We all have been there – Drowning and soaking in a sense of complete overwhelm. Whether it be your job, your family, your personal affairs, financial or external sources – feeling overwhelmed from time to time is completely normal. But – just because this is a “normal” way to feel from time to time – doesn’t mean you have to remain overwhelmed, you have options.
Sometimes it takes an overwhelming breakdown to have an undeniable breakthrough.
Personally, when I feel overwhelmed it let’s me know there is an imbalance in my life that needs to be addressed. Whether it be how I spend my time, who I spend my time with or what’s missing – there is no doubt that when I feel overwhelmed – it’s due to imbalance in my life.
Just the other day – I was having a conversation with a good friend who has, excuse my French, a shit-ton of things on her plate. She felt stretched thin, emotionally and physically drained and quite frankly, uninspired.
When we feel overwhelmed and we continue to entertain the feeling of being overwhelmed – we lose our spark. Meaning, the things that we once looked forward to – no longer excite us. Our day to day affairs feel heavier than they once did before. And if you’re anything like me – feeling overwhelmed makes me an unhappy person.
So, after having a great chat with my friend, I sat down and thought about this subject for a bit. I know that feeling overwhelmed is something we all will experience from time to time, but what we do when we recognize when we are overwhelmed is equally, if not, the more important.
In our go, go, go society – feeling overwhelmed is not a foreign feeling. If anything, many people have come to accept this feeling. I hope you take a moment and realize you have options and opportunities to feel light, to feel less stressed and to feel excited about your day versus tackling your day head on with a sense of dread.
Here are 4 Things To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed
1. Cut Out Unnecessary Appointments and Meetings
Overwhelm is a sign of imbalance. Are you doing too much? Spreading yourself too thin? Over-committing yourself?
Take a moment and look at your calendar – see what you can get rid of. Do you really have to go that PTA meeting? Or what about the lunch gathering over the weekend? You get the point.
If you’re struggling with deciding what to cut out of your schedule, ask yourself this question: Does it feel light – or- Does it feel heavy?
If it feels light – keep it. These are things in our life that fill us up with great energy and connection. But if something on your calendar feels heavy – kick it to the curb. You’ll end up feeling better when you do so.
When you check in with yourself – with this question: You get freedom in return! You get to say to the world – I matter and how I spend my time matters.
2. Surround Yourself with People Who Support You
The last thing any of us need when we feel overwhelmed is to be surrounded by others who also feel overwhelmed. Or to make it worse, people who are chronic complainers or whiners. When you surround yourself with energy vampires (at least that’s how I like to visualize them) you end up giving your power to someone else. Please stop.
Being overwhelmed is normal – but chronic overwhelm is not normal and far from it! I would suggest your proactively work to diminish this way of being.
Choose who you spend your time with wisely. Spend your time with people who accept you as you are. The good. The bad. The ugly. The beautiful.
Support comes in many forms and many faces and many beings. If you know that being around a certain person or group of people will only drain your energy or cause further stress – stop being around them. And if that isn’t possible – discern very carefully how you choose to interact with them.
3. Take Inventory of What Needs To Go
This ties in with the first point, cutting out unnecessary appointments and meetings. Take inventory of how you spend your time. I mean really take inventory.
How much time and energy do you spend helping others, doing household chores, working, leisurely activities and so on. Get a clear grasp on how you spend your time. Because without this clarity – you’ll just continue to be that hamster on the wheel going round and round.
Can you cut out your daily television habit – you know the one where you watch drama unfold before your eyes? Could you outsource some household duties to someone else to create more time for yourself? It is possible for you to carve out time for yourself every damn day just to be? (And darling, the answer is always yes.)
4. Give Yourself Permission to Say NO
Many of us, I know this is true for me, create situations in life where we are overwhelmed because we overcommitted ourselves.
You have permission to say no to things you don’t want to do or don’t need to do. Furthermore, you have permission to delineate exactly how you spend your time and whom you spend it with. It’s that simple, no explanations needed.
When you say NO to others – You say YES to yourself. It’s quite simple.
Think fast: What is one thing you want to stop doing right now? Quick answer!
Great, got your answer? Now – send that email or make a call and stop doing that one thing. (Now- please be realistic with this exercise. I am not encouraging everyone to quit their jobs or stop being a parent…but you get the point!)
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed either intermittently or regularly – take a moment to go through the 4 steps above. See where you can create more breathing room for yourself. Because let’s get real here: Our time on this planet is so short, and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Do you want to look back on your life and see a perpetual pattern of continuous overwhelm? Or would you rather see amazing experiences and memories because you carved out the time and space to fully live?
Let’s continue the conversation!
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?