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The biggest change that you can make to help you with overwhelm is your mindset. Your thoughts dictate your mood, which dictates your actions. There is no magic bullet.
But, I do want to share some practical advice that is beyond, stay positive. Because, that just isn’t helpful when you are in the midst of a whirlwind. These tips will help you through specific scenarios of overwhelm.
1. Micro Steps
When you are dreading a specific task, project, or to do, this is a great way to take your emotions out of the equation.
Start by writing down all the steps for the task. Get specific, and detail every phase. Then create a chart with three categories, or more, for the task. There will be To Do, In Progress, and Completed.
You may have other categories, depending on the project/ task and its needs. The list of todos you have created will start in the To Do category. As you start working on the To Dos they will make their way to each category till they are completed.
When you look at the map of tasks it is easy to see what needs to be done, what you are working on and what you have already accomplished. If the project isn’t moving along, you can easily spot what is stalling you. Do you need to start a new task in the To Do category or continue working on a task that is in the In Progress category.
This is a great way to get started with a some small simple tasks, to limit your overwhelm. I like using this for tasks that feel very overwhelm but have to be done.
Do you wake up and become overwhelmed before you have really done anything for the day. You know just getting ready will be time consuming because of the clutter, the mess, the laundry, and papers everywhere.
Our spaces impact how we feel. When we let things (from mail and dishes to laundry and old hobby supplies) build up we are constantly distracted.
Take the time to go through your closets, your hobby supplies, your kitchen and get rid of what you aren’t currently using. If you have clothes that don’t fit, get rid of them. If you want to lose weight you can always go and buy new clothes later.
Get rid of the stuff that you say you will use at some point. Like the scrapbooking supplies you bought one time, because you thought it looked cool to do. If you don’t use it now, or have signed up for a scrap booking class that starts in the next 3 months, it is time for it to go.
Most of us live with a lot of “stuff.” Stuff that we wouldn’t notice was missing if someone had taken it. Clean out your space and fill it with only items that make you feel good and that you use.
Physical clutter impacts the work your brain has to do. Visually, your brain is trying to process everything it sees, and you will think about how those pants are for work and should be hung up, that dish needs to go in the sink, that random bill on your nightstand needs to be paid, the running shoes you kick through haven’t been used in 2 weeks and now you feel bad because you haven’t run in 2 weeks.
I do not like cleaning. But I love a clean room that holds items that I love and use on a regular basis. The emptier space is freeing. Think about what you room you can start decluttering.
3. Establishing Work Boundaries
We all have different types of jobs, environments, demands, and work hours. But, we should know our jobs well enough to know how the ebbs and flows work.
Your work cannot be the only aspect of your life that defines you. You need family, hobbies, friends, alone time, exercise, and everything else that makes up life.
Establishing some hard boundaries for work will make conflicting priorities easy to decide.
This can be as simple as saying I arrive every day at 8am and leave every day by 6pm. When I make plans for the gym, a friend’s birthday party, or a night out, I keep those commitments, and notify work that I have plans.
Maybe you will commit to not check work email on Friday night and Saturday day. Maybe you make the boundary that during work hours you check your email only 3 times a day.
Within the scope of your job you can set healthy boundaries, that allows you to give 100% while you are at work, but also time and space for you when you have it planned.
Boundaries for work can be difficult to maintain because you want to succeed and move up. But, if you aren’t taking care of your needs and continually feel conflicted about choosing your priorities the stress will have an impact on your work.
Boundaries will benefit your work product as much as they benefit your whole being.
4. Figure Out How Big Your Plate Is
Some of us think we can take on the world. We continuously put more and more on our plate. It is great, we feel empowered and like rockstars. We get things done and keep moving forward.
Others of us feel that we get one more task, project, or to do beyond our daily maintenance of ourselves and work, and everything feel just like too much.
We all have different plate sizes. We all can take on different loads and that is okay. The important part of this is to realize just how much you can take on without being overwhelmed.
This can be challenging when you want to join a new group, or finally get to enter into a new project. You have to know whether there is room on your plate to do. Saying no now, will prevent overwhelm later.
Know what is already on your plate. Know how big your plate is and how much it can actually handle.
Seriously, do not compare. The constant overwhelm, stress and anxiety that you will feel doesn’t benefit your life. Being content and happy with what you have said yes to, being able to show up and give 100% to those projects only fuels your well-being and your character.
5. Plan and Prep For the Next Day
Giving one day a week or two days a month to prepping and planning will leave a lot of the tasks that always will need to be done, assigned to a specific day.
Preparing for the week would include doing laundry, making a shopping list, figuring out what meals you will be having, and preparing the food for next week.
Planning is making appointments, budgeting for the next 2 weeks, planning for future events, and researching vacation options.
When we know that every Friday evening is prepping time, then certain to do’s and stressors just fall away. You know that the groceries will be bought on the way home. Laundry will begin once you get home. Meals will be prepared for next week while laundry is going.
The fact that you needed more milk will be taken care of on Friday evening. You don’t have to worry about when you can cram in an extra trip to the store, it is planned and is happening. This also works for doing amazon purchases, Costco runs, mail drop offs, and anything else that usually has to go on repeat every month.
Plan for the days when these tasks always get done and there is no need to stress over when you will do them. Prepare for the coming week and you don’t have to worry about what to eat, what to wear, or how much extra spending money you have.
Planning and prepping can save a lot of time, money and worry. Your future self with thank you and be able to focus on work and relationships.
This was a lot to take in…but, some of this might feel too little to late. That is okay! Sign up now for a free 30 minute coaching session. I will help you walk through your overwhelm, come away feeling less stressed with a better perspective.
Gratitude. It is something that we should all continue to look for in our lives. It is now fall and going to be deep into holiday season where we are expected to be grateful for everything. Guess what, you don’t have to wait for the holidays to start showing your gratitude.
Today, is a great day to start. Looking at your life and seeing what you can be grateful for is an easy way to experience joy. It doesn’t mean that you ignore the bad things happening, the misfortune, or the wrongs of others. It means that through all that you can still see things to be grateful for.
Here are a few things I am grateful for this Fall.
There have been a lot of changes in my life just this year. My income has gone up and down multiple times. There have been health issues, grumpy times, joyous times, and challenges. Through it all I have maintained relationships that continue to support.
Those relationships with friends and family make my life better. Regardless of my income, my health issues, my joy or my challenges these people have remained here with me. It is easy to skip out on people when they are going through a lot, it can be draining to be around them. But, strong relationships means I haven’t been abandoned or forgotten.
Now, the amount of strong relationships any of us have will differ. But, it is the quality of the relationship that always will matter more. Think on your life and give thanks for the people who have remained firm in their love for you.
Sometimes their love for you may mean they disagreed with your choices, but they remained non the less a part of your life. Continue to build your strong relationships and see who can be there for.
After going through a few health issues early this year, I realized I have been taking my body for granted for some time now. I am blessed to have a body that works for me, and continues to meet my expectations. When it was not, it was a struggle to realize that my body was rebelling against me.
Our bodies are a treasure. We must love them and nurture them. Our bodies deserve hot baths, long runs, good clean food, massages, sleep, and love. I must take better care of my body. It deserves more movement and healthy food. It will get those things, because I realize that it can’t run for ever on half met needs.
If your body isn’t functioning to its highest potential remember that it needs love and kindness. It is your only one, treat it well.
I have suffered from depression and truly relish when my mind is functioning at its potential. I have focus, drive, a plan, and want to take action. When I have experienced depression I didn’t experience any of those things.
It is so important to me to love the good days I have. I have to give gratitude to my brain for firing enough dopamine and myself for not stressing over the small things.
Gratitude can be given at any time. Stop, take time to see what you should be thankful for in your life. It is important give thanks this fall. What are you grateful for.
There is the overwhelm from choices that have to be made and the overwhelm from the amount of tasks that there are to do. There is overwhelm from emergency events, or long-term effects from long forgotten choices. Overwhelm happens to all of us, in different ways, from different things. But, that sense of fear, dread, or not being able to make a choice is the same for everyone.
Overwhelm is being stuck in your head and unable to move forward. You think your burden is so great you couldn't possibly take another step.
It all starts with our mindset.
1. Negative Mindset/ Lack of Self-Care
Before we are even to the point of overwhelm our thoughts are in a negative place, which leads us to overwhelm easily. This is especially when you feel that one additional task on your to do list will send you over the edge.
You have already been telling yourself that you are stretched to the max. You have told yourself that you cant possibly take on anymore without losing it. These thoughts do nothing but set you up to fall later on.
Another big part of this is not taking care of yourself. You are running low on gas and maybe have a decent dialogue going in your head. But, a few bumps in the road can make it super easy to be negative, when you haven’t been sleeping enough, getting your alone time, or working out like you need too.
So, take a look right now at what you are telling yourself. Are you setting yourself up to have overwhelm later this week? Today? Tonight?
2. You are Given One to Many Choice
Next thing that happens is that you are given one additional task to do, one more choice to make, one more emotional thunderstorm to deal with. There is a choice in there. When will you do that additional task? What you are supposed to make for dinner? Should Tina be invited to girl's night or is 5 enough?
All choices. On their own they would be easy. But, when we are doing a lot, and have been reaffirming that we have been doing too much, for too many, with too little for, too long, well we know where that leads.
Remember that this stage with a positive mindset, and self-care doesn't lead to the next stage.
3. Brain Freezes Up or Mind Confirms Negative Talk on Overwhelm
When the brain gets too many choices it will go on the fritz. When this happens it freaks out and causes fear, which leads you to believe you are overwhelmed. Remember that the brain will make us believe some very irrational fears, because thats what it does. It likes to point out everything we should be afraid of.
Since, we don’t have to worry about being attacked by wild animals, or a warring clan, the brain has to find other things to be afraid of, like one to many choices. Sounds a little funny now, doesn’t it.
The other overwhelm of too many tasks to do, comes from stage one where you now confirm that you couldn’t possibly take on any more. And since, you couldn't possibly take on anymore, time to freak out.
4. From These Circumstances Your Thoughts Become Negative
What you tell yourself now is that you can’t make the “right” choice. There is too much to weigh and decide. You tell yourself that you don’t have the ability to do it.
When there is just one too many tasks your thoughts go to, I knew I couldn’t handle all this. I knew I was going to fail, mess this up, or have to work late hours.
Isn't it fantastic when you predict the future and you are right?! Especially about the awful, overwhelming, negative stuff. Yeah, didn't think so. Makes you wonder, if I had some different thoughts, would this be any better. I can tell you right now, yes. But, that is for next week's newsletter, I will share tactics to help you back track out of each these stages in the overwhelm cycle.
5. Reaction to the Negative Feelings Is to Feel Fear, Overwhelm, Stress, Worry, Doubt, Dread
From those thoughts you begin to feel pretty awful. You are worried and stressed about making these decision. You fear that you will make the wrong one and that choice will ruin other choices and future opportunities.
You feel stuck, unsure of how to move forward. Do you keep working the 12 hours days, while it sucks the life out of you, or do you try and figure something else out?
Your feelings lead to actions.
6. Actions or Inaction
Often, overwhelm leads to inaction. You want to bury your head in the sand and ignore the amount of stress that is weighing on you. Often this looks like taking a nap or procrastinating.
It also means not making a choice. Not moving out of the bad situation, because it would involve trying to figure out what to do next, and there feels like too many choices or none at all.
So, you stay stuck in overwhelm, until something changes. It is as simple as and as hard as changing your thoughts.
Need extra help with your stress and overwhelm? Sign up for a free 30 minute coaching call to help you with your overwhelm today.
When you are stressed your overwhelm can pop up over and over again. Even after you work through it, you still may get stressed and overwhelmed all over again.
That sense of overwhelm will continue to come up as you are stressed, maintain negative thought patterns and don’t provide yourself with the proper self-care.
What you need is to make some choices about what your non-negotiable are.
What Are Non-Negotiables
Non-negotiables are the boundaries that you have set for yourself that happen regardless of what comes up. You have a few things that cannot and will not be sacrificed regardless fo the whirlwind at work that keeps happening every week.
You keep these even when fun opportunities occur, because you have set your priorities and nurturing your well-being is at the top. The boundaries you have set are there for your benefit, your well-being.
You keep them because they help you create more joy, be more productive, and keep your sanity. Non-negotiables can not be negotiated out of. Here are some non-negotiables we all need to have. The details will look different for everyone, but the idea is the same.
Make Self-Care a Priority and Non-Negotiable
The stress feels like it keeps coming. When this is the case, you have to prioritize your self-care over everything else. Plan it each week and make it a non-negotiable. It cannot be something that you give up or give away.
Look at your calendar and give yourself chunks of time that are for you. What you do during that hour or three hour time slot is up to you. But, make it fun. Make that time worth it. Do what you need to do for yourself.
This may mean you color for an hour. Then you read for another thirty minutes and then go to bed early. Maybe this means you get in a intense, blood pumping amazing workout. Maybe this is just a time for you to meditate and journal. Whatever it is, enjoy your self-care.
Make Boundaries That Are Non-Negotiable
We set boundaries so we know how we will react and what we will do when we face certain situations. If you know what choice you will make regardless of the circumstances, it is a lot less stress when those situations arise.
Your boundaries may be no social media until 10am or no email after 8pm. That time is sacred and for you. Maybe the boundary is that you don’t even work on Sunday, or when you make plans you keep those commitments regardless of work.
These boundaries are for your benefit, to maintain your sanity. The purpose behind them can be as simple as getting a few extra minutes to sleep or keeping stress low in the evening. Create boundaries that nurture your well-being and align with your values.
Make Positive Thoughts a Non-Negotiable
Often it is our negative thoughts that lead to the overwhelm. We keep saying how stressed we are, how over overwhelmed, and spread too thin we are. It might be true, but telling yourself that over and over again, doesn’t help anyone.
No one is helped by telling yourself you can’t do any more or that you can’t get any time for yourself. Really those thoughts help you get to overwhelm more quickly.
When your mind has gone down that path, make an effort to stop it immediately. Tell yourself you have to be kind to yourself. Then start saying encouraging kind words to yourself. What we tell ourselves becomes our reality.
You continually tell yourself you can make it through this stressful season. You will make it through. You tell yourself that you can’t make it, you are overwhelmed and stressed and have no time for yourself. Then you will experience the overwhelm, the meltdowns, and feel that the stressful season never ends.
Our words have power. Make them count. What you tell yourself makes an impact on your mood and how you act. Take the time to give yourself some good feedback, compliments, encouragement and love.
Overwhelm can be hard during anytime of life. If you are struggling with a stressful season and looking for guidance through it, sign up for a free coaching call with me, Overcome Your Overwhelm.
Sometimes what we need more than anything is a coach, a mentor, someone who can see the big picture and know when we are going down a rabbit hole. I provide this help for free, right now.
When you experience overwhelm it can be challenging to know what the “right” choice is, if there is even one. The gravity of the choices can feel too heavy too keep walking around with.
Take action, stop stressing, stop the overwhelm, coaching can help you. Sign up, to start a conversation today.
The goal of these free coaching calls is to give you one tool to walk away to help you move forward, with less stress and less overwhelm. Everything won’t be solved, but you will feel better.
This is an action that you don’t have to debate. You need help with your stress and overwhelm! I am here to help you with just that. Sign up today!
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