I don’t doubt that we’ve all been there. And if we’re being really honest, we’re probably all going to be there again at some point. It happens to even the most organized and productive of us from time to time. And this week it’s caught up with me!
And is it overwhelm or burnout? Sometimes I wonder, then I take a break, practice a little self-care before I get back on the horse and keep on moving! So just to define here, it’s overwhelm that’s hit me this time, not burnout (another topic for discussion) where you’ve been handling everything for far too long and now you’re just totally exhausted!
Today, actually the whole week I’ve felt kind of flooded with obligation, with so much “stuff to do”. Having taken my business on-line and rebuilding my coaching practice globally it’s been a lot to take on. I have that overwhelming feeling like I just can’t finish everything I have committed to finishing, complete everything that needs to be completed by the end of the day, while still meeting other responsibilities in my off-line business!
So I wanted to put it out to you all: How do you get through those days when you are feeling completely overwhelmed by all the obligations that you have on your plate, in that moment?
For me it’s a reminder that things are out of sync, it’s time to do a quick analysis of my priorities. I usually find that at the core of my overwhelm has been me saying “YES” to too many things, taking me away from my goals. I find that I have taken on things that I really didn’t want to do and as a result, my days and priorities end up being set by other people’s agendas and not my own. I have let things slip into a reactive mode, not my preferred planned, proactive mode. I have handed over control! And it happens every now and then.
So where do I go, what do I do now? I have broken my action plan down into three steps that work for me. It’s not rocket science and it’s still a great reminder for what we can do when we are blinded by overwhelm and loose control.
- Back to Basics – I refocus my energy on planning. I remind myself of my goals and then set myself a goal of planning one day, one week, one month at a time. Every night, I plan my next day so I can be very clear on what I want to achieve each day before it begins. Starting my day from a place of certainty with the mindset “This is what I want this day to be about” helps me deal with those moments of overwhelm because I have the next step mapped out (most of the time).
- Brain Breaks – While I still fit a lot into my day I insert more breaks into my day. When I am smashing out my day like an “Energiser Bunny” my brain does not get time to break from one activity to another. Our brain needs down time, silence in between the big stuff to bring itself back to full focus and creativity. And it doesn’t have to be a long time. 10-15 minutes is a great break. If we don’t break, our mind (well at least my mind) either goes into a head spin or starts wandering. Panic and fear may set in and you head doing the overwhelmed pathway again. For me, it can be as simple as getting up and walking around. Even making the time to walk from one appointment to another with music playing in my ears makes a huge difference. For you, it might be a quick nap (here in China they so know how to do this, an art I have yet to master), 15 minutes of stretching/meditation or simply taking a walk around the block or around the office. Whatever it is, give yourself a mental break between activities and any overwhelm will start to recede.
- Beyond Belief – I remind myself I’m not perfect. I don’t always have to have things sussed. I have a chat to myself and remind myself that overwhelm is not failure. I am the captain of my world and of my own attitude. I get to choose and generate the energy and the happiness that I feel, knowing that the more I generate the emotional energy I need in a moment to deal with the chaos, complications, difficulties and overwhelm that comes in this package we call life.
These three tips help me to get my head and my day sorted. Another strategy I use when feeling overwhelmed is to create a light at the end of the tunnel, something to strive for. A day to avoid anything that feels like work. No phone. No online access. Just things that I enjoy. Take a bath. Read a good book. Spend some time with your family and friends. Go for a walk together. This day of rest and rejuvenation will refresh you and give you the energy you need to face the trenches yet again for another week. And you will still somehow get everything done.
What I know is true, is that this day will pass and the more I choose to be the person who stands true and solid the more I feel in alignment with myself, my goals and my values.
My mantra for this overwhelming week I have had is, “I’ve got this.” “I can handle this.” The more I say this to myself, the less overwhelmed I know I will feel.
And remember if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, feel free to chat to me. Book a free 20-minute springboard session with me to see how I can help you rid yourself of overwhelm, create change and begin living your true potential.
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