We all feel overwhelmed from time to time. We might be juggling too many commitments, dealing with work pressures, or navigating relationship expectations. Combine that with everyday chores, keeping up with social media and the latest trends, and finding the time to relax? I'm getting overwhelmed just listing it all out!
And when we get overwhelmed, it triggers our flight or fight response. As a result, we tend to make hasty decisions to alleviate some of the anxiety and confusion, which is never a good idea. Instead, we need to change our relationship with "feeling overwhelmed" by learning how to deal with it – and move on from it.
Short Term Tools You Can Use in the Moment
Feeling overwhelmed can come out of nowhere. Here are some tricks you can use to deal with it as it's happening:
Rewind: Recognize your discomfort as well as your rush to get out of that state of mind. Sure, we hate discomfort, but within that moment is a real chance to figure out what's challenging you. Getting specific about your discomfort is a great way to sharpen your weapons against it.
Reset: Pause and take a few breaths. Take six long, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Reflect. Repeat. Move forward.
Fast Forward: Literally! Travel into the future. Visualize the clear paths ahead, where everything is calm and works out for the best.
Long Term Tools You Can Use Right Now
Limit Screen Time: Including social media, because way too much information is out there for us to consume regularly and stay balanced. Use your phone with intent rather than being motivated by compulsion. Otherwise, you'll waste idle time scrolling, which fills the mind with useless (and potentially toxic) content.
Don't Procrastinate: Feel like you always have too much to do? First, figure out if you can get rid of anything from your calendar. Second, set a strict schedule for one week (including time to relax) and adjust accordingly. It won't be long before you're a lot better at managing your time.
Let It Out as It Comes: Let out feelings on a slow drip rather than holding onto them until they burst out. Not being able to share how we feel when we really need to vent is exhausting. Instead of letting many things pile up emotionally, make sure you’re using an outlet to express how you feel as it comes up. Manageable doses of relief are crucial to peace of mind.
Set a Goal: And make sure that each decision moves you in that direction. For example, let’s say your goal is to adopt a more positive mindset. Every time you're faced with a choice throughout your daily life, make your decision with that goal in mind. Soon, you'll notice an overall, positive shift in your mindset.
Be Joyful: What brings you joy? Make sure you know what makes you smile and fills you up. When the overwhelm comes knocking, you can tap into a resource that counteracts that negativity. If you can’t seem to pull yourself away from feeling overwhelmed, find the time for some fun and lighthearted activity to help balance you out. Not only does it free the mind, it gives you something to always look forward to.
Feeling overwhelmed stems from the myth that you have to figure everything out, all at once. But when you can separate items out—and look at one decision at a time—your to-do list will seem much more manageable.