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Feeling overwhelmed? Here's how to find a better balance

In today’s busy world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a seemingly never-ending ‘to do’ list. And when you’re dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, there is even more to think about. Here, Alice McCall – author, counsellor and transformational energy healer – shares her strategies for overcoming breast cancer by slowing down and getting a better perspective.

I’ve talked to so many people lately who are overwhelmed by life, the pace of life, and the amount of activity that is expended each day. Even though we work tirelessly and frenetically, the result is that there is still a pile of things left to do. Often when this happens, we become overwhelmed, thinking that we will never catch up.

Whether you’re trying to overcome breast cancer or not, our normal coping strategies don’t work when we’re overwhelmed in this way.

This pile-up of ‘stuff’ – practical and emotional – leaves us feeling powerless. The more work we are given, the harder it is to make ourselves tackle it… and then it gets worse as we are unable to address it. This cycle continues, until, for example, we have paperwork and bills that have been untouched for months.

I know all about this, as I have been there myself. So I want to share some practical tips to help. These strategies might also help you overcome breast cancer’s daunting task list. When the feeling of mental paralysis starts entering your space:

1. Slow everything down.

Stop as many activities as you can. Do you really have to do all the things you think you do? Return all the calls? Follow up with all the actions? Can you cancel or postpone an obligation to create some breathing room? I have found this is one of the best strategies to overcome breast cancer’s – and life’s – demands. Pretend an emergency has happened (maybe one has!). If it did, wouldn’t you be able to clear your plate? This is an emergency – it is your personal emergency. Treat it the same way. Then do the minimum yourself, and set the intention for God or the universe to support a slowing of all outside activities for you. It is amazing, but it works. Once it does, you will have the space to change what’s going on and tackle your problem area.

2. Honour whatever feelings you are experiencing.

It’s probable that you will be feeling spaced out, and finding it hard to function on the physical plane. Give in to this – be with it. It is okay. Acknowledge your feelings, spend time with them and honour them. Certain stresses, of course, are unique to the active part of treatment for breast cancer. Specific strategies to overcome them include joining a support group, continuing some kind of moderate physical activity, asking for help when you need it (for household chores or errands) and letting family and friends support you. If you’re still feeling unsettled or stressed, read on.

3. Address why you feel the way you do.

Once you have spent time with your feelings, it is time to explore why they exist. Limitation is a great teacher. If we have brought ourselves to a point of being so paralysed, so limited, there is probably something about us, our thoughts or our beliefs that we need to address. If it is playing havoc with us, chances are it is something that we have disowned on a conscious level, but is playing itself out on a subconscious level. So we need to identify this, own it, clear and cleanse it.

4. Create a new image of yourself, within yourself.

If you strive to be different, to have your life different, it starts with you. Change your mind. This can be a strategy to overcome your breast cancer as a whole: visualise perfect health. Create a new image of yourself within your thoughts. Let go of beliefs and patterns that no longer serve your best interest. Keep your goal at the forefront of your mind. Take your guidance from within. Be calm, patient, and steady. Be assured of your success.

5. Enjoy the present.

Be joyful. Take a break. Do something to pamper yourself. Whether you realise it or not, if you have got to this point, you have done a lot of very important work. It is time to take a break and do something fun. Of all the strategies to overcome our challenges, this is one of the most freeing. Experience the joy of being in the present moment, as opposed to being in the ‘have to do’ zone.

6. Move through your backed up work methodically.

Now that you have allowed yourself a joyful moment, it’s time to address the work that has daunted you on the physical plane. With renewed energy, set the intention that you will tackle whatever it is that is overwhelming you easily, effortlessly, joyfully and quickly. Then work through it steadily, without putting pressure on yourself.

And remember, if at any time you feel yourself getting out of control or overwhelmed — STOP, and intentionally slow everything down. It may seem scary to do, as we worry about not meeting deadlines or expectations. But I strongly suggest that you just try it. When you do, you will see that it will all work out. Think about self-love as the foundation for all. When in need of love and support, go within. Love yourself and nurture yourself. That’s my best strategy.

Learn more about Alice’s strategies to overcome breast cancer at Reused with permission.