Kiss That Overwhelmed Feeling Good Bye!
No one is immune! I’m certain you’ve had that overwhelmed feeling at some point. It’s possible that you are feeling that way right now!
You might describe the sensation as feeling buried or like you can’t keep your head above water. You might even feel paralyzed. It’s the feeling that surfaces when something feels like it’s too much or too big! No matter what words you use to describe it. It’s not a happy feeling!
Under normal circumstances life is full! It’s fast and nonstop. There’s an overabundance of information and very little time to pause and process it all.
When Life is Overwhelming!
Add a worldwide pandemic, months of limited social interaction, a host of economic repercussions, and a steady dose of bad news, and it’s not surprising that being overwhelmed has been a reoccurring theme in my conversations with folks lately. Maybe you can relate to some of these overwhelming situations:
- Leaders dealing with and creating policies around the ever-changing Covid-19
- Individuals searching for work in this unprecedented time
- Businesses pivoting to adapt and remain relevant and viable
- Moving or remodeling
- Starting a business, new project, or new product
- Reinventing yourself (especially in the midst of a pandemic)
- Juggling work, family, life, responsibilities, etc.
- Health issues
What does that overwhelmed feeling boil down to? It’s the inability to manage (control) the mass (the sheer volume) and mess (the lack of organization).
How do you kiss that overwhelmed feeling good bye? You simplify! You are more likely to feel overwhelmed when something feels complicated! Then you take action. Here’s how:
1. Do A Brain Dump
Yep! A brain dump. Attempting to keep it all in your head only intensifies that overwhelmed feeling! Get it all out. Make a list of everything that’s cluttering your mind. Using an actual pen and paper is my preference, but if technology works for you, use your computer, phone, tablet, or any other device.
This might sound a bit overwhelming, but trust me, the overwhelming part is managing it all in your head. Sometimes writing it down reveals it isn’t as big as it seemed. Other times, it may still loom large, but you are poised to do something about it.
Once you have it all written down it is time to organize the information. How can you best group the information? You might want to organize it by…
- Category – tasks (chores, follow up, projects, etc.), feelings (frustrated with progress on a project or discouraged with work outs), what you can delegate, etc.
- A timeline – or you may prefer to write down the days of the week and list the tasks you want to accomplish on those days.
- Difficulty – order them from most difficult to easiest
- Preference – Tasks I am eager to do, OK with doing, and would rather not do
There’s no right way to organize the information – just pick a way that makes sense to you.
Next you must prioritize. What’s most important? Remember, sometimes what’s most important is invisible, like self-care, engaging in life giving activities, and spending time with God. Perhaps those kinds of activities didn’t even spill out onto paper while doing your brain dump, but that if done would make a world of difference.
4. Break It Down
Once you’ve organized and prioritized all that’s before you, it’s time to break the larger tasks down into more manageable tasks. How do you eat an elephant: one bite at a time (not that I have ever tried!).
Breaking tasks down naturally creates doable steps. I find that having a big task on my “to do” list is discouraging. Being able to check off the smaller action steps give me a sense of making progress. That’s why when I’m embarking on a big project like writing a book, revising a book, planning a webinar, or creating a workshop where there’s a lot involved, it’s essential for me to break the task down into smaller steps. The bonus – I have check list to work from!
5. Let go!
You may discover that some of the items on your list are tasks that someone else can do (even if they don’t do it the way you would) or that don’t fit in this season of life! Those are great items delegate or eliminate altogether. Be realistic. Overextending yourself only perpetuates feeling overwhelmed.
What do you need to let go of to free up physical, emotional, or mental space in your head? What physical clutter do you need to get rid of?
In order to move forward, we often have to let go!
6. Stay On Track
Often the most worthwhile projects are BIG and the “big” things in life or work can consume weeks, months, or years. It takes focus and determination to stay the course, along with staying connected to the reason the task was worth starting in the first place. You may also need systems, routines, boundaries, and/or support to help you get ‘er done!
If you are challenged by…
- Creating and implementing processes or systems
- A lack of motivation
- All-or-nothing thinking
- A victim or scarcity mentality
…then consider working with a coach. It’s vital to get to the root of those issues in order to resolve feeling overwhelmed. A coach is able to help you unravel the thinking that’s hindering you and assist you in learning new ways of dealing with overwhelm. Then you can THRIVE personally and professionally.
What are the consequences of ignoring that overwhelmed feeling? Well, it leads to stress, health issues, frustration, dulled feelings, a lack of clarity – and that’s just the beginning!
Kiss that overwhelmed feeling good bye – it’s time!
How about you? Where would you rate yourself on the overwhelmed scale?