3 Practical & Applicable Steps for Overcoming Overwhelm
Stressed? Panicked? Too much on your plate?
The results are in, sugar, you may just have a case of Overwhelmitis; easily picked up, “one of those things”.
Yeesh, not nice is it. We've all been there. Knowing that it’s common, however, doesn’t do much to help you when you’re in the thick of it. In fact, it can feel isolating, like you're incapable and down right flat in the face of it.
One of the sneaky tricks of overwhelm is how easily it can sneak up; one minute you’re spinning plates like a pro, the next one right after the other feels like it’s gone crashing to the ground.
Typically, overwhelm can make you feel like you’re failing, even when you’re not. And like many things in life, it matters very little what’s actually happening and much more so your perception of it.
During periods of high stress and intensity, it’s damn near impossible to see the wood for the trees. It feels like EVERYTHING is falling apart and you may just be the only person on the planet who can’t seem to figure *this* out. Chances are, you’re trying to figure *everything out*, likely for more than just yourself.
Even if much of what’s going on if you is usually well within your capabilities, overwhelm is a sure fire signal from your body and brain requesting hold ya fuckin’ horses, cowboy can we slow down.
From work life, relationships and high expectations through to living in a pandemic (did you hear about that?), there are plenty of ways to feel full to the eyeballs with everything you have to do, leaving very little room… for you.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say it’s unlikely you can just drop everything, whether it’s keeping food on your table or literally ensuring little ones survive, the answer of “just let go” feels much more stressful than it does helpful.
So, let’s bring in the cavalry and break down 3 simple ways to ease back some of those stressors and bring in a little more peace for yourself.
LOOK AT THE LITTLES
Kick off by dialling it back. Eh? Sounds counterintuitive at first, so let's explain...
When you’re overwhelmed, one this is clear; you’re doing too much. So, start of by bringing it back to basics. Let's check in on some of your foundations - ask yourself:
How’s my nutrition this week?
Have I been sleeping enough?
Where have I lost sight of “me” in all this?
When it comes to your subconscious, there are some base line needs that have to be met to feel a little chill. These include food, home and general feelings of safety. When these are skewed, it can throw everything else out of whack. Bringing some focus back into ensuring you feel just a little more comfortable with these lays a foundation for greater ease elsewhere.
Now, this isn’t addressed with more pressure; stress over sleep and wellbeing is real. “of course I’m not sleeping well” may be your obvious answer - however, what these questions can do is help bring in some clear action steps that can support what you can control (or have more control over) verses whatever else is going on in your life that you perhaps can’t.
Meal prep so that on busy mornings and evenings you know you’re getting nutritious foods in, rather than a bowl of cereal or cold left overs. This can communicate a strong feeling of self care, especially when you’re feeling drained elsewhere.
Being intentional with your sleep hygiene, setting clear boundaries with your phone and work; set up “night mode” from a certain time, have a box you place your phone in over night and/or ask a friend or family member to help keep you accountable.*
Write a page of journalling a day to just brain dump thoughts and feelings to support your emotional and mental wellbeing, so you can develop your self trust in checking in with yourself.
All of these steps can also support decision making, meaning the brain doesn’t feel as flustered heading into these situations.
*One of the excuses you may notice arising from setting a sleep schedule is that if you find you’re uncomfortable with stopping that you, instead of stopping, keep working in order to placate the discomfort you feel. Instead, look to handle this stress in a different way rather than ploughing on into the work. If you experience stress during the time you’re in “night mode” explore other ways to handle this and learn through it, rather than feeding the belief it is only that resolution of "getting everything done" that can bring you ease.