Solving simple problems

I love the idea that simple things can be done to solve or reduce problems that significantly impact us.

Whilst on a walk, I pondered on a problem I knew how to solve but had avoided. Yet, I was aware that if I did nothing, I’d get the repercussions later and potentially feel frustrated at myself and the other people involved.

When the thing that is bothering us involves other people, it is often the part of us that wants to people please, keep the peace and manage other people’s feelings that stops us saying something. It’s to the point where we’d rather experience discomfort and allow something we aren’t okay with.

That’s not a healthy or helpful way to live.

On my walk, I thought about a way to overcome this issue

Firstly make a table. In the first column, write a list of problems, challenges or anything that is bothering you.

Next, write what’s stopping you solve things.

Then, for each problem write a solution, some way to fix or reduce the problem. If you find this difficult, imagine your most confident, self assured and empowered self. What would they do, how would they solve this problem?

The next step is to pick a problem and follow what you wrote on how solve it.

This is an important lesson in problem solving. Like the NLP presupposition goes ‘if something isn’t working, do something else’.

If you’ve taken a do nothing approach and find that the problem still persists, try something else.

I also think it’s incredibly helpful to come up with a solution from the perspective of your most confident, self assured and empowered self because it’s probably what you’re working to embody.

Once you start taking action, aside from the expected discomfort of doing something new, you’ll probably find that you’re seemingly burdensome problems were actually pretty simple to solve.

What is the most loving thing that you can do?

Imagine bearing the weight of all that is difficult and challenging in your life on your shoulders all at once. Then, imagine having to go out into the world with that load and pretend that everything is fine.

After a while the load becomes too much to bear and you reach a point where you need to step back, to withdraw and retreat.

That is the most loving thing that you can do for yourself.

When you don’t feel okay and you don’t feel well (as in your overall wellbeing is in poor condition), you need to take care of yourself.

Being in situations where you can’t fully honour and accept where you’re at only makes things worse.

When you’re burdened by challenges you need to replenish and care for yourself rather than constantly be in situations that require you to put on an act and pretend you’re okay.

That can be a a difficult lesson to learn when you struggle with being vulnerable or want to be seen as someone who always has it together.

What to do when you feel like you don’t have enough time?

I think this happens to us all from time to time.

Stress and anxiety can result in time ‘speeding up’. You spend so much time feeling overwhelmed that by the time you go to take action, it already feels like it’s too late. And so you go back to feeling overwhelmed again and the cycle repeats.

Slow down

When you feel like there isn’t enough time, your instincts probably tell you to speed up but it turns out that you’re better off doing the opposite. An easy way to slow yourself down is to meditate.

Taking just 10 minutes is incredibly impactful because it’ll help to reduce overwhelm. But also, 10 minutes of meditation feels a lot longer than 10 minutes of watching a tv show. It’s sort of like time slows down when you relax which might inspire you to embrace a more relaxed way of living.

Make note of how you feel

Perhaps you feel tired, stressed, jittery or tense. What can you do to help combat those things? Identifying how you feel not just emotionally but also physically can be great a great starting point to help shift the feelings.

Stretching or a quick workout could help calm the jitters. If you’re tired, maybe you need to rest. Once you tend to your needs you can get back to doing whatever needs to be done from a much more relaxed headspace.

Write down exactly what you need to do

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by big tasks and feel like ‘there’s so much to do i don’t have enough time, I don’t know where to start’. Writing things down helps ease the anxieties because once you know exactly what you need to do it makes it much easier to start getting things done. For people like me bigger tasks need to be broken down into smaller tasks.

An example of this is when I was recently tidying my bedroom, I wrote down each specific area I wanted to tidy. Doing this made me realise the overall task wouldn’t take as long as I thought and I actually had more than enough time to do it. However, because I’d given myself several smaller tasks it meant that I could have split them over 2 or 3 days if I genuinely didn’t have enough time to do it in one day.

5 things to do for when you feel stuck

It is really easy to give advice in hindsight or just from an outsiders perspective. However, when you are in the midst of a personal challenge it can be difficult to know how to help yourself in the moment. It’s something that takes time and practice.

I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve felt stuck. Sometimes sitting around, wallowing and doing the bare minimum feels like the only thing that you can muster the effort for. However, if you’re willing to step outside of yourself and whatever situation you’re in you’ll see that there are plenty of other things you can do that would be much more useful.

Things like:

Doing a workout because endorphins make you feel good.

Going for a walk in nature because nature is a healer or will at least help you feel calm.

Venting to someone that won’t give advice because often you just want to be heard and don’t need someone to tell you what to do.

Have a solo dance party because your favourite music will always brighten your day.

Journaling to work through your feelings because it helps bring clarity.

Figure out what you need

Through periods of overwhelm it’s easy to feel lost and stuck. When there are 101 problems finding a solution can be challenging.

Often, the best place to start is by figuring out what you need in the moment.

Finish the sentence:

When I feel anxious in a crowded place, I need…

Perhaps you’re in a crowded place feeling anxious, sirens are going off in your mind and part of you just wants to go home this instant.

But all you need is a moment alone in a quiet place to do something soothing like count, a sensory exercise or tapping.

It takes practice to know what you need, practice to know when to apply it and practice to be able to take space to care for yourself.

But practice makes perfect so it’s worth a try.

Wellbeing in the workplace

I think that this matters and I think I think that this is important.

If you had a conversation with a lot of companies, particularly since this covid pandemic, they would have something to say about the importance of wellbeing.

We’re all aware that peoples mental health and general wellbeing has been impacted by the pandemic for various reasons. It could be a lack of social interaction, feeling lonely, the change in routine, fear of getting sick, job security, financial issues and more.

But it might not be the pandemic that is the issue. What about if you go to work and you’re treated poorly, ignored, lied to, there’s a lack of trust, you feel stifled, you’re constantly overlooked, people don’t listen to you and you don’t feel respected, you might not even be aware of the impact it can have or is having on you.

Those things can have a significant impact on a persons wellbeing, particularly when they’re happening regularly.

And sometimes in the workplace these things are very covert. When you speak up you get generic responses that lack sincerity but are somehow just enough. Just enough for you to feel like you were overreacting, that maybe you’re not trying hard enough and that things will be better in the future.

However, if you’ve given things a chance to get better and things haven’t improved then you need to decide if the job is actually worth it.

Are you willing to sacrifice your wellbeing for the sake of a job?

If you don’t think you’re good enough

If you don’t think you’re good enough that belief will have a major impact on how you experience life.

You’ll have a hard time identifying when you’re being treated poorly because you have such low standards for yourself. This could be with a friend, romantic partner, family member, colleague or even a stranger.

Perhaps someone is unkind to you and instead of speaking up you sit and internalise it. You find yourself almost justifying it with things like ‘it’s not that bad’, ‘they probably didn’t mean anything by it’ or ‘at least they didn’t…’. Your sense of self is so low that you’re willing to accept below the bare minimum.

This can be an awful thing to experience and can result in mental health problems like anxiety or depression. However, it can also serve as a catalyst for change. You’ll reach a point where you can no longer accept the way that you’re being treated because it feels like a betrayal. When you realise that you shouldn’t be okay with people doing things like ignore you, lie to you and overlook you, you’ll be much less willing to accept it.

Suddenly, the awareness you’ve gained has given you the opprtunity to live a very different life that you didn’t even know was available to you.

It could mean ending friendships, resigning from your job, having conversations that feel difficult, settling firm boundaries, saying no and learning to stand up for yourself.

That might seem daunting but if you focus on the fact that life will be a easier to navigate when you think better of yourself, that should at least give you the motivation to get started.

Overwhelmed

People that have have a habit of taking on more than they can manage rarely make the effort to try and ease their load. Instead they accept the period of stress as though there is no other choice. In fact they’ve come to rely on the stress and looming deadlines to spur them on and get things done.

However, this doesn’t always work. Sometimes the stress just leaves you stressed.

That’s not what you want when you’re under the impression that you can use stress to your advantage.

Sometimes stress leaves you overwhelmed and unable to focus like normal to the point where you’d rather quit than carry on. It’s not healthy to put yourself under unnecessary pressure, especially when you have the option to make things easier for yourself.

And so start paying attention to yourself. How much can you take on before you start to feel overwhelmed? Learn to start saying no before you reach your limit and end up feeling overloaded.

What needs to change?

Think about all the things that are currently bothering you, contribute to you feeling stuck or just causing a problem in your life. Write them down one by one.

Now go through each of them and think about what needs to change in order to overcome the problem. Then, write it down.

If you’re not sure, give yourself options. It could be 2 possible solutions or it could be 10.

The purpose of the exercise is to remind you that although you may feel stuck, all of your problems have solutions.

Growth points

It could be difficult, challenging and uncomfortable. But it also serves as an opportunity to learn and grow, if you’re willing to be open.

If you’re a regular reader then growth points is a term you’ll have seen me use every now and then in posts such as Bravery and uncontrollable outcomes, Day 183, It’s okay to be you and Unexpected and interesting.

However, I recently realised that I’ve never really explained the term or idea in great detail. I made the term up for myself and to be honest it’s just an alternative to the word challenge. However, the focus is on growth and overcoming rather than the difficulty of the situation.

When you face a situation that perhaps in the moment you wish wasn’t happening, it’s easy to just think that ‘it’s the most terrible thing in the world’. You then might find yourself getting caught in a downward spiral of unhelpful thoughts that leave you feeling stuck.

That mindset or perspective that you find yourself in never leads to growth. You have to find a way to get through it and see things differently.

I think the getting through it part is most challenging because it can be easy to stay stuck. A moment of sadness can turn into hours or days of wallowing.

One thing that helps is to be very conscious in how you think about the situations that come up in your life instead if just getting caught up. Acknowledge it as a challenging situation rather than blowing it out of proportion and allowing one situation to become your entire life.

And from that perspective you can begin to think about how you can grow from it. The great thing is that once you grow from it, you can now take that lesson forward with you for as long as it serves you well. Then next time something happens you can fall back that all that you’ve previously experienced, learnt and grown from.