Overwhelm gets to all of us at some point. This has been a big thing in my life over the last couple of weeks, lockdown is easing and suddenly it is all systems go. I’ve gone from 0 to 60 in record time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and this can cause to additional issues such as stress, insomnia, anxiety and a sense of feeling lost or out of control.
The first thing that we all need to remember is that overwhelm is a perfectly natural feeling. It is your mind telling you that you are taking on too much at once. It doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve everything, it just means that you have to check in with how you are using your time and energy. Often it is more productive to focus fully on one thing at a time, than to struggle with juggling everything at once.
Below I have listed a few ideas of how we can overcome overwhelm when we feel it bubbling towards the surface. It’s vital that we are in tune with our bodies and minds to keep track of our overall health and wellbeing. All feelings and emotions are valid, especially in the strange times that we live in, what is important is that we take stock of exactly what we are feeling and why we are feeling it – with this information we can take on the world!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Use the 5-4-3-2-1 method to reset your senses and ground you into the present moment.
Name 5 things that you can see.
E.g. Looking around the room I can see a tissue box, my running shoes, a pile of coins, binoculars, and a dressing gown hung on the door.
Name 4 things that you can hear.
E.g. I close my eyes and I can hear my boyfriend doing the washing up, traffic on the road outside, children playing on the beach, and the TV on in the background.
Name 3 things that you can touch.
E.g. I reach out and I can touch the pillow on the sofa, the remote control, and my glass of juice.
Name 2 things that you can smell.
E.g. I close my eyes and I can smell the shampoo from my wet hair, and my dinner cooking from the kitchen.
Name 1 thing that you can taste.
E.g. I take a sip of my juice and keep breathing deeply.
Stop what you are currently doing and focus on something else for 30 minutes.
E.g. Reading a book.
Tidying the room that you are in.
Doing the washing up.
Taking a shower.
Going for a walk.
Identify what exactly is causing you to feel overwhelmed.
Take pen to paper and note down what is making you feel stressed, by prioritising what you are most overwhelmed by you can, in turn, prioritise how you can counteract those feelings.
E.g. I feel stressed because:
I need to clean the bathroom. (10%)
I am behind on the work for my blog. (35%)
I am trying to establish a new routine around a new job. (10%)
I am tired and am finding it hard to balance everything in my life. (20%)
I am spending a lot more time on my own, which can lead to overthinking. (25%)
Then you can start noting some ways to combat these issues.
I will make time to clean the bathroom at the weekend when I have some more time, I acknowledge that to do the job properly, I will need to do it when I am less busy.
I will use my evening to write a number of blogs that I can pre-schedule to see me through busy weeks.
I will aim to go to bed and wake up in a set routine over the coming weeks to try and get used to my new routine.
I will not drink caffeine after 4pm, and not work too late into the evening to allow me to have some time to unwind at the end of the day.
I will ensure that I have sufficient things to occupy me if I feel I am overthinking when alone, such as a good book to read.
Take your tasks one step at a time.
You are only one person, break down that to-do list and complete bite-sized chunks until you complete the larger tasks. This will make you feel like you are actually making headway with the tasks at hand and will give you the motivation to keep going.
E.g. I need to clean my entire flat before I have company over this weekend. This can feel like a HUGE task, but by breaking it down into chunks, it can feel more manageable and I can tick off the items as I go to show my progress. Cleaning the flat becomes; do the washing up, sweep the floors and change the bedding etc.
I am as guilty as anyone of feeling overwhelmed, I like to be busy and I am coming to learn the importance of recognising when you have taken on too much. Don’t forget to schedule in some downtime into your busy day-to-day. As a community here at Small World, Big Cause Blog – we are the sorts of people who know their own minds and what works for them, so you may have other tools and techniques that you find work when you feel overwhelm creeping in. Post a comment below if you have something to share and help us all work together to keep our cool and achieve whatever goals we set our minds to!
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