Helen and I have recently found ourselves in a comfortable place in our lives. In fact for the first time in three years it feels as though I’m on a treadmill and I’m able to keep up with it, rather than running behind struggling to keep going.
I think everyone assumed that technology would make our lives easier. However, that simply hasn’t been the case. Whether your a business owner like us, a student, a mum or dad you can often feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day. That you’ve simply not time to do everything that you need to.
Having coped with this for three years, I want to tell you my five things to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Hopefully, you can find a method that can help you going forward.
Take A Nap or A Shower
I know that if Helen is feeling overwhelmed then everything she seems to touches goes wrong. She makes things worse, and begins a vicious circle of her getting mad at herself and doing something else wrong. Now as soon as either of us see the signs we ensure she goes for a shower or takes a nap. It’s amazing what a simple hour refresher can do.
It can be hard to pull yourself away from something. Taking the necessary ‘me time’ required when things seem so pressing. However, it’s important to understand the long-term benefits of doing so and agreeing with yourself to make this hour back later when you’re feeling better.
Many of us can find ourselves becoming overwhelmed because we simply agree to do too much. Whether it be for ourselves to further our studies or careers or for others through attending meals and parties.
We’re taking on too much and then struggling to deal with the mountain of stuff we’ve taken on. Simple maths tells us that if we remove some of the things we’re taking on we’re going to feel less overwhelmed.
You’re probably reading this saying “Everything I do, I do because I have to, because I need to!!” and I’ve often felt like this too. That said it’s important to remember that sometimes we can trick ourselves into being busy rather than being productive.
I’ve learnt to prioritise what’s really important, cut ties with friends who seem to need me too much but never give back. I’ve learnt to delegate the things I can’t do easily, or that take up too much of my time. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m somewhat a control freak. So, it’s been hard to hand over the rains on many tasks. However, I’ve trained myself to find less time consuming methods of doing things and found people better than I could ever imagine to do things quicker and better than I ever could.
Focus On Now
Sometimes we create our own sense of feeling overwhelmed. Even when we don’t have to. I for one am completely guilty of doing this. If you are Feeling overwhelmed by events taking place in a couple of days, a week, a month from now. Plenty of which I couldn’t do any earlier even if I wanted to.
Instead I try and shift my focus. I personally use the Apple reminders application to store things I need to do. I create notifications and alerts, and have different to-do lists for different reasons. I’ve also colour coded my calendar in a similar way to help me organise my life. However, just because I choose to go digital doesn’t mean you have to. There are some fantastic journals and notebooks available to help you write down your thoughts, feelings, wants, needs and to-do’s to help you focus on the now.
This one is in caps because it’s my number one. One of the greatest things to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed the first thing I do is clean (and de-clutter). It’s sometimes the easiest thing to do, and can have the most profound affect.
Now, I’m not saying spend all day cleaning the entire house top to bottom leaving you with no time to do whatever else you need to do. Instead focus on a particular area whether it be a desk, a draw, a room.
Cleaning isn’t found to only help your feelings of being overwhelmed. In fact studies have shown it helps you elevate stress and anxiety too. Becoming a minimalist I found myself in a constant state of ‘clean’ which helped neutralize my feelings of being overwhelmed.
Let me tell you something, nobody is good at multitasking.
Multitasking is the definition of spreading your attention across many tasks. Therefore by definition it means not giving any single task your full attention. If you really need to get something done then you should be focusing on it one-hundred percent.
Avoid starting anything else on your to-do list or breaking off to do anything else until that task has been completed. Then enjoy the reward of ticking it off your to-do list and moving on.
Not only should you find yourself less stressed and overwhelmed you should also find that the results of your work are much better too.
There we have it. My five things to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed. I hope that regardless of your situation you manage to put what I’ve said into action. No one fix is going to be right for all, you may find somethings work and somethings don’t – and that’s ok. It’s going to be trial and error until you find what’s right for you. If you find yourself struggling long-term then it’s important that you speak to your spouse, friends, family and / or your GP to see how they can help you further.