Zen sand gardenThe holidays were upon us. And the end of the year had unexpectedly brought in a mind-crushing workload that threatened to send me into stress mode. I know not to let myself go there. Stress plays havoc with my health – as it does with everyone.

Too many times we are fed this illusion that all we have to do is find a balance in our work and play and all will be fine – like it’s a destination that we can reach and stay put there for all time. But life is ever-changing. There is no way to obtain a constant balance.

For me, a better way to look at this is that when life throws us a curve or unexpected good fortune, what we really need to do is re-adjust our consciousness and actions. That means we are almost daily re-evaluating our situations. Nothing is constant.

So first, I adjusted my attitude to that of gratitude for the inflowing work. I admitted that I would much rather be a little stressed about too much work versus not having enough work! Then I sat down and figured out my priorities. My clients deserved to be given the customer service and care they expected. My family deserved to have my full attention for the holiday festivities. For myself, I needed time for exercise and writing.

Obviously something had to give until I got through the holidays. So I applied my four-step process to find a way to make it all work. Most of our stresses come from a temporary scenario that we must work through. But this method works for all those times of feeling overwhelmed –when what we need to accomplish out-weighs the time we have to accomplish it.

1. Pause. Sounds easy – but when we get wrapped up in our everyday dramas and rushing through the hours trying to accomplish all our goals, we no longer think. We get anxious and go into panic mode. When what we need to do is just stop and think. No matter that you don’t believe you have a moment to spare…when you take time to take a walk, drink a coffee and write, or take a long shower…guess what you’ll find yourself doing? Yeah, thinking! What you are really doing is creating some space to let yourself escape the drama. Which brings in the next step.

2. Get a Big-Picture View. When you take the time to think in a relaxed fashion, you can zoom-out for a bigger picture of the scenario. It doesn’t look so hopeless, and it’s easier to put everything into perspective.

3. Re-evaluate. Now that you’ve taken the time to allow your mind to think and get a big-picture view of your situation, you will be able to step back and look at your choices of action in a non-emotional, rational attitude. You can better make good decisions and changes as needed.

4. Make the Commitment. All the mental adjustments in the world are meaningless if you don’t take action. Set a schedule and make sure you give yourself reason to follow through. Make it a regular date for yourself, or share your commitment with a friend – to hold yourself accountable. But most important of all – reward yourself when you succeed in your changes!

By using the four-step process above I was able to embrace the abundance I was receiving by limiting any new appointments and concentrating on current work. I blocked out days to spend strictly with family and didn’t chastise myself when the weekly blog had to be set aside for a short time. I simply accepted that this was what had to be done to make life work and still enjoy everyday. And it did.

I hope you find this process helpful in setting up your own process to ‘re-adjust’ your days when needed.