5 steps for when you’re feeling overwhelmed

24th August 2019

overwhelmed

My head has been all over the place lately. It’s a combination of a lot of things going on in my life and trying to do too much, my need for control, oh and throw in my habit of worrying. I think a lot of us find ourselves overwhelmed and in this position from time to time so I wanted to share the steps I’ve been taking to get myself in a better place.

Step away

Sometimes, you just end up having too much on your plate. You’re not entirely sure how, but one day you look down and realise you’ve got enough on there to feed an army. Even if you thrive under pressure, too much is not good for anyone and can soon start to affect other areas of your life and even your wellbeing. And it’s this that led me to the point where I had to take a hard look at everything I had going on and reassess. What, realistically, could I feasibly put to one side for a short while that would free me up a little? Because there are always things you can park, just until you’re in a better position. For me, it was blogging. This probably only works if blogging isn’t your main source of income but as this is not the case for me, it was the ideal thing to put to the back of my mind. Making such a deliberate decision to excuse myself from my blog for a little bit felt a hell of a lot better than struggling to do everything anything and my blog just slipping away or ending up producing crap content. I felt in charge of my own destiny (ooer) and it felt well, good. 

Prioritise

As lovely it would be to jam my fingers in my ears and go ‘la la la la!’ and as tempted as I’ve been to cocoon myself in a duvet, it’s simply not realistic when you’re an adult with responsibilities. Sigh. So once I’d figured out the stuff I could step away from, next I worked out what I needed to prioritise. For example, our wedding planning, while certainly enjoyable, just isn’t necessary right now so there’s not really much point spending my energy there. But for other things, there are time scales which adds a degree of urgency to how long I can just sit on them for and although this makes me panic a bit when it comes to making decisions, it does help force me to get a wriggle on which sometimes, is what I really do need.

Exercise

I kind of hate myself a little bit for including this as I’ve always rolled my eyes when people have recommended exercise as a solution to an issue but I hold my hands up in defeat, exercise does help. No, I never look forward to doing it (and frankly, I never will) but there’s no denying that when my mind is feeling pretty busy, there’s something about exercise and most recently, my version of ‘running’, that leaves me feeling a lot more clearheaded. I’m pretty sure it’s something to do with boosting endorphin levels but either way, it’s doing me a lot of good.

Talk

Again, another one that feels completely obvious but I think is important to note. If you’re anything like me, your mind can completely twist things to make them seem worse than they are (am told we creative types are especially bad at this) or quite simply, to get yourself tangled and in a bit of a fluster. But sharing really is caring. I’m pretty independent and I like to think I can handle most things by myself but you know what? Sometimes you’ve just got to talk to someone. For me, that was my other half who, as the realist in our relationship, is great at talking me down and helping me unmuddle my mind. One evening, I literally word-vomited everything out so it was out there in the open so to speak and he then helped me untangle everything while adding in his own thoughts and opinions, which I really value. I’m definitely guilty of making certain things a bigger issue than they need to be and having someone to chat to can really put everything into perspective and make you think differently.

Ground yourself

I find it really easy to get myself in a state worrying about a) things I can’t control and b) things that are a long way off. This is entirely normal, obviously, but it all contributes to feeling overwhelmed. I always remember the Mark Twain quote; ‘I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.’ I’d be lying if I said this was something I think I’ll ever learn to stop completely as I genuinely think it’s part of my personality. I have, however, been doing what I can to remind myself to be more present in the moment when I find myself panicking about something in the future. I find this differs from person to person, for some, it’s apps such as Headspace, for others, it’s yoga. For me, I try to pull myself back to the present by forcing myself to focus on things around me at that moment. It could be my lunch. Our swiss cheese plant. Even something as dull as a pen. This simple exercise pulls me away from the things I am most likely fretting about, even momentarily and acts as a reminder to take things as they come.

Emily>