Four ways to stop overwhelm dead in its tracks

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Have you ever been overwhelmed by a long “To-Do List”?  It’s no secret. I battle with overwhelm all the time. In fact, it follows me wherever I go. Hence, I am on a quest to conquer it once and for all. It’s time to stop overwhelm on this farm.  Perhaps, you can benefit from sneak peek at how we strive to win in this area.  

Last week I saw this picture on Facebook:

To be honest, running two businesses, being a wife, mother, and grandmother means every day is packed full of activity.  Everyday choices include focusing on relationships which means housework always comes in last place.  Still, this sign should actually read:

My lifestyle is best described as “There appears to have been a struggle”.

Overwhelm strikes with running two businesses

My business involves living things.  Goats and plants.   They live in the context of Mother Nature who knows no limits.  Seasons come and go predictably … well, sorta.  But everyday we encounter variables beyond our control. Our primary task every day all day involves problem solving with its first cousin troubleshooting.  Overwhelm appears with ease.

While I was gone for two and half weeks, my children (nearly all adults who are beyond capable) ran both businesses.   Note, this is our busy season.  They milk the goats twice per day, feed the baby goats, prep garden beds and are planting the market garden.  The garden plots total nearly an acre of produce. 

My daughter took me through the gardens to show off their work upon my return.  Their accomplishments floored me.  They did amazing. Not only that but they had record sales on the opening weekend of Farmers Market. 

Later, my son shared concern for my daughter.  “She seems so stressed out.  We are the unluckiest farmers, she says.”  His concern prompted me to visit with my daughter later about the matter. 

She confirmed his statements. Next, she gave me a list of challenges to back it up.

The long list of woes

Here is her list of the things that went wrong during my absence.  

  1. The chicken pen is broken. They are escaping and destructive.
  2. They ate the cauliflower leaves destroying freshly transplanted veggies.
  3. The goats escaped and ate down the peas.
  4. The wind storm destroyed our last high tunnel.
  5. The zero turn mower belt broke.
  6. A sick doe.

She continued with the list affirming we were unlucky.  I listened then smiled knowingly. She shared what I knew all along.

“We are not unlucky.  We are farmers.”

Challenges plague every farmer.  Actually, they plague every human being.  Stress comes with the territory. Focusing on what’s wrong comes naturally. Yet, there are four ways to beat overwhelm effectively.

Four ways to stop overwhelm

  1. Recognize overwhelm is a choice.  Choose to let it go instead of letting it build.
  2. Break down big projects into small doable tasks.
  3. Laser focus on those tasks one step at a time.
  4. Focus on what is going right. Celebrate it.

Farming by its very nature means a long list of “To-Do’s” that will never be done.  Overwhelm abates with the realization this is a part of farming, a part of life.  Focusing on the good and a job well done helps gain traction to complete the next step. 

My favorite way to stop overwhelm is to savor what is going right.

Pictures of the good often helps our entire family enjoy the wins. Celebrate with us the joys of this action packed farm.

stop overwhelm
Spring lettuce success! Bonus, many customers have enjoyed it already!
Peas planted in February made it through many moody weather cycles and even a feast by the goats. Now a bee works doing his job.
Yes, chickens have escaped. But this one is in and sporting a dazzling headdress.
Charity’s carrot patch is looking amazing. Our weed control efforts = success!
stop overwhelm
This year’s kids are growing well and adding lots of bounce to the farm!
stop overwhelm
And this adorable kid is growing amazingly well. Gabriel is now crawling every where! He is grandma’s sidekick in the garden too!

Whether you farm or not, these simple tools can help you move through the day experiencing more joy. How do you stop overwhelm in life? I would love to hear from you.

If you know someone who is struggling with overwhelm, share these simple steps to stop overwhelm with them.

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