Overwhelm

I sometimes feel overwhelmed.

By the news and content I want to consume. By the news and content I don’t want to consume but somehow seem to be consuming.

By the podcasts I want to listen to.

By the books I want to read.

By the things I want to learn.

By obligations.

By the list of places in the world I want to visit.

By the desire to be a good friend. By wanting to be there for friends in need.

By feelings of tiredness.

By feelings of helplessness.

By feelings of loneliness.

By feelings of sadness.

By feelings of gratitude.

By a sense of too much to do and not enough time to do it.

By choices.

By the number of emails coming in on a daily basis.

By feeling as though I need to answer each email immediately in order to be doing a good job and ‘on top of things’.

By the amount of time I spend looking at a screen throughout a day.

By WhatsApp messages.

By the  conflict between the need to make social plans but also the desire to have time to do nothing or see how I feel on the day.

Here are some things I do when I start to feel overwhelmed:

I limit the number of times I check my WhatsApp messages (I don’t have the notifications on because it stresses me out). I put my phone in another room or in my bag so that it’s not within reaching distance. When I watch tv or a film at home – I move my phone out of reach. I limited myself to checking once an hour. Or once every half hour. Or once I’ve completed an email. Or once I’ve had breakfast and gone on a walk. Or not at all after 9pm.

I stop making  so many plans. I stop arranging things with friends or acquaintances. I start saying no thanks.

I read more. I go to bed an hour earlier than usual and just read – everything and anything I feel like reading and for as long as I like. I don’t check the time.

I take myself off for walks as much as possible. Long, short, ideally both within a day.

I resist making certain decisions – mainly when I feel a sense of obligation to see someone or reply to a message – giving myself time to process.

I write a sort of journal/diary in the evening before I sleep – everything and anything on my mind. Lists, ideas, plans, goals, feelings, stream of consciousness.

These things help – they give my mind a break. I start to feel less overwhelmed, less stressed, less pulled in various different directions.

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I wrote this because I like reading things were the person seems to be feeling exactly the way I feel. Or where I recognise the feeling they are describing. It reminds me that we’re all the same, we’re not alone in our thoughts, we all have to find ways to accept or deal with certain feelings.

I hope reading this has helped in some way.

If you’d like to set up a coaching session with me, click here.

Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

Start Your Side Gig

I wrote in a previous post about a few ways in which I started to manage my money, save money and make a little extra money in preparation for a career change.

Here I’ll talk more about side gigs – some of things I did to make some extra money on the side of my full time job.

This is important for two main reasons. One, as I learned from a post on the Life Your Legend blog  Earn an extra 1000 dollars a month, earning money on the side gives you a certain confidence. Knowing that you can earn money outside of your day job helps with the fear and uncertainty of what to do next. It’s proof that there are other options out there beyond your current role.

Even if you start small with something on the side, this can be a massive breakthrough when you feel stuck in your job and certain there’s nothing else out there for you, with your skills and experience. It’s the start of something new. And perhaps your side project will lead to something bigger.

The second reason is that there can be a huge amount of fear around money when it comes to career change. The fear of losing that monthly pay, of everything going wrong, of having to take a pay cut if you want to retrain or study. Starting to earn money on the side gives you an element of control, you can start a pot of savings. Psychologically this can be really impactful.

Here’s what I did. A while before I decided to leave my job, I met up with a good friend of mine from uni. She was working for a translating company as a freelance translator, checking final translations from Spanish to English. She could work anytime, anywhere, and was earning enough to survive. I was so impressed – she had freedom! She told me that with my qualifications (I have a language degree and a 1-year translation course under my belt) and experience (I’ve lived in France and worked for French companies) I’d be able to work for them too.

I applied, did some tests, passed and was taken on. I didn’t get started immediately but it was amazing knowing that I had a back-up plan should I need it. The job requests were coming in. If I worked enough hours, this could be a viable source of income for as long as I needed it. Even just going through the motions, making the application and passing the tests, gave me a confidence boost.

Another thing I turned to in order to earn money on the side was private tuition. A friend of my Mum’s has her own tutoring company and didn’t have space to teach a child touch-typing. She asked if I wanted to give it a go. I’d been taught to touch-type as a child, and I’d tutored English as a foreign language whilst living in France and working as a language assistant. I decided to give it a go! And it was so gratifying.

From then I found new clients either by word of mouth, or from a tutoring website, Tutorhunt.com.  I really enjoyed working one to one with students, seeing their confidence grow as they learned and improved. And tutoring can be well paid, from around £20-35 per hour, or more.

I ended up having a 6-month break between jobs where I did all sorts of things (read here) including working, studying and travelling. Having these two side gigs, amongst other temporary jobs, helped me through. It meant that I could keep busy, keep learning and earn some money, whilst exploring options for a new career.

Your turn

I hope this post inspires you to start your first side gig to earn extra income. Whether it’s signing up and creating a profile for a freelancing website, applying for part-time work locally, or offering a paid service to friends and family (dog sitting, helping with taxes, teaching an instrument, whatever). There’s no doubt you will have some expertise that you think everyone else has, but in fact, other people would pay you for.

If you’d like to work with me and receive some coaching in moving forward in changing your life, send me an email at joaopoku@gmail.com.

You can read my interview with Careershifters on financing your career change here: How to finance your career change

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash