Are You Experiencing Overwhelm In Your Life Or Business Right Now?

Overwhelm doesn’t usually happen overnight. It can creep up on you over days, weeks, months or even years. It comes in tiny layers of stress, building in your mind and showing itself sometimes in physical form. That stiff neck and shoulders you’ve had all week. A recurring headache. General lethargy and loss of interest in your favourite hobbies.

Left untreated, overwhelm can lead to more serious physical and mental conditions. So, if you see signs of overwhelm in yourself or in your family, friends, colleagues or customers, then you may have an opportunity to act, intervene, assist or remove the cause of the stress and overwhelm.

It's easy to stop overwhelm
It’s easy to stop overwhelm

Remember, it’s ok not to be ok.

Everyone has different tolerance levels. What seems easy to you may be difficult for someone else. While you learn how to do something new quickly, it might take someone else lots of practice. This can vary from social skills to practical tasks. It might be daunting attending a networking meeting, or filing your tax return, or driving on a motorway.

Everyone is different and we are all good at different tasks too. Overwhelm can cause us to doubt ourselves. A task you could do with your eyes closed suddenly seems complicated, you’ve forgotten the steps, or the directions, or the system or process. This can cause anxiety, stress, and panic.

Symptoms of overwhelm can include an increased temperature, sweating, quicker heartrate, shaking, irritability and insomnia. One of the key symptoms is our susceptibility to distractions (otherwise known as “Squirrels”). You might call it procrastinating, deferring, postponing, or messing around, but these are all side-effects of overwhelm.

Ban the Squirrels, take back control
Ban the Squirrels, take back control

There’s often a logical reason behind why you haven’t jumped at sending that email, or made that phone call, completed that purchase or done the next task on your achievement list.

I recognise my overwhelm when I am scrolling aimlessly through Facebook or find myself watching daytime TV. If I was mentally ready to do the tasks on my achievement list I wouldn’t stop for half an hour to scroll through what my friends had for dinner or where they’re going on holiday after lockdown. Online quizzes and polls wouldn’t catch my eye and I wouldn’t look at the clock and wonder where the last hour had gone.

Make time for yourself.

If you need to watch an hour of TV to unwind and relax, that’s ok. If you want to have a blitz of news from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram, that’s ok too. It’s when your list of important tasks gets set aside that you might feel overwhelm creeping up on you.

Perhaps you had a deadline to meet and now there isn’t time to get that report in for your boss. They won’t be happy and you can imagine their reaction when you have to tell them. This adds a layer of stress. Or maybe you had a client appointment to prepare for and now you’re winging it. You may be thinking you could have done better or worrying about what the client thinks of you and this could cause a layer of stress.

Tips to avoid overwhelm.

  1. Allow plenty of time to achieve tasks on your list. Can you ask for more time if needed? The idea is to remove the layer of stress brought on by unreasonable deadlines and unexpected delays.
  1. Keep an eye out for symptoms. Are you feeling rushed? Any physical signs? Do you need more skills or training? Could this task be delegated to someone else? Is there anyone you know who seems stressed, angry, tired, or tearful? These are common signs of overwhelm.
  1. Look after your body as well as your mind. Simple suggestions include homecooked meals, drinking more water, having a good night of sleep. Making the time for seeing friends, exercising, and learning new skills is as important as meeting that deadline.

I know how overwhelm can cause short term and long term problems and I work with people from all over the country to help them recognise their symptoms of overwhelm. I can help put steps into place to reduce overwhelm in your business and personal life. If you’re juggling too much something will give.

Don’t let overwhelm run your life. If you find you’re bouncing from one task to another with no time to rest or relax please get in touch with me. I will help identify where you can carry on with what you’re doing and where it makes sense to outsource or delegate tasks. No task is too big or too small and if you feel overwhelmed, please give me a call.

Rachael Chiverton, Focus Guru – Giving You Your Time, Your Way

www.getfocus.guru | 07756 772950

How To Make The Best Use Of Your Downtime

Have you ever stopped on a Sunday evening and wondered where the weekend has gone? Those 48 hours between Friday and Monday have vanished again without a trace. Have you felt frustrated about going back to work knowing there were things you wanted to do, people you wanted to see and places you wanted to go?

This is a really common situation and it doesn’t just apply weekends. It could be that week’s holiday you booked to catch up on home projects where the time drifted away. If you’re self-employed, it could be those few days waiting between projects where nothing seems to happen.

It’s important to recognise when your body is telling you it’s time to rest, relax and recharge. This is the time where your mind can process everything that’s happened and work through solutions to problems. Have you ever written down something that’s bothering you, gone to bed, and then the answer has presented itself to you the following day? Our minds have the extraordinary ability to solve almost anything with time and patience. Sometimes the more we think about something, the harder it becomes to think clearly. We can’t see the wood for the trees.

Missy lives in the moment, exploring everything as we should be doing in business
Missy lives in the moment, exploring everything as we should be doing in business

Some of the common signs telling us we need to slow down are feeling tired, slow, difficult to think or speak, loss of interest in hobbies, not wanting to see people and, if left untreated, this can start to affect our physical as well as our mental health. So, we can all agree it’s good to have downtime. But how can you make the best use of your downtime?

I’m talking about making the best use of this time, not treating downtime as work or a chore. I hope you will turn your downtime into time you take for yourself. I want to help you feel as though the time has been well-spent and not wasted.

The first step is to know when your downtime is coming. It could be looking forward to the weekend, or it could be a random day off if a client cancels a meeting or if a project is postponed.

The second step is to know what you want to achieve in your downtime. For me, I like to take a break from work to walk my dog, Missy. She enjoys the time we spend together, and I love being out in the fresh air walking in my local park. After our walks I always feel revitalised and ready to take on new tasks.

Another form of downtime for me is helping Mum with her weekly shopping. Before lockdown we would do this together, spending an hour going to the supermarket and then I would help unpack and put the food away afterwards. This usually involved a cup of tea, some biscuits, and a good catch up. Now I carry out the food shop and have the cup of tea and catch up standing outside while she packs things away.

As well as my routine of walking Missy and helping Mum, I have also added some personal projects to my Achievement List of things I would like to do. One of these is to carry out the scanning and filing of many thousands of photographs I’ve taken over the years. From a hard drive filled with random images, I am slowly working through labelling and organising the photographs into categories, holidays, people, and events. This has been on my list of things to do for a long time and it feels good to take the time to put things in order.

The third step is to put this into practice. So, the next time you have a spare half hour, half day, a week, or any period of spare time, have something ready to achieve. You’ll feel better about going back to work if you have achieved something in your downtime. It could be something as simple as making a phone call to a friend, or organising your photographs, or going on that day trip you promised yourself. But make the time to do something for yourself during your downtime and it will pay off in many different ways. You’ll feel re-energised, and ready to take on new tasks.

If you need a boost to help keep yourself relaxed and calm at work or at home, I can recommend the new calming products from Arbonne. These botanically based natural healers offer a truly relaxing experience. As the name suggests, Arbonne’s InnerCalm and SuperCalm remedies are perfect to help you relax from the inside to the outside, taking care of your wellbeing and giving your body the opportunity to become revitalised and ready for new adventures.

For help making the best use of your downtime or to find out more about the relaxing remedies, please book your free 15 minute call. I specialise in helping business owners streamline tasks and processes to free up your time and energy for the things you enjoy the most.

How 2 Litres of Water Helped Me Beat Decision Fatigue and Changed My Life

This blog is focusing on my personal journey which I talk about in presentations and in 4Sights at 4Networking meetings. I’d like to share some of the steps I’ve taken to get to where I am today. I hope my experiences will help you take control of your lifestyle, your time and your income. There are many opportunities available which easily fit around your current commitments.

Seeing plants fourish
Seeing plants flourish

It’s said on average humans make 35,000 decisions every day. Many of these decisions are made at home before we even think about going to work. For example, a typical man makes 3 decisions when choosing which shirt, trousers and socks to wear. In comparison, a woman might make 10 or more decisions including clothing, make-up, jewellery and accessories. That’s before choosing whether to have toast or cereal with tea, coffee or orange juice. So, it’s easy to see how the number of decisions each day adds up to tens of thousands of micro-decisions taking place every few seconds.

Can you imagine what it would feel like if each of these micro-decisions took several minutes to make? This is known as “Decision Fatigue” and it’s a sign our brains have become overloaded. Simple tasks become agonisingly difficult. It’s where molehills become mountains. It can feel like you’re walking through treacle. Over time, decisions can take longer and longer, until the difficulty of making a choice becomes painfully slow, causing stress symptoms, anxiety and depression.

One tip I can offer is to lay out the clothes you want to wear tomorrow as one of your last tasks before bed. In the morning everything will be ready, and you’ll have a few less decisions to make.

Our decisions have a huge impact on our lives. To do, or not to do, that is the question.

In my teenage years, I had an incredibly tough decision to make. At age 18, from a busy, active and energetic life, playing hockey at club level, swimming at county level, canoeing, playing the violin, viola and singing in voice choirs, always on the go, suddenly the backache I’d been ignoring became serious. I was given a terrible decision to make. To undergo high risk surgery or live the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

I chose surgery and after a successful operation on the 14th of October 1997 I spent 5 weeks in hospital relearning how to stand, how to walk and how to climb stairs. With the metal rods in my back, even now, I sometimes feel like a cyborg. My recovery took months of physio plus lots of support from my family and friends. Instead of the super-active lifestyle I was used to, I took up gardening, cycling and joined an orchestra. I made the decision to love the new life I had been given.

Around 15 years later, I aggravated my back slipping down some stairs. I was in agony. I had a beautiful garden that needed my attention, yet I could hardly move from the sofa. Without my care, the precious plants I’d nurtured from seeds would wither and die. They became my motivation.

Again, I had choices. Should I ask my husband to help water the plants? That was an option, but previous experience told me the plants would probably die. Should I give up? In this option, the plants would certainly die. The third option was to find a way around this. To find a viable solution.

I chose the third option. There would be a way around this problem. I just needed to find it.

To aid the recovery from my back injury, the best advice was to walk and to increase my walking every day. Once I was walking freely and unaided, I started carrying some weights around with me to build up my strength and resilience. I didn’t have traditional weights, so I made my own. I used a 2 litre bottle of water.

At first, I only filled the bottle enough so I could water one of my plants. I chose the one plant that meant the most to me. The one I wanted to help survive while I was recovering myself. Having given the plant enough water, I refilled the bottle, again just a small amount, but enough to water the next plant. It took time and patience, but in the second week I could fill the bottle enough to water 2 plants in one go. Then in the third week, I filled the bottle enough to water 3 plants. Then within a month I could fill the whole 2 litre bottle and carry it around. It was enough to make sure I didn’t lose all my garden.

It wasn’t extra money or time at the gym that helped my garden to flourish. It was the power of the 2 litre bottle of water. It gave me the strength to build up my muscles without straining my back. I regained my posture and my confidence.

Seeing the plants thrive in the garden reminded me of the power of water.

As humans, we benefit just as much as plants from drinking water. Keeping ourselves hydrated throughout the day is like putting fuel in a car. It’s like recharging a mobile phone. If you find yourself lagging during the day, if your eyes itch or you are easily distracted, take a few sips of water.

You’ll find when you’re properly hydrated, decisions are easier to make. You’ll have more energy and feel more awake. I can also recommend cutting back on tea and coffee, these drinks will dehydrate you during the day. If you need help remembering to drink more water, set an alarm or ask me to be your accountability buddy.

This is how 2 litres of water helped in my recovery from my back injury and gave me the tools to help my garden survive. Water has helped build my strength and my confidence. It helps maintain my health and has been massively beneficial for me in many ways. I believe every problem has a resolution and I enjoy thinking outside the box, finding solutions for myself and my clients.

What simple thing in everyday life has helped you?

Rachael is an excellent 4Sighter! I recently saw her 4Sight at Leek Breakfast and her story really made me reflect on ways I can stay focused when working from home. I’m now more aware of the breaks I’m taking and I’m making a conscious effort to drink more water! Thanks Rachael!” – Sarah Spicer, The English Coach, Macclesfield.

If you would like to hear my 4Sight in person with more details about my journey, surgery, recovery, the plants and the solutions I find for others, please give me a call on 07756 772950.

Merry Christmas And End Of The Year Reflections

Over the last twelve months I’ve covered many different topics through the Focus Guru and RachaelChiverton blogs. Some of the blogs have been written to address common questions I’m asked about business and contracts and others have been about mindset, creating habits and making the best use of time.

End of year reflection, what have you achieved
End of year reflection, what have you achieved

Here is a re-cap of everything I’ve covered, from my Communications and Cashflow Workshop with James Perryman, to the business skills we can learn from our pets.

I’ve had some lovely feedback from clients in different sectors who are gaining huge benefits from the improved time management and streamlined processes I have helped to implement.

If I can help you or your staff with any business related issue, please contact me either by emailing rachael@rachaelchiverton.co.uk or by telephoning 07756 772950. I offer a free 15 minute consultation and will work with you to make small changes that make a big difference.

January

February

March

April

May

June

August

September

October

November

December

Thank you for sharing this year with me. As 2019 draws to a close, I hope to continue working with you, developing new strategies, boosting your social media presence, creating new habits and being accountable with sticking to them, writing your contracts and enhancing your processes and productivity. Let’s make 2020 your best year yet!

How to look after yourself and your business in the Christmas party season

December is a great time of the year for social get-togethers and work parties. Lots of people relax, let their hair down, and there’s a party atmosphere that lasts for most of the month. I always have the feeling of closure as the year ends and lots of anticipation to see what’s next.

Many of my clients have their planned work-dos, office parties, meals out and in-office celebrations. If you have a partner who works in an office or has a team get-together, then you may have double the number of invitations to indulge in the festive spirit.

And talking of spirits, and wine, and beer, this month is renowned for excess. Lots to eat. Lots to drink. Late nights. Lots of socialising and partygoing. These indulgences can have a huge toll on our health and wellbeing, sometimes without us realising. The effect on our body and mind can be slow going, things taking longer, clouded thinking and poor decision making.

But, just like a winter cold, these symptoms can be treated without missing out on the fun.

4 Steps Hangover Kit Cure
4 Steps Hangover Kit Cure

I can recommend four things which will help your after-party hangover and keep you feeling fresh and fit to cope with your end-of-year workload.

  1. Complete Hydration

When drinking alcohol your body needs to rehydrate to clear that fuzzy, sludgy feeling that makes everything seem more difficult than usual. Complete Hydration is a product filled with electrolytes to support rehydration and make you feel normal again!

  1. Fizz Sticks

I love these and use them nearly every day to boost my health and wellbeing. Each fizz stick is packed with antioxidants, ginseng, vitamin B and natural caffeine. These help with improving your mental alertness and reducing fatigue.

  1. Rescue and Renew Detox Soap

Who can resist relaxing in a warm bath to ease away troubles? These quick-dissolving sea salt crystals contain grapefruit, orange, lavender, rosemary and ginger oil and are perfect for unwinding after talking and dancing all evening.

  1. Bio-Hydria Herbal Infusion Drink

As if these ideas weren’t enough to revitalise you, there are more ways you can stay hydrated, relaxed and focussed. Instead of relying on traditional tea and coffee, these hydrating teabags filled with chamomile, rosemary and wild thyme, are designed to give you a natural boost throughout the day.

While you’re looking after yourself and making sure you’re feeling 100%, this will naturally help your business to run smoothly, which in turn can lower your stress levels, which in turn keeps you on a healthy track for success in 2020.

If you want more time and more energy and more choice, take the time to look after yourself even more than usual during the party season.

If you would like to find out more about these “hangover cures” please get in touch on 07756 772950 or call into my pop-up shop next Thursday (19th December 2019) at the Wet Led Bar in Church Street, Macclesfield. Next Thursday is also the last posting day if you would like to order energy products to be delivered in time for Christmas. Please see my online shop at www.rachaelchiverton.arbonne.com for exciting Christmas gift ideas for friends and family.