to author Tim Ferris, it’s a small ‘win’ that leads to other ‘wins’ during the day.
DO LESS WITH MORE FOCUS
What if you were to do what you do, but with more mindfulness. We get more richness and value from doing things with presence, rather than rushing through them. Allowing yourself to feel and enjoy each moment means you make the most of what you are doing. Start by paying attention to what you’re doing in the here and now.
Happiness doesn’t come from the things you do, but rather the attitude you bring to the things you do. I sometimes wonder if I should be one of those people who is out every night, really ‘making the most’ of living in London. But then I remember, if I’m tired (and would really rather be relaxing on the sofa) then I’m not really going to enjoy being out, so what’s the point? So I make a point of really enjoying and savoring staying in! #JOMO (Joy of Missing out!)
TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF
When we take the pressure off ourselves – we’re able to access our creativity, intelligence and inner wisdom so much more easily. We can listen to ourselves and hear what it is we really want and take action that feels inspired, rather than forced. When I first learned this – it seemed like magic! These days I trust that the right opportunities are coming to me and when I focus on taking care of myself – and make time to relax – I’m much more able to spot opportunities as they come along.
STOP THE COMPARE AND DESPAIR
Are you comparing yourself to other people? When you see the highlights of everyone’s lives on social media – it’s easy to think that everyone is getting up to awesome, crazy-fun stuff 24/7 – but I promise you it’s an illusion! Much of the time people are doing ordinary stuff, like taking out the bins, hanging out washing or filling in spreadsheets (err, hopefully, it’s not just me!) – so try not to compare yourself to others. You have your own path to walk and your path has value!
BEING RATHER THAN DOING
You are not just here to be a non-stop do’er. You were not born to be a productivity machine! What makes you happy? How can you prioritize that? As Gabrielle Bernstein says ‘Measure your success by how much fun you’re having’.
Your productivity does not affect your worth. Even if you sat on the couch all day, eating chips and watching Netflix (sounds like my ideal day) you would still be just as worthwhile and valuable just for being a human being. FACT!
THE ART OF APPRECIATION
As human beings, we have an inbuilt desire for ‘more’. More happiness, more success, more money, more shoes…This is great in some ways, because it moves us forward, but if you’re living in a state of lack because you’re always looking for more or better, it leads to unhappiness and anxiety. Happiness comes from appreciating what we have right now – so focus on what you have achieved, on the progress you’ve made and all the amazing things you do have in your life. You’ll likely realize there is a hell of a lot to be grateful for and you’ll be reminded that you are (and are doing), in fact, enough!
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING, BUT NOT EVERYTHING
Remember that. Maybe we can have it all, but not all at once. Want babies? Then you’re probably not going to have washboard abs (at least for a few months). Want to travel a lot for work? Perhaps you’ll miss out of the odd social event. Love sleep? You’re probably not going to get to go out every night then! Make decisions that are right for you and your happiness and remind yourself that you can’t be everywhere all at once.
Posted with permission from Chloe at Calmer You.