With a world so busy, so competitive, so ‘must do now’, it is not surprising that overwhelm is becoming a common symptom of living in today.
But does overwhelm really exist? Or is what is hidden beneath overwhelm what we should be addressing?
Overwhelm, by definition according to Google, is to ‘bury or drown under a huge mass of something…’ or ‘have a strong emotional effect on…’; so for most who speak of being overwhelmed, this probably means drowning in life and feeling exhausted, stressed, tired, lost etc. Overwhelm essentially is the icing on the cake to whole bunch of other ingredients which make up your life, only these ingredients don’t quite go together.
Life really is simple, it is just that we have overcomplicated it into this race, an idea of living and being successful according to everyone else’s rules, and completely losing sight of ourselves in this journey, or maybe never knowing ourselves at all.
From school, to university, to work, the house, the car, the kids, the luxury lifestyle, the Pinterest perfect pictures, the minimalist approach to living, plus all the perks, the clean eating and exercising, the holidays and FaceBook snaps, the promotion, the side hustle, the absolute best. Chasing all of this on a daily basis is no doubt going to bring overwhelm, yet somehow it has become part of our normal. Who wouldn’t be overwhelmed trying to live like this? So many boxes to tick and things to do.
Tiring isn’t it?
Whilst we view overwhelm as mostly being negative, and yes it can be, it is also part of life. We need to recognise and understand the emotion of overwhelm is to, at some times in our lives, be expected. After all, we are only human, and humans are designed to have emotions.
Overwhelm is something we all feel at some point in time, and that is OK, it is there to tell us something, usually that we have too much going on, that we have lost focus and that our priorities may be a little off. Even though it may not be easy to avoid overwhelm all together, there are ways to prevent and better manage it once it does arrive.
5 tips for Managing Overwhelm
- Pause and acknowledge how you are feeling.
– Pushing on and trying to live through the overwhelm will only create more stress and frustration and make it difficult to get past where you so things can improve. When you find yourslef feeling overwhelmed, pause, ask yourself ‘What is going on for me right now?’, and give yourslef permission to reset and refocus.
- Make a list of everything on you mind
– Overwhelm is your minds way of telling you it is too full, and it doesn’t know where to focus. To help with this, list everything down that is on your mind, yes everything. From work things, to housework, to the bills you haven’t paid and phone calls you have put off returning. Once you can see everything, you are in a much better position to start to see where you can focus your energy to help you to begin to reduce your overwhelm.
– The thing with overwhelm is that it is like everything we have to do is compiled into one and we can’t seem to separate the must do’s form the should or could do’s. It all seems like ‘must do now’. The trick here is to ask yourself ‘Out of all the things on my list, what is most important?’. From here you can start to see that some things must be done now and others can simply wait.
- Let some things go.
– Overwhelm is often closely linked to perfectionism and control. Meaning, we want everything to be perfect and to be done how we like it. Well, unfortunately, with so many things going on, sometimes you just can’t have it all. It is OK to let some things go altogether, to delegate them to others or simply press pause and come back to them later. Letting things go is a simple way to ease the stress you are creating on yourself to get everything done now.
- Use the time you have.
– ‘I don’t have enough time to do all of these things…’. How often do you hear this or even say it yourself? Sure, we are all short on time, but overwhelm is exaggerated when we aren’t honest with ourselves around the time we have and how we can manage the time we do have more affectively. So, ask yourself, what time do I have available, and what can I achieve in that time frame? Set yourself realistic and manageable goals that will allow you to succeed, feel a sense of accomplishment and most importantly reduce the overwhelm you are currently feeling.
By implementing these 5 things into your daily routine, not only will you find it easier to manage overwhelm when it arrives, but you are also on the path to preventing it.