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One Thing at a Time

by Roberta

I feel overwhelmed most of the time. Does it happen to you too? That while you’re doing one thing you’re simultaneously listing all the other things you still have to do? Things with a 99% chance you won’t have time for? Maybe it’s just me, but I have a feeling it’s not. This is not a sob story though, so bear with me for a while.

You see, I was always a bit of an anxious person though I don’t think you could ever tell. I tend to send an extroverted, “relaxed” vibe, at least for most people. In the past, I’ve hopped from one career change to another, facing insecurities one office at a time. I post a lot on Social Media, I share a lot about myself. Insecure people don’t do that, right?

Enter; I’m Not Good Enough. I think it’s been lurking around for a while now, making itself manifest when I’m feeling particularly vulnerable. I’m Not Good Enough is not one to sit down and talk with, to reason with. It just lies there, heavily, on your chest. It’s lighter on some days but it’s there all right. I can still feel it. And ever since I became a mother and took on a full time job again, it’s reared its ugly head and sniffed, gaining weight with each waft of doubt.

I think it’s normal. I think every mother in my position, indeed every woman or man who has to juggle an increasing amount of responsibilities in the same amount of hours, has been through it. You look one way and you find fault with it. You look the other way and all you see are the fraying seams. I’m Not Good Enough. Am I doing the most of my hour right now? Do I know what my best use of this hour is, and can I ever know what that is? Is it spending time with my son, or prepping for a very important meeting that might decide the fate of my team? It’s all subjective and in the end, whatever I decide to do feels half-baked. Like I should have been doing something else after all.

It’s a grim vortex that can suck you in if you’re not careful. It’s overwhelming, and it’s tiring.

One thing at a time.

I didn’t do fancy New Year resolutions this year. I told myself if I could just live by this mantra, just this one, I’d be happier.

One thing at a time.

Whatever I’m doing at any moment in time, let it consume me. Let me think of nothing else. Let me be present with it, and only it.

One thing at a time.

Let me seek help because whatever motivational posters say, I might have given birth, but I’m not Wonder Woman and I can’t do it all. I don’t have more than 24 hours in a day and if I can’t fit it all, I need to adjust some things. The hours will not adjust for me.

It’s February and I’m still getting into the everyday I envision for myself. I had hoped I’d have established a healthy routine by now, but that’s life for you.

Regardless, whenever I’m overwhelmed, whenever the I’m Not Good Enough weight threatens to get heavier, I breathe in. One thing at a time.  And it actually works. I regain focus and I’m liberated from feeling I have to do a million things instead. I can focus and move on. It’s like breaking the surface of the water and inhaling a lungful of air. 

Of course I still plan my week meticulously. I’m still rushing to get everything done in time. I’m still infinitely tired at the end of every day. But at least, when I’m in the thick of it, I have a place I can go to, that somehow restores me. 

I urge you to try it, to find your space, whether it’s a personal mantra, a little stretch, breathing techniques, quick journaling, whatever works honestly. And ground yourself back in the moment.

One Thing at a Time. Right now, whatever you decide to do, is enough. You Are Enough.

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