Are you wondering how to overcome overwhelm, even when you just don’t believe that you possibly can?
Our modern lives are chaotic, jam-packed and exhausting and it can be hard to make it through the day when you are feeling overwhelmed. And, because it seems that every day is the same, it can be very hard to get ahead of it all.
It IS possible to get through those overwhelming, exhausting days. All it takes is a little awareness and intention and you can do it!
Here are 5 ways to do so…
#1 – Make a list and prioritize.
When you are feeling overwhelmed and tired, just thinking about all of the things that needs to be done can shut you down for the day. And shutting you down for the day is definitely not what you need because that will only lead to more overwhelm tomorrow!
A big part of overwhelm is knowing that you have a ton to do and lots of places to be but not knowing what exactly they are. The unknown can be petrifying.
So, take a minute and make a list of everything that you think needs to be done today. Once you have a list, underline everything that REALLY needs to be done today. And then take those underlined items and prioritize what needs to be done first, second and third.
If you know exactly what needs to be done, and you can look at it in front of you, your overwhelm will immediately subside. A big piece of overwhelm is the result of just not knowing what needs to be done. Making a list lets you figure it out.
#2 – Take it one step at a time.
Once you have your list, and know your priorities, it’s important to start at the beginning. And take it one step at a time.
Another cause of overwhelm is that, in our heads, we jump too quickly ahead or start to visualize an end result that isn’t what we want it to be and so we get derailed.
I have a client who was miserable at work. She so wanted to get another job but the thought of doing so was completely overwhelming.
We talked it through and I learned that she was very intimidated by prospect of working somewhere else. I recognized what was happening. That she was so paralyzed by the end of the process that she couldn’t start the process. If we picture the end without understanding the steps it can be totally overwhelming.
So, I suggested we start at the beginning.
First, we identified what the first step would be in her job search – work on her resume. Could she do that without getting too overwhelmed? Just that. Work on her resume. Nothing else.
She agreed that she could and so she did. A week later she had her resume ready and it was time for step two – looking, but not applying, for jobs.
Take each step on your journey individually. And if something unexpected gets in the way, don’t give up. Handle it and then get back to your list and keep moving forward.
#3 – Do something for yourself.
A key part of surviving through exhaustion and overwhelm is to do something to take care of yourself. When we are at the end of our rope our tendency is to put ourselves on the back burner and everyone and everything ahead of us.
It’s important that we take even just a little bit of time to do something for ourselves and recharge our batteries.
What would work for you? Perhaps it’s a walk or a run, a mid-morning croissant snack, tea with a friend, a pedicure or even a massage. Whatever would work for you to make your day just a little more manageable. And ease the overwhelm.
#4 – Remember to eat well and dance.
When we are running around like crazy we tend to forget to eat. Or, if we do eat, we eat something that isn’t good for us.
An important part of fighting overwhelm is to make sure that we eat well, food that will fuel our journey through the day.
What kind of food? Protein is the most important – eggs, nuts, chicken, cheese. Make sure to eat a good breakfast and lunch or, at the very least, keep some protein with you to snack on. A bag of almonds in the glove box can make a huge difference.
And what do I mean by dance? I mean, getting off the couch and get your heart rate up. Nothing helps overwhelm that getting on your feet and breathing hard.
I like to dance when I get overwhelmed. I put music on and dance around my house, not caring at all what I look like, just focusing on how I feel. I get sweaty and my head gets clear and the overwhelm that was getting me down just a few minutes early gets manageable.
So, do what you like to do to get your heart rate up. You will be glad you did. I promise.
#5 – Become reacquainted with your sofa.
I know you are laughing at the thought of fitting a nap into your crazy day but if you possibly can it will make a HUGE difference.
Cat naps are proven to increase your alertness, speed up your motor performance, improve your accuracy and decision making, reduce stress and boost your creativity.
I am the queen of the 20 minutes nap in the car. I pull over in the shade or sun, depending on the season, put my seat back and snooze for 20 minutes. When I wake up my energy levels are definitely up and I can get through the rest of my day.
So, try to make some time to snooze. It will be totally worth it!
This crazy modern life we lead makes it important that understand how to deal with emotional overwhelm so we can get through our day.
And, since tropical vacations aren’t usually available to help us recharge, it’s important that we do what we can do to get through the day.
So, make a list, set your priorities and take care of yourself. If you can take care of yourself then you will better be able to take care of others. And get yourself through the day intact and ready for another one tomorrow.
You can do it!
Is your overwhelm making your life incredibly difficult?
Let me help, NOW, before it gets out of control!
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I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.