Feeling overwhelmed? It it very common to feel overwhelm, anxiety and even depression in today’s society. The struggle between a work and life balance has us overthinking and feeling hopeless. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. The first step in any diagnosis is to find the root cause of the issue.
Why am I Feeling Overwhelmed?
When I am feeling overwhelmed it usually comes on suddenly. The trigger that has sparked the overwhelm is not necessarily the root cause, but rather a compounded effect during the day.
Take a moment to look within and discover the root cause for your feelings. It is unlikely the lack of milk in your fridge or driver who just cut you off is the cause of your overwhelm. Rather just the straw that broke the camels back.
Once you have identified the root cause (or top three causes), we can continue. For if we only treat the symptoms, we will find it difficult to avoid feeling overwhelmed in the future.
Check your Thoughts
when we are feeling overwhelmed it is very easy for our minds to tell us long stories and drag us down into the pit of anxiety and depression.
Try to let go of these intrusive thoughts. The easiest way to do this is through meditation. Even just a few minutes of present focus on the breath can stop negative thinking and help us to regroup our thoughts more rationally.
Try to simplify and organize your thoughts, journaling can make this easier. If our mind is too full of thoughts, it is common to feel overwhelmed as there is no room left to think. Quite literally simplify, and organize your thoughts and items to do, on a list. The practice of writing out your thoughts can relieve a full and stressed mind.
it is ok to say no sometimes. Not every minute of every day needs to be full and organized. It is important to set boundaries for yourself and schedule in some down time.
Schedule and set your priorities for the week and ensure there is a block of time left for you to give your mind a break.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
By saying no to inessential social occasions or work commitments, you allow time for self-care. Make it a priority. Schedule it into your planner as if it were an important meeting with a client. You can’t be late and you cannot cancel.
Use those few hours each week for leisure, what do you enjoy? Maybe it’s a few hours of reading, or overdue gym time. Possibly have a long bath with scented candles or even enjoy the luxury of an afternoon nap.
If there is only one thing you take from this article, make it this. Sleep is very important for our minds and brains. The brain literally maintains itself during our sleep, it cuts away useless thoughts and wires and creates space for the next days activity.
We have all felt and witnessed this when we awaken with a clear head and mind.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is likely you are lacking sleep. Try to prioritize sleep this week and make note if this one change makes a difference to how you feel.
Nourish your Body and Mind
No matter how busy you are, we need food. We need to eat and hydrate. Our bodies cannot function without food and water. The body is very smart and will give us signs when it is hungry or thirsty, listen to it.
If it’s 3pm and you are feeling overwhelmed by stress and life, have you stopped to have lunch? I promise you that if you just take the time to nourish your body, it will thank you and you will feel more refreshed and productive.
Choose your foods wisely, check out these articles for more advice on healthy eating to optimize both mental and physical health:
What’s the Hurry?
I often feel overwhelmed if I am on a deadline. However, most of those deadlines are self inflicted or because I have procrastinated. Procrastination is another issue altogether and you can read more on that here.
Try slowing down, again a few minutes meditation can help with this. What if we changed our perspective on time? Read this article for my full thoughts on this. But in short, we actually have so much time! We often just need to remove distractions and prioritize correctly.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, make a 5 item to do list each day. With one large item, two medium and three small. Put them in order and single task focus on them until they’re done. By achieving all that is on our to do list, we have removed the potential for them to overwhelm us.
Just ensure you are avoiding postponing essential tasks, and tick the most important things off first.
One Day at a Time
Today is all we have, tomorrow never comes, it is always today. So be present and take one day at a time. We don’t have to have everything figured out. It’s OK not to be feel OK 100% of the time. And it is absolutely OK to ask others for help. Sometimes unloading our overwhelm, anxiety or stress to a friend or family member is enough to lift the weight of those feelings.
Take the pressure off yourself, remember your human and practice a little self compassion and patience with yourself.
Call to Action
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How do you cope with overwhelm?
What triggers your feelings of overwhelm, stress and anxiety?
How do you find the root cause of your overwhelm?
I would love to hear from you in the comments below!
Love and Light