Nothing feels good about overwhelm, but unfortunately, it’s something way too many of us feel at one time or other. We can feel it at home, in our relationships or at work. Even in our own internal expectations of ourselves. For many of us, it’s a combination of all of these.
If you feel at a loss of what to do when overwhelm strikes you, then read on, and let me share with you a few tips that work for me in easing feelings of overwhelm.
When you’re in a state of overwhelm, it’s so easy for your mind to begin rushing in a hundred different directions. And if you take notice, you might even find that you’re really not breathing at all.
And when I say ‘breathe’, I mean taking deep cleansing breaths. Those breaths you feel deep down inside, at the bottom of your belly.
So what do you do when you're not breathing?
Stop whatever it is you’re doing! Pay close attention to your breath and Inhale deeply through the nose. Hold it for a couple of seconds and release the breath through your mouth. Do this three or four times and notice how you feel.
are you feeling calmer? A little bit less stressed? More aware of your thoughts? Less agitated?
You’ll be surprised how your perspective changes when you do something as simple as breathing. It’s a great habit to get into, no matter what you’re feeling!
2) Do a brain dump
Often times, feelings of overwhelm are triggered by the endless to do list that is swirling around in your head. So take out a piece of paper and a pen and do a brain dump.
Doing a brain dump is simple. Write down every single thing that you're thinking about. From things you need to buy, to projects you want to start or finish, places you want to go, adventures you want to go on.
Make the list as long as it needs to be. Once it’s out of your head, then it can be organized in a way that makes sense to you.
I find it helpful to plan a brain dump session every few months or so. This way, it allows me to get ahead of those feelings.
3) Decide what’s important
When we feel like we’re being pulled in a dozen different directions, and it’s quite obvious that we can’t do it all, it’s time to take a step back and decide what is truly important.
Take out your vision board, life vision, or your goals list and ask yourself if the things you feel pressed to do are going to take you closer to your dream life.
For instance, after a long and tiring day, is it really more important to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen or get that extra quality time with your family?
It’s okay to take the time to write for your blog while your kid is napping, instead of scrubbing the floors, because that blog is what’s going to bring you closer to your dream of quitting that job and staying home with your kids.
Realize that you can’t do it all, so make a point of sticking to what is truly important to you.
5) Take 5
Take just 5 minutes to yourself. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, but sometimes that’s all you need to put things in perspective and get that second wind to keep you going.
Go out on your deck for some fresh air. Go for a quick walk around the block. Do some stretches. Hide in the bathroom. Whatever it is you need to do to get those few minutes to yourself...do that!
6) Schedule in self-care
It is so vitally important for you to take time for yourself, and the best way to do this is to make it a habit.
For me, it’s Saturday mornings. That’s when I meet my dearest friends at the local farmers market. We grab a coffee and chat. Then I take the rest of the morning to get our weekly groceries and run errands and I head home.
It’s my time and it’s something that I need for my own sanity.
Pick a day + time and put it in your schedule. And don’t forget to tell your family that this is your time!
6) Get help/delegate
Honestly, this is the hardest one for me. Being a very independent (and often times, impatient) woman, and a single mom for several years, I am used to doing things myself. So it can be very hard to ask, and accept, help from anyone.
And, as much as we are Super Mom, we can’t do it all. Shocking...I know!
So when you feel overwhelmed, enlist the help of those around you. Whether it’s with chores around the house or with work tasks at the office, don’t let yourself get worn out by all those to dos.
Things may not get done exactly how you would do them, but they'll get done and you'll keep your sanity in the process.
7) Keep it simple
I’m the master of making things complicated. But, I am learning that some things can be much more enjoyable, and less stressful, when kept simple.
Menu plans, for example, don’t need to be complicated. As long as everyone eats decently healthy, I don’t need to be planning and making big elaborate meals. If I take the notion to make a meal that is, then it will be on my terms. When I want to do it and when I have the time.
Make it a habit to journal your thoughts. Whether you do it first thing in the morning, before bed, or simply when the mood strikes, it helps to get your thoughts out of your head.
The art of journaling helps relieve overwhelm, puts things in perspective, and is the perfect outlet to let out frustrations. It's also a great way to awaken your creative side.
Besides, who doesn’t need an excuse to go out and buy a beautiful journal?
Get out of the overwhelm trap
It’s so easy to fall in the overwhelm trap and feel like we’re far too deep to get out. But with every little step we take, and every little trick we use, we can get ourselves out.
Mainly, you want to be aware that you are feeling overwhelmed and to take the steps you need to ease those feelings.
And recognize that not all methods will work for every situation or for the level of overwhelm you might be feeling. Don’t be afraid to try different things, because the list above is definitely not an exhaustive list.
Do you have other ideas for betting overwhelm? Email me at [email protected] and share your ideas with me! I'd love to hear from you.
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