When it all feels like too much – 5 tips to help combat overwhelm

when-it-all-feels-like-too-much-5-tips-to-help-combat-overwhelm

For the most part, I’m good at multi-tasking, keeping all the plates spinning all of the time – kids, house, homeschool, work, me, life… life is hectic, and as much as I like it that way, every now and then it catches up with me and it all becomes too much.  Usually the first plate to smash is the ‘me’ plate… meaning I end up not taking such good care of myself, which in turn means everything else becomes even harder, it’s that old saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’, self-care is vital in making everything else run smoothly.

It’s easy to get sucked into never-ending to-do lists, filling our plates with far too much and trying to keep pace with the fastness of the world around us. This past six months has been a rollercoaster for me, and I’ve found myself more and more often feeling overwhelmed… suddenly my shoulders seem to be attached to my ears, my heart is pounding, my breathing shallow and I cry at the drop of a hat {this morning is a perfect example… I opened my laptop to work and burst into tears at the overwhelming ‘muchness’ of it all}

I’ve been teaching myself to take a step back when I feel like this, learning it’s OK to slow down and [utting plans in action to help me feel less overwhelmed, here are my top five tips to help loosen the grip of overwhelm;

1| TAKE FIVE – The first thing I do is walk away from whatever I’m doing. This morning that meant shutting the lid on the laptop and walking away from it. Go outside, take a few deep breaths and listen to the sounds of the world. A pause gives you enough time to gather yourself, take few deep breaths and get a little perspective and patience.

2| JUST ONE THING –  I’m trying to make this my new mantra! When I know I have a million things I should be doing, more often than not I end up panicking and not doing anything. So, once I’ve taken five, I pick one thing. Anyone thing – sometimesimes the smallest thing I need to do, sometimes the most fun, it doesn’t really matter. I tell myself all I have to do is ‘just one thing’ and do it. Forget about anything else, and focus on the task in hand. once that ‘just one thing’ is done, I always feel a little sense of ease, knowing I’ve made a start – and that I can do another ‘just one thing’.

3| BRAIN DUMP – When I’m overwhelmed, my mind is usually a swirling hive of thoughts, going round and round and driving me crazy. Writing it all out really helps me – it clears everything from my brain so I don’t have to think about it constantly. I’ll grab a sheet of paper, write ‘TODAY’ or ‘ON MY MIND’ in the middle, and create a spider diagram of everything that I think I have to get done that day. Knowing it’s all on paper means I don’t have to worry about remembering it all.

4| LET STUFF GO – If you’re anything like me, you’ll give yourself ridiculous to-do lists, trying to complete a week’s worth of tasks in a single day. Once I’ve brain dumped it all, I’ll pick the 4 or 5 most important things that actually need to be done that day {So out of the 30 things I wrote down this morning, I whittled it down to make soup, blog, answer emails, text my friend back and do some art with the kids}. Make your list of today’s tasks, and forget about the rest. You can repeat this every day if it helps! Sometimes, when I’ve made my top five list for the day, I’ll go back through the list and cross off the things that really don’t matter {like dust the tops of picture frames – I mean, really?!}

5| MOVE IT – My best secret stress reliever is exercise. It’s the one thing I never feel like doing when I’m overwhelmed {or tell myself I don’t have time for, because, HELLO I have to dust those picture frames}, but actually, taking half an hour even to move my body always makes me feel less stressed and overwhelmed, and gives me some perspective and a better attitude. If it’s nice, I’ll grab the kids and go for a walk – exercise AND nature is a killer combo, otherwise, I’ll hop on the cross trainer or do a session of yoga.

 

*What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed? 

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