Overwhelmed and Exhausted

9 Tips for Feeling Less Overwhelmed and Exhausted

No matter what our personal or professional lives involve, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted happens to each and every one of us at many points in our lives. If you ask a group of people at any given moment if they feel overworked, you’ll see plenty of hands go up. I bet yours probably would, too! So how do we work on feeling less overwhelmed and more collected? The answer lies within yourself and how you manage your time, not in anything external.

Here are my nine tips for feeling less Overwhelmed and Exhausted:

Don’t let the everyday things weigh you down and it’s okay to be imperfect!

Understand that not everything you do on a daily basis is essential to reaching your goals. Giving those things an unnecessary sense of importance will only add to how overwhelmed you feel. Remember it is okay not to do it all and be imperfect.

Cut out the unnecessary tasks that have become unquestioned habits

Doing what you’ve always done isn’t going to change anything. It’s time to start questioning why you’re doing certain things, and you’ll often find that you don’t need to be doing them – it’s simply become a force of habit.

Once you stop getting bogged down in the unnecessary, you’ll free up time and become more productive towards the things that count.

Always be ready to reorganise your priorities

Look at what you have to get done today, and what will get in the way of doing it. Choose the most necessary things to do, the things that cannot wait.

But you must also be willing to readjust your priorities (and your calendar) when an urgent task suddenly occurs. It’s great to get through your to-do list, but not if you’re neglecting the essential things as you do so.

Figure out the way you work best

Everyone has a different routine when they work. Maybe you do your best work later in the day, or even at night. Maybe you’re a morning person who works best when you start the day with some yoga and reflection.

No matter how you prefer to work, you must also understand if it’s actually benefitting you. If you’re not doing great work, it’s time to start experimenting with different work rhythms to see which is most effective for you.

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Less important tasks can wait – do the essentials before any others

This doesn’t just mean for the day; you need to look at what you must prioritise for the week, the month, the future.  Ascertain which tasks are most important, so that you’re working on things that provide you with the most value.

Make sure you ‘switch off’ from time to time

I bet you’re thinking, “Wait, what?? Surely she’s not serious?” Well, I am! Our brains (and bodies) need to go on autopilot sometimes.

Some interesting research has shown that we often come up with smart solutions to our problems by reviewing them, and then letting ourselves experience a period of ‘unconscious thought’.

This essentially means letting yourself ‘zone out’; doing things that don’t require much thought, like wiping down the kitchen or folding washing. When you’re not concentrating on trying to find an answer, you’re much more likely to find it!

Establish your limits

Today’s modern technology means we’re all available 24/7 – or at least we feel like we should be. The truth is, just because we all have those little devices in our pockets that allow us to communicate whenever we want, doesn’t mean we can’t put boundaries in place. We’re allowed to be ‘unavailable’ and make time for things other than work.

Decide when you’re going to stop answering calls and emails, when you’re not going to do anything work-related, and tell people those time limits. When you manage their expectations, people usually won’t mind not receiving a response right away. In fact, they’ll likely respect you for it.

Protect yourself from burning out; set healthy boundaries and stop those overwhelmed and overworked feelings in their tracks.

Really think before saying “yes” or “no”

Saying “yes” to everyone isn’t the way to get ahead and reach your goals. All you’re doing is overworking yourself and lessening the quality of your work (and your life).

Say “no” when you need to, and you can set conditions if necessary. That goes for saying “yes” as well.

Reflect on the impact that accepting the request will have on you and your goals, then decide on your answer from there.

I go further into depth on this in my blog 7 Courageous Conversations You Need to Have, if you’d like to read more.

Minimise the chance of being disturbed

When you really need to get something done, distractions are one of the biggest things standing in your way. A great tip that I often use is putting aside time where my notifications go on silent, so that no texts, emails or calls can interrupt my work. I’m a lot more productive when I’m not stopping and starting, and that’s true for just about anyone!

These 9 Tips for Feeling Less Overwhelmed and Exhausted are easy to put into practice, and are great ways to cope with the exhaustion and overwhelm that we all feel at times. Never feel guilty for feeling overworked or fatigued, just remember that you can do something about it!

Feel free to share any other tips like the ones above(Overwhelmed and Exhausted). I love hearing from you!

Quality of Life

7 Laws for Improving Your Quality of Life

The standards you set for yourself are what make up your quality of life. Your expectations of responsibility, love, personal development, happiness and values are what guides you through life, and make it or break it. Do you want to be living the best life you can, or will you waste it by not expecting or believing in what you deserve?

To live your best life means having the courage to be kind, dream big, know you deserve the best – and expect it, too! So, how do you start to improve your life? How do you raise your standards, overcome fear, and stay motivated during the rough times?

I’ll tell you, with my 7 Laws for Improving Your Quality of Life:

Be discerning about your relationships

Nobody is ever really happy if their relationships aren’t healthy. Flying solo will only get you so far, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept every relationship in your life. Sometimes, we must cut out family, friends or other relationships, for the sake of our wellbeing. When you love yourself enough to expect better from your relationships, and surround yourself with those who support, love and respect you, you’ll see a huge improvement in your life.

It’s okay to put yourself first

You can’t unleash your full personal power if you’re neglecting yourself and your needs. Focusing on yourself isn’t selfish; it’s ensuring that you can have a high quality of life and reach your potential.

Instead of putting tasks off, whether large or small, you must put aside time to tackle them. Have high standards for your performance so that you can work hard and achieve more. The courage to stand up for yourself and dedicate energy and time to your needs and goals is so important. Without this, you’re limiting your life’s quality.

Look at what can be done, not what’s standing in the way

When you’re living a high-quality life, problems and challenges aren’t anywhere near as overwhelming. You know that there is always an answer, because your sense of personal power tells you that there’s always solutions.

This type of motivation is what leads you to greater success and allows you to not be bogged down in negativity if you fail. You can then use the experience to adapt for next time and continue improving your life.

When you believe that you deserve more, you’ll see how you can make it happen, rather than what’s stopping you.

Always work on bettering yourself

None of us will ever be perfect, but that doesn’t mean we should become complacent in our personal growth or in meeting our upgraded standards.

Reflection and monitoring of all aspects of your life is key and must be done consistently. This way you can adjust what isn’t working and make changes before you squander too much of your time. Commit to always doing better for yourself and your quality of life will grow exponentially.

I love coaching others to see the GREATNESS within – find out more HERE. Join my Courageous Conversations Blog and each week you will receive the latest and greatest in Leadership and Mindset.

Respect time – yours and others’

Be prudent with how you manage your time. A lot of your personal power comes from the way you choose to use your time. From completing your most significant tasks first, to showing respect for others’ time by being early (or on time), you are demonstrating an appreciation for time that will always work in your favour.

The way you manage your time says a great deal about your character, so think about how you are with yours and others’ time – are you showing integrity, commitment and respect? If so, then you are going to improve your life, and compel those around you to do the same.

Own it when things go wrong – or right!

Shirking responsibility for the outcomes of your actions is only bringing your life quality down and impacting those around you as well.

Have the courage to take ownership of your mistakes; after all, they are another chance to learn! Mistakes aren’t the be all and end all, so change your attitude towards negative experiences and you’ll become much more resilient and adaptable.

Leaders who demonstrate the courage to take responsibility are modelling positive behaviours for their teams as well. Humility is a trait all great leaders have and display consistently.

Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and claim the recognition you deserve, either. Take ownership of the positive as well as the negative.

The best thing you can be is kind

Being kind doesn’t mean doing everything everyone asks of you; it’s important to treat yourself with kindness too.

Being kind inspires people around you to do their best and is a type of personal power that cannot be understated. The ripple effect from just one kind act can have incredible results.

Following these principles will help you improve the quality of your life and be a great influence on the quality of others’ as well.

Is there anything you’d add to this list? What else do you do to make sure you’re living the best life possible? Let me know!

Looking at stepping up in your career or business, learn more about my Courageous Leadership Course and Program! 

Sonia’s Books – Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! Grab them HERE. 

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humour will enhance any event she appears.

1. Leadership Attitude

2. Just Rock It

3. Leadership for Small Business

4. Leading the Next Generations

5. Courageous Leadership

6. Future Leaders of Leadership

7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Love My Daughter

Courage to Love My Daughter

Have you ever encountered bullying? Do you know what it feels like to have severe anxiety and depression due to other people’s actions and behaviour? This story is a heart breaking, challenging and important story for me to share. This is one of the reasons why I am on a mission to build courageous and kind people and leaders. I want to stop bullying, tall poppy syndrome and poor leadership.

This story is about the most courageous person I know, my daughter. The love you feel for a child is is truly courageous as well as overwhelming, powerful and scary all at once.

The most important leadership role is one of a parent. I remember being told in my early 20’s that it would be extremely unlikely I would have children. I was devastated so when I was told at the age of 29 shortly after I got married I was pregnant, I was shocked. My daughter Abby was born and it was the best day of my life. I never in a million years thought that a few years later I would be a full time solo mum.

Her dad had abandoned us when she was only 4 years old while we were living in Shanghai, China and left us with very little money. I remember the day we left China and I waited until she was asleep on the plane until I truly felt the ramifications of what had just happened. I sobbed the whole way home. I was so scared. However, I had stayed so courageous when it happened and I was careful to make sure she saw that I was determined to create a life where she could see how brave I was. I wanted to show her that anything was possible and I wanted to create a new life back home in Australia.

She was so little when it happened and she had to stay brave too as her mum was working long hours, putting her into before and after school care, balancing being a full time solo mum whilst running a business and household. It was tough for her. However, she became a kind and courageous child.

Then her world fell apart at age 14 due to severe bullying and cyber bullying at school. She didn’t know how to deal with the actions of others at school that were pulling her down. I didn’t either after several meetings with the school. I taught her the world of leadership and kind and courageous communication and it worked for a while but not for long.

No one knew how to deal with it – the school, police, other parents, and doctors. No one. It was at age 14 that she tried to commit suicide for the first time.

Then she had to leave school. It was dreadful. The actions of others have caused so much anxiety that she couldn’t finish school and she became terribly depressed.

There were so many times I wanted to leave. It was too much. I lost track of how many times we had visited the children’s hospital only to be told that we had to wait until our name was called. So we waited. Most times we waited and spoke with doctors for 10-12 hours each visit.

I think it was the 15th time I was sitting there after my daughter at age 15 told me she wanted to harm herself again. It was too overwhelming. She had been self-harming for years. I wanted to leave however as I did the 14 times prior, I showed up as I am her mother. Now that I think of it the total amount of visits was around 4o times. Only once did they admit her and the rest of the times they didn’t have room. They told us teenage mental health was an epidemic.

I agree.

They say you can only handle what the universe gives you.

I didn’t think I would or could ever encounter such courage in all my life. I felt shame and that I was failing her as her mother. It impacted our lives greatly. I lost friends, clients and business as well as the impact on our health and well-being. I didn’t sleep for years, as I didn’t know about her state of mind and if she would hurt herself. We went to dozens of counsellors, doctors, psychologists and so forth.

Do you know how hard it is to see a specialist for teenage mental health today? I never gave up. Even though there were times I just wanted to give up and kick her out. I wanted to leave. I couldn’t as I am her mother and it’s the most important and courageous role in the world.

Regardless of everything that was happening I knew how courageous she was and how much I love her. Believe me there were times I didn’t love her. I was lost, angry, scared, frustrated and overwhelmed. I had lost myself so many times through what she was going through. Here I am a motivational speaker and coach making an impact and difference to the world of leadership and I couldn’t help her. I felt such shame and guilt.

It was a moment in time early last year when she saw me speak at my book launch Just Rock It!. A book of inspiration and motivation that I wrote for her and others to help them see greatness within. On the way home she said, mum I think I want to speak like you and make a difference to other teenagers. I was holding back the tears. I said to her, you can do anything you set your mind to and I know you can make a difference. She just needed a purpose. So I put the wheels in motion.

“Encourage and support your kids because children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” — Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady of the United States

She spoke at two private schools here in Brisbane and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room of 300 students. She was remarkable. She was using her story and courage to make a difference. Her speech is here. It’s incredible.

Then she had the courage to go back to education and study at TAFE. She wanted to study community service and social justice. For a young girl who hasn’t finished school, she was getting amazing results and feedback. She even had the courage to volunteer at the community centre. She is now on her way to attending university she is incredibly passionate about social justice. I am just so incredibly proud of her. She has even launched her own website to speak at schools and help other teenagers. She had the courage to own this. I made sure I showed up and gave her lots of love and compassion.

She had the courage to move forward, many teenagers don’t.

Being a parent is the hardest job you will love. It takes so much courage to be a parent and the love you feel for a child is like no other.

This story and our experiences are not unique, as I now know of lots of parents who are dealing with bullying or children with mental health issues.

I wanted to share this story with you all, as I want to let you know that you are not alone. To let you know that you are courageous and brave. All they need is our love and compassion.

This is why I am on this mission regardless of whether it is a child or an adult. We need to stop bullying, tall poppy syndrome and poor leadership. How would you like it if your child was bullied at school or at work – so don’t do it yourself. We need to show everyone the love, respect, compassion and empathy they deserve. We are all unique and beautiful as human beings and we must be the change we want to see.

We lead our world and let’s show our future leaders and ourselves what being a courageous leader is all about. Let’s always be kind, compassion and courageous.

End of Story.

Thank you Sonia x

About Sonia

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognizsd as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humour will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Being a Superhero

6 Tips for Not Being a Superhero

This is a daily conversation when I meet with people. You are a superhero and I don’t know how you do it and how you juggle everything. Do you feel like this?

I don’t know why I look away when someone says I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know what to say. I just do it. However, there are days when I think the same thing. There are days where I feel I need to get my cape out of my draws and be that Super Hero. My daughter even bought me a Wonder Women cape from Movie World; it made me smile.

“There is a superhero in all of us, we just need the courage to put on the cape.” Superman

The last few years have been the toughest I have ever encountered. I am a full-time single mum who is working incredibly hard to build, run and grow a company with a teenage daughter with deliberating mental health issues. For those parents who say it gets easier, I say when? I truly love what I do however my greatest learning is that I am not a superhero. Even though it is so important to believe you can achieve and do anything you put your mind to, it is important that we also need to understand we are human.

Thing is I keep hearing stories from so many people who feel overwhelmed and are working in full on executive jobs, juggling kids and family, fitting in life, meetings, racing around dropping off kids at school, managing staff and just peddling…and so forth.

Even at times, I feel the constant pressure too. I need to be a great leader, a great coach, be a great mum, achieve as an entrepreneur, a great friend, daughter, peer…be all these hats when I just want to be me and breath. I have all these expectations of myself – and those around me at the time do as well. The overwhelm and pressure to be a Superhero or Super Human…

How do we do it all? We can’t. This is why I love coaching in this space because I get it and keep it real.

“You don’t need to be a superhero. You just need to be better than you were yesterday.”

Then a few weeks ago I came back from Melbourne after being a Keynote Speaker and I crashed. My body shut down and I was in bed incredibly sick for a week. I didn’t listen to my body. I thought I could handle the 60 hour week and be that Super Hero. I was wrong.

However, I do manage and this is what I focus on for my clients and myself.

Here are my top tips for being YOU (Not Super Hero YOU – even though we can still put on the cape!) –

  1. Great Awareness and Mindset – focus on being you and knowing who you are. Don’t be someone else and own and accept you. Focus on your strengths and the difference you bring to the world by being YOU. Even the super hero’s focus on their strengths and mindset. They also know their areas of weaknesses and don’t let it stop them.
  2. Stop thinking you need it all or can do it all at once. We can have it all but not at the same time. Stop being on all the time. Take time off and just be. Meditate and practice mindfulness.
  3. Compassion and self-belief – the greatest gift you can give yourself is to love yourself (truly and utterly) and have belief and faith in yourself. Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. Confidence is also the best outfit you can wear. Remember to practice affirmations regularly. Every week I get my clients to send me their goals and affirmations and it really makes a difference.
  4. Laugh – have fun and laugh, laugh, laugh. Remember life is too short to take things so seriously, let it go. Please do things that you love to do like singing, painting, walking, seeing a movie…anything that brings you joy.
  5. Tribe – focus on asking on surrounding yourself with people who truly love and support you. Remember to take care of them and also ask for help if you feel like your superhero powers need some strength.
  6. Practice kindness – Practice kindness to yourself and to others. Make a difference to someone else each and every day no matter how small. Make sure you have amazing and kind thoughts each day. Leadership is about practicing kindness to those around you – that’s being a SUPERHERO!

As Superman said it does take courage to put on the cape and it takes more courage to take it off and just – BE YOU. Be your OWN Super Hero!

By the way my cape in now in the wash!

About Sonia

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organizations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognized for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au