How To Manage Overwhelm

1 August 2023

Some people are of the idea that when you have a long list of things to accomplish, overwhelm or not, you push and work till everything is done. If you do keep pushing on until the list is complete, there is often a crash and burn out, or the reality is an unfinished list and that awful feeling that comes with failure.

The process of working through a list needs to be coupled with other things to help your mind. One of my favourite approaches is a to-day list rather than to-do-lists which keeps things realistic, and reduces overwhelm. The mind needs to have praise so being realistic and chunking things down gives more opportunity for acknowledging achievements.

There is another way of getting things done without the struggle and stress.

The first difference is that once you are hit with the feeling of overwhelm, you must stop and take out time to step back and not work! Setting your work aside for a stretch of time and take care of YOU might feel impossible particularly when there is a lot to do, but I tell you it’s the most effective and efficient way to get back on track.

It takes courage to stop even though you have deadlines, but it makes all the difference. You might you need to step outside, take some deep breath, make a cuppa, call a friend or actually stop completely for now. Ploughing on does not mean that you will be doing your best work.

The key is to do anything that will unwind your overwhelm, not feed it. Take a break to allow things to settle down in your mind. Once you are calmer and more relaxed, you will naturally be inspired to take the next best right step toward getting things completed.

Taking a real step back from chaos in the mind allows true creativity and inspiration to bubble up. Unfortunately, it’s the way we are wired – it’s not possible can’t access any really good stuff when we are stressed or emotional.

I have 6 top tips to help you deal with it!

1. Reflect on the “why”, it is sometimes good to get to the root cause
2. Accept your feelings. I am a big fan of acknowledging whatever feelings come up rather than fighting with yourself
3. Practice mindfulness exercises, my favourite is noticing things in the room – count things you can see, things you can hear, things you can feel
4. Try breathing exercises. We are often breathing up high in our chests when we feel overwhelmed and worried. Taking time to breath deeper into your tummy is a powerful grounding exercise
5. Focus on what you can control. Sometimes it is a good idea to stop and write down what you are worried about, try 2 columns, 1 column things in my control and the other, things out of my control. When I ask people to do this exercise so often the attention is on what they can’t control which in itself is stressful and therefore they are not looking at this things that are in their control.
6. Sometimes physical touch or just moving from your work area can help to ground you.

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