Is overwhelm robbing you of your joy and your peace? While overwhelm may try to be your constant companion, but she is not your friend. Overwhelm is not your friend. She wears you out and makes it difficult to focus on the tasks that matter. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing to do is stop that feeling. I know this is easier said than done. If you are struggling with being overwhelmed, here are a few tips you can use to help manage these feelings and get you back to focusing on the tasks at hand.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a moment for a break. Take five minutes. Set the alarm on your phone, and take five minutes to sit somewhere quietly. Go to your bedroom, go to the bathroom, to your car, or to the park, whatever excuse you need to get out of the house or work, use it! Get away from the kids, get away from your colleagues, and give yourself five minutes to pause and be still.
Disassociate from the World for a Moment
The next is to find some time to disassociate from the world. When you’re overwhelmed, you need to give your brain a break. It needs to reset. Sometimes we don’t feel like we know how to calm ourselves down when we’re overwhelmed, so take a break. Watch a funny movie or watch some TV. Even though you’re overwhelmed because you feel like you have way too much to do, taking a break will let your brain process everything that’s going on and help you feel better. Trust me, 45 minutes to an hour out of the day or out of the week, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, is worth it.
Overwhelm creates a physical state in your body, and you need to work against it to improve how you feel. You can get physical in a few different ways. One is move. Get outside and take a long walk. Another option if you feel pent up emotions is to do something about it. Scream into a pillow. Scream into the abyss. Just let those feelings out. If you can get a massage, that’s a great way to disassociate as well. But take some time to feel the physical feels that are happening to you, and then do something to counteract those.
Phone a Friend
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, another tip that’s good to do is call a friend. Call someone who you know is a good listener and vent. Let it all out. Let them know that you’re going to vent, and say, “I just need someone to listen for a minute,” then let it all out. You’re going to feel better after you release these emotions into the universe.
Another huge tip when you’re overwhelmed is to delegate. You do not have to do everything on your own. Delegate some work—delegate tasks at your job and at home, and if you need to, put some stuff on the back burner. It doesn’t all have to happen all at once, and there are people who can help and support you.
If you don’t have anyone you can delegate something to, go ahead and try a service. Maybe you end up in your household eating beans for a week but can now afford to have someone come in and clean for you. Life is about trade-offs. In my book, that’s a fair trade-off for one week out of the year to help you feel better. To help you lighten your load.
Write a Super To-Do List
When you’re overwhelmed, all of your responsibilities are swirling around in your head, and it’s a lot to process. All of your responsibilities are why you feel crazy. Get it out. Write it down. Make your super to-do list. Literally, write down the hundred-plus tasks that you feel like you need to accomplish all on paper. Later you can rank them to decide what you will do, what you will delegate, and when you need to do it all. First and foremost, write it all down. It’s cathartic.
Reflect on Your Small Accomplishments
Lastly, I recommend you take a moment to reflect on all your past accomplishments. When you’re overwhelmed, it can feel like you’re not doing enough. You have thoughts bouncing around in your head, “I have to do this, and I have to do that, and I can’t do this, and I haven’t done that.” Often, we start telling ourselves these stories about how we’re bad moms and bad colleagues and bad wives. These negative thoughts are not valid. To counteract these feelings, take a moment, pause, and write down all the amazing things that you have done. Your kids are alive. You are dressed. They are dressed—everybody’s clean. People are fed. You showed up to work. You’re getting stuff done.
Remember the small accomplishments. Then as you have bigger accomplishments that you can think about, write those down as well. For instance, what happened last week or last month? Did you knock it out of the park with the presentation? Is your house spotless clean because you did a whole super clean last week?
Write down all the accomplishments that you’ve achieved, all of the accomplishments that are going to help you realize and reset so that you can move through feeling overwhelmed.
Take a moment to write down a few of your small accomplishments right now. Give yourself 10 minutes to write down a few things that have happened over the last month that you are proud of. Then keep this list somewhere you will see often. This list will be good to reflect on daily. This list will be a steady reminder that you are already the superwoman that you’re striving to be.
For more tips and tricks, you can check out How to Create Good Habits.
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Learn to ask for support and free your time without letting go of our responsibilities at How To Get Unstuck.