We’re often told to remedy overwhelm with productivity “hacks” and time management systems. But what if the answer is to prioritize your basic needs: food, water, rest, movement, and connection.
I recently dreamed that while climbing a mountain I got stuck in the middle. I couldn’t progress up or down until someone helped me climb back down to the bottom. Standing at the base of the mountain, I was grateful for the rescue, but also wondered, “Why didn’t they help me climb to the top?” Then I realized that they helped me get unstuck by getting my feet back on the ground. Back to the bottom of Maslow’s Pyramid.
As the pace of post-2020 life continues to pick up, I’ve noticed that one of the things my overwhelmed clients need most to reach their Big Vision is to get off the mountain. To remedy overwhelm, they need to build a strong foundation for their Big Vision: consistent food, water, rest, movement, and connection. The bricks of that foundation can look like going to bed earlier, taking a walk after work, making time to eat three meals, or having a regular phone date with a friend.
It’s not you. It’s our society
It says something that in the States not having time to eat, rest, move, or be social is considered a sign of success. Being sooooooo busy and experiencing overwhelm means you’re doing things “right.” We aren’t honoring the basic ingredients of human happiness. Maybe that’s why we don’t make it a priority that everyone has equal access to those basic needs.
If you have the privilege of having consistent access to food, water, sleep, movement, and connection, appreciate it. Nurture it. Make time for it. Your Big Vision for your work in the world will grow from there.