I'm due to have a baby in March of 2017, and I never knew (until being pregnant myself) how much pressure there is on new and expectant moms. There are about 1,000,000 things you're "supposed" to be doing before the baby arrives: take lots of supplements, eat more protein, stop drinking so much coffee, kegels, sleep more, buy things, choose a name...the list goes on and on. Oh, and on top of all that: relax! Stress hurts the baby, and you need to keep your blood pressure down.
It's a horrible, annoying spiral of "not enough" that's so easy to get sucked into.
On top of trying to be a good baby-grower, I'm running a business, which has had to shift and accommodate as I grow and approach giving birth.
I know 2016 has been a year of next-level stress and change for many of us, and we've seen that played out on a larger scale through global events.
It's not difficult these days to feel overwhelmed and like we're not doing enough. In fact, I think that's kind of the baseline for a lot of people, especially those of us who want to grow and develop into more awakened, loving professionals.
A not-so-helpful thing can happen when we're experiencing life stress: we add on the pressure to deal with that stress in a "better" way.
For example, not only did I feel the pressure to be a good pregnant woman, I found myself feeling bad about not managing that pressure in a more "enlightened" way. In an attempt to grow and develop, I'd listen to podcasts about how we need to separate from our egos more, or about how we need to manage our time more intentionally. I didn't listen to these podcasts because I really wanted to, I listened to them because I believed I wasn't handling things in "the right way."
I totally believe the things I heard on those podcasts, but berating myself for still having thoughts that made me feel anxious only compounded my sense of feeling overwhelmed.
If you're feeling the weight of a shifting world, a heavy load of responsibilities, and the pressure to constantly improve yourself, I want to share one thing you can do today to give yourself some breathing room:
Stop trying to be better.
Don't read another article about how you can change until it's because you want to. Don't get any more advice from anyone until you've taken some deep breaths and centered yourself again.
Let go of the pressure to be and do more.
Chances are, you're being and doing enough already.
I'm all for self-improvement and development, but sometimes I find myself turning the desire to grow into an obligation and another thing I'm not doing "correctly." But the thing is, we are all already growing. In the natural world, everything that is alive can't help but grow - even when it's on the path to death.
If we are part of the natural world, then we can't help but grow, either. Even in the midst of what feels like a burden we can't possibly carry or get through, we are growing. We're progressing in small ways every moment without even trying.
If you're feeling overwhelmed and like you're not handling it the way you should, please give yourself some grace and let go of the need to be better.
I know this is a hard lesson to learn - I'm learning it, too - but we have to stop hating ourselves and trust that we're evolving even when we don't feel very good.
So just be who you are today.
Do the best you can, and accept that it's enough.
When you're ready, you'll make the tweaks you need to in order to feel more grounded and less overwhelmed. Magically, those changes will be much easier to make when they come from you, not from external pressure to be better.