We all get overwhelmed at times!
Those intense feelings of pressure and emotion that trap you and keep you stuck in the swirling negative vortex of “I CAN’T HANDLE THIS!”
Whether it is for a moment, a day, a week or longer, that feeling of overwhelm is powerful in it’s crippling effect.
“Life is beautiful and life is brutal, Life is BRUTIFUL.”
We find ‘overwhelm’ in the brutal part of life and yet it is becoming more of a common thing as we walk through the increasing day-to-day rhythm of our lives.
Worry, Stress, Anxiety, Pressure, Budgets, Schedules, Sleep deprivation, Parenting, Relationships, Health, Living Situations, Future planning….. and the list of possible causes just keeps going on and on.
For this blog post I’ve put together a few thoughts and tips on how I handle and overcome the overwhelm in my life. I find that whatever I am facing, when I have a strategy, I can overcome the intensity and drama of the moment a lot quicker. I hope you will find this helpful too. It’s not rocket-science or any ‘ground breaking new information’ it is simply my plan to move through and passed the moments of overwhelm that threaten to derail me.
- NAME IT
Get it out of your head and down on paper.
Whether it is worries, tasks, issues or confessions – whatever is swirling around your head leading to those intense feelings, get it out of your head and down on paper.
I don’t trust my head and my emotions when I am experiencing the intense feelings of overwhelm. I write things down in list form (I often don’t have time or inclination to journal in times of overwhelm but know that it is also a helpful tool) If I just keep the thoughts in my head they keep swirling around in the giant vortex of my mind, getting bigger and more scary the longer I think through the ‘what if’s’ and various other dramatic scenario’s that play over and over. If I can bring some logic and order to my thoughts by naming and listing the specific worries, tasks or issues then they lose their drama and I begin to get perspective.
Perspective is the key that allows you to begin to move through the intensity and drama of overwhelm.
- CLAIM IT
Be realistic about how you got here. If it is because you’ve made some bad choices, lack discipline or is some other scenario of your own doing then OWN IT, and CLAIM IT. You won’t get anywhere if you excuse, justify or even blame someone/something else, if in reality you are living the consequences of your own choices or behaviours. Own it, claim it, confess it, whatever it takes for you to be able to move forward from that overwhelm place of trapped/stuck.
If it is because of something that is out of your control then CLAIM IT as that. Make the statement,
“I can’t control what happens to me but I CAN control how I respond to it.”
Acknowledge you are a victim of this but don’t stay there. Stir up the courage, find the strength and fix your focus on your response. You can still move forward passed overwhelm when the situation is out of your control!
- PLAN IT
Whether your overwhelm list is small or large you can make a plan to move forward. The key is to keep it simple and start small. There is no point in putting a massive life goal as number one on your list. Remember, we are trying to move through the intensity of the feelings and drama of the overwhelm moment, it’s going to take small steps to begin to walk out of it so keep your plan realistic.
If your overwhelm is because of tasks or schedule:
“Is there anything I can say ‘no’ to?”
“Is there anything I can ask for help with?”
Or try planning and blocking out realistic time slots in your day with the tasks broken down into achievable lots.
If making a list to problem solve:
- Loose weight
- Get healthy
- Go for a 10 min walk everyday
- Fill drink bottle with water and carry with me
- Buy apples
Obviously this is a couple of specific examples but sit down and make a plan/list that coincides with your cause of overwhelm list. Keep it simple and achieveable and don’t forget to tick things off as you go along – it’s so satisfying!
4. SHARE IT
Tell someone that you are feeling really overwhelmed and why. Share the emotion and the burden and then talk together about your plan to move forward. Perhaps they have some helpful ideas and hopefully some great encouragement for you, but the reason for sharing is about getting away from it being just about you – getting it out of your own head (see number 1) getting perspective and ownership of the situation (see number 2) and finding a way through it (see number 3). You’ll often hear me say “We are stronger together” and I wholeheartedly believe it! There is strength in our weakness and vulnerability with each other and we find courage for our fight when we are cheered on by our sisters. I also need to say that sharing these things with a counsellor or professional might need to be part of your plan for moving forward. As much as I am talking about general life moments of overwhelm, you may find yourself in serious situations of overwhelm that require more than just a pep-talk and perspective from me. I highly endorse and recommend getting counselling, it has changed my life for the better on numerous occasions and set me up well for the future!
5. CELEBRATE IT
I am big on celebrations! It’s less about what it is you do to celebrate and more about acknowledging the achievement, momentum and forward motion. Whether it is a happy dance everytime you tick something off your list or an organised ‘treat’ when you complete something significant. Whatever it is, you MUST celebrate and acknowledge because you may not be where you need/want to be but you ARE further ahead than you were when you started.
Overwhelm might be becoming a normal part of our hectic lives but so is stirring up the courage to overcome!
I pray that these thoughts and tips will help you as you get perspective, take ownership, move forward and get support. You ARE brave enough and strong enough to overcome whatever it is you are facing right now and I want you to know that we are cheering you on!
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