Is it just me or does this year seem to be hurtling past at an astonishing rate? I’ve been so busy during the first half of this year with my writing, workshops, online content, and various family events that I was heading for yet another burnt out as the summer holidays arrived.
I thought my time and energy management was better, but when I find myself feeling semi-human, I have an annoying habit of accepting all the invitations, taking on all the new pieces of work, and saying yes to anything that’s offered and then wondering why I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.
Is that feeling of overwhelming something you can relate to? Did you plan on having a lovely summer spent resetting, recharging and reflecting on your goals, life, and accomplishments? Yep, me too! Instead, I spent the majority of my time stressing about deadlines, worrying about letting people down, wandering through my house mumbling about the dust/ironing/clutter, and avoiding the windows so I couldn’t see how long the grass was.
According to some self-help gurus, they believe the Universe only sends us what we can handle. Lately, I’ve struggled to believe this as I do feel like I’m drowning in the wave of ‘stuff’ that never seems to end. However, I have had a host of ‘stuff’ thrown at me throughout my life, and the majority of it has helped me to become my best self, rise to the occasion, and kick some self-help ass.
So what tools do I use to help me overcome this feeling of overwhelm and get back on track?
Here are my top five favourite tips for beating overwhelm:
Just three minutes a day can be hugely beneficial. I use the Headspace app every morning and find it helps to set me up for a calm and focused day. When I don’t meditate, I become twitchy and procrastinate much more.
Similar to meditation the simple act of stopping for a few moments and taking several deep breaths in and out can have a profound impact on your wellbeing – mentally and physically.
Write it down
I do love a good to-do list, but after listening to a talk by fellow author, Mike Gardner – The Time Management Specialist, I’ve changed the way I operate and now only schedule three items on my daily to-do list. These are a top priority for the day and the only things I need to think about. It’s a great way of condensing an overwhelming list and batching it into short daily, and more manageable, chunks.
Notice your triggers
I was going to include the tip ‘just say no’ but if you’ve already reached maximum overwhelm then that tip might be a bit too late for you! Instead, try to take a step back and see why you feel so overwhelmed. Is it too many responsibilities, coping on your own, environmental issues, or a looming deadline? Use a journal to write down your thoughts and feelings about this.
I was able to use this tool to help me understand that I’d taken on too many responsibilities. These tasks were relatively small in the grand scheme of things, but when bunched together with my other workload it became stressful.
It’s worth noting that the feelings you get when you’re overwhelmed can cause our system to flood with cortisol and adrenaline – the stress hormones, so working out why you’re feeling out of control can help avoid it in the future.
Ask for help
It’s such a simple statement, but it can be the hardest thing to do – ask for help. Wow, can you even say it out loud without cringing? Let’s imagine for one moment that I’d asked my seventeen-year-old to cut the grass, my sixteen-year-old to do a pile of ironing, and my twenty-year-old to grab a bottle of milk from the shop on his way home. How much easier would my day be if I’d only asked for help (from fully capable individuals) instead of mumbling about the chores and contemplating black coffee!
If you live alone or have younger children, this might not be so easy, but there are friends and family you can call on who would be more than happy to help. I talk about discovering our cheerleading squad in my book, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed, which is being re-released on the 3rd January 2019, and how important it is to find that base and middle line who can support you, the flyer.
Don’t let the demands of your day allow you to feel out of control. These simple tips can be used to help you manage your time more effectively, cope with any bubbling feelings of stress, and deal with the issues head-on.
It’s worth mentioning the importance of eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and making time for fun and laughter to help you take back control. Learning to ground yourself while using a variety of personal development techniques will help you navigate life’s challenges.
Do you have a favourite technique that you use when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Share it with us in the comments below or join my Motivate Me Academy VIP Facebook Group for more discussions and advice.