Finding Your Sweet Spot – Living Between Stretched & Stressed

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Article by 

Paul Koury

Life is demanding and as carers, even more so. You are responsible for your own family and now have the added responsibility of being the primary carer of your elderly parent(s). Wanting to please and appease everyone can easily lead to being out of balance. Either you’re going non-stop trying to do it all, or you’re done and can’t get out of bed. Being well balanced is also known as living in the sweet spot. A sustainable place between optimism and pessimism is called realism. To illustrate this the best, I use a rubber band.

The rubber band analogy

The intention of a rubber band is to stretch, so it can do its purpose, which is to hold things together. When you pull it too far, it is stressed, so it will typically break.

The sweet spot between stressed and stretched is the place you want to be to live your purpose, without breaking.

The intention of a rubber band is to stretch, so it can do its purpose, which is to hold things together. When you pull it too far, it is stressed, so it will typically break.

The sweet spot between stressed and stretched is the place you want to be to live your purpose, without breaking.

Here are examples of stretched and stressed:

Stretch

  • Learning something new
  • Train for a marathon
  • Lose 10 pounds in a year
  • Save for a vacation to pay in advance

Stressed

  • Having it be perfect yesterday
  • Unrealistic goal with no plan
  • Try to lose 10 pounds in a month
  • Pay off vacation after it’s over

How do you find that sweet spot?

You partner optimism with realism.

An optimist is someone who consistently lives in a place of hopefulness and confidence that things will work out the way they want them to. Optimists will experience disappointment in not achieving the desired outcome when they do not add in a healthy dose of realism. Without a reality check, stress can take away the fun of stretching and growing into living your potential.

Over the years, I have stretched myself on a regular basis – I have started not one, but two companies, I have done a sprint triathlon and rode a century bike ride. I love a personal challenge!

And, I can overindulge, forgetting the realism and letting the optimism take over with my audacious goals. The evidence – I put too much on my plate, try to get it all done yesterday, have to have things be perfect and have no plan or a lack of focus.

Then I break down…

Finding the sweet spot between stretched and stressed is a practice.

When that happens, I experience feelings of overwhelm and do nothing. I can cut corners, and experience a lack of energy and/or low-level depression. My “rubber band” has broken. In a world where we all have a lot to do, overwhelm happens to people on a regular basis. I travel in a circle of people that have big missions and are accomplishing important things. They often ask, “How do I find and sustain the sweet spot?” It’s a dance, two steps forward and 1 step back.

Here are three things that will help you to stay in the sweet spot.

Under commit and over deliver.

This statement is typically used in customer service; however, I invite you to use it to take care of yourself. It’s wonderful to have a clear vision and lofty goals, but best to have realistic goals. You can always “do more”, but when too much is on your plate, and you try to eat it all, you get sick and fat. Have 1-3 things to accomplish on your list. Add more as you go.

Keep your fountain full.

Make sure you do things that feed your spirit. I use the PEMS (Physical, Emotional, Mental & Spiritual) four realms method to fill my fountain. A little bit every day will help keep you in the sweet spot.

Physical
Drink more water or walk 30 minutes per day

Emotional
Gratitude attitude

Mental
Read something inspirational

Spiritual
Meditate or spend time in nature.
Weaving these activities into your day will keep you in the sweet spot.

Spend more time in the moment.

You can learn from your past and visualize your future, but checking in the moment allows you to make conscious choices for your next steps. It could be that you’re afternoon schedule is full of important tasks, and you can barely keep your eyes open. When you take time to check in, you can choose a few options to support your success – you can close your eyes for 20 minutes, take a few minutes to refresh your body by dancing or stretching or have a cup of coffee. If you don’t take care of you first, it won’t matter how busy you are. You’ll be so exhausted, you‘ll have a hard time performing quality work anyway.

If you are ready to flourish, take the time to integrate one or more of these tips to find your sweet spot between stretched and stressed. Otherwise, you may snap like a rubber band, and that won’t help you, or those that rely on you.

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