12 Suggestions On How To Tackle Overwhelm
On any given day, there are upwards of ten people calling for your attention. Perhaps it’s your spouse, or your children, or your coworkers. Maybe it’s your boss, or the neighbor across the street, or your parents, or your grandmother. Maybe it’s not a person that’s calling for your attention — perhaps it’s your work. Perhaps the emails don’t ever stop coming, and text messages and notifications are nonstop. Maybe your work is built around a screen, and because you want to a good job, you never unplug, and so now you have upwards of ten people calling on your attention in the flesh, and countless others calling on it from behind a screen.
And so, you get overwhelmed.
You feel as though you cannot catch up, or catch a break, or come up for air — and it’s exhausitng.
What are you to do when that happens? Here are twelve suggestions on how to handle yourself when the feeling of overwhelm hits:
- Take it one moment at a time. Rome was not built in a day, Harry Potter was not written overnight, and Hamilton took Lin-Manuel Miranda seven years to write. You feel overwhelmed because a lot is going on in your life. Remember to look at the tasks that are right in front of you, for that is where you begin.
- Make a list of tasks you need to do. Write them down so that you can actually stare at them, and then have the great satisfaction of crossing something off of your list.
- Drink more water. Your brain and your body cannot function the way it’s supposed to if you’re dehydrated.
- Remember, you’re capable of tackling this hurdle.
- Remember, you don’t have to say “yes” to everything that is demanding for your attention.
- Remember, you’re allowed to push pause on projects that are eating your time and not fueling your spirit.
- When you’re feeling overwhelmed, boundaries are a beautiful way to realign your focus, your energy, and the overflowing plate that is your life. It’s ok to limit your screen time. It’s ok to put the “do not disturb” setting on your phone. It’s ok to let the call go to voicemail. It’s ok to say, “no, I can’t help you right now.” You know what you need — so please listen to your body.
- Listen to your body. If you’re exhausted, it’s because you need more sleep, not more coffee. It’s because you are acting as if there are forty-eight hours in a given day, not twenty-four. You feel things for a reason — pay attention.
- Remember, you are capable of doing hard things.
- Remember to give yourself credit for all of the things that you have done before this moment. Right now, you’re feeling overwhelmed. But remember when you felt as if you were unstoppable, as if you could do anything you put your mind to? That person is still inside of you. They didn’t go away just because you’re having a bit of a day.
- Remember what sparks your soul on fire — and remember it’s ok to carry your heart gently through your days.
- When the overwhelm feels as if it’s too much to handle on your own, when the drinking water, and eating well and sleeping eight hours a day doesn’t seem like it’s lifting the crushing weight that’s pressing upon your spirit — please ask for help. There is no shame in that, nor is that a mark of defeat. No, asking for help is the mark of an adult. It’s wise and smart, and there is nothing wrong with holding the hands that want to help you.