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When I consider what is in my bucket on a daily basis, it does not consist of a list, a collection of things I want to do before I leave this earth. No, my bucket is all about the things which are stressing me out, stopping me from moving forward and doing what I really want to do. It’s the unhelpful thoughts whirring round my head, ‘I’ve got too much to do’, ‘what if people don’t like what I have to say’ that never reach a resolution because they are exactly that, all in my head.
This week my bucket was getting pretty full up of World Book Day at school as my youngest son did not want to use the existing Horrid Henry costume and was insisting on going as Paddington Bear. When my very creative ‘go to’ friend in this department highlighted the challenges in getting an outfit together for my aspirational son, I despaired and sent a begging email to my husband to help me with the quest to convince him that Horrid Henry was the way to go.
Yes it was really but I made it so much bigger than in actually was in my head and through my constant thinking about having to sort by a required deadline it was taking up far too much space in my ‘stress bucket’. In the end we explained the challenge that I was having with said costume to my son and unexpectedly he disappeared, and came back with the solution, a different book character that wears a football kit, and the comment from him ‘I already have this in my wardrobe mummy so I am sorted’ LOVE that boy even though he drives me mad sometimes!
The amount we have in our stress bucket has a huge influence over how we experience our everyday life. However, it is not the events or experiences we have in our life which add to this bucket, it is the way we think about these events and experiences. So my perception that World Book Day was going to be another stressful event added to my to do list, became just that, (along with the battle I had with my youngest boy).
When we are busy, and have a huge amount on our plate, our thought can often become focused on all the ‘stuff’ we have to do, which easily leads to overwhelm. The overwhelm comes from not being able to make sense of what is happening, or see a solution to a particular issue, even a simple one, to coin a phrase ‘not being able to see the wood for the trees’. It is almost as if we go back over events to try and make sense of what happened. In part we can, we can seek explanations for why something was done a certain way and why choices were made at a particular time, but what we can’t do is change what happened. If this thinking is pervasive and all we do if worry, thinking about all the bad things that could happen if we don’t get something right, all it serves to do is raise our anxiety and, guess what? Increase the stress in our stress bucket.
This can have the most enormous, and unexpected impact on our sleep patterns, the way we enjoy our everyday life, our children and our relationships with our friends and family, often because it is just too hard to put into words how the thoughts we are thinking are making us feel. These continuous, repetitive thoughts won’t come up with a solution, they will serve to add to the stressful feelings we are experiencing, and make it more and more difficult to make a decision about whether we really want to get pregnant again, or create the right environment for pregnancy to happen.
So my question to you is what’s in your bucket? What is overwhelming you right now and driving you nuts. Are you feeling guilt about not getting things done, having time for yourself, shouting at the children?
I can help; I am a bucket emptying expert.