10 Strategies for Overcoming Overwhelm

Do you have so much going on that you feel overwhelmed?

A busy life with too many demands can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

Work, relationships, family, and other obligations can prove to be too much at times.

Working even harder to rectify the situation seems unreasonable when you feel as if you’re already working at full capacity.

While every season brings with it something new ( which means something leaves too) I always like to check in with my reality to set myself up for handling overwhelm.

It happens to the best of us. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t handle what you are up against….most likely, it means that you need to realize that the stress you deal with daily needs to be closed out. 

Dr’s. Nagoski, in their amazing book ‘Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle’ (can be found here: https://amzn.to/3h7nKkT) share that stress is 2-fold. Not only do we need to do our best to address and deal with our stress, but we need to also consider the stressor.

I have found that it is actually easier to deal with the stressors…you can walk away, not answer a text, etc. Once we have dealt with the stressor we need to let our body know that the stress is over. Otherwise, our body thinks a lion is STILL chasing us and pumps out a bunch of chemicals that keep us in fight or flight. And those are catabolic…they eat away at us and cause issues if not dealt with.

If you feel overwhelmed, know that things will get better.

Here are some of my favorite ways to minimize your feelings of overwhelm and stress with these strategies:

  1. Take a deep breath. Once you start to feel overwhelmed, things tend to go downhill quickly. Give yourself a break by relaxing, taking a deep breath, and slowing down your brain. Scan your environment and describe it to yourself. It will disengage your mind from your stressors and bring it back to reality. 
  2. Focus on what you can do. In any situation, there are things you can control and things you can’t control. Keep your focus on those things within your influence. I love Brendon Burchard’s line: “I Belive in my ability to figure things out!” You will figure it out. 
  3. Let go of those things that are out of your control. There’s no reason to think about it and get yourself more agitated if you can’t do anything about it. Learn to let go of anything you can’t influence.Easier said than done, right? I literally pretend that I am wiping crumbs off my shirt, pants, etc. and I brush myself off. It’s a physical way for me to ‘let it go’. 
  4. Focus on solutions. Most of us make the mistake of focusing on the problem and imagining negative outcomes. This strategy decreases your capability and causes even more stress. If you’re going to put your brain to work, use it to find the best possible solution!
  • Ask yourself what you can do to eliminate or lessen the sources of your stress. Write down your ideas.
  1. Avoid making assumptions. Are things actually as stressful as you think they are? Is it possible that you’ve misinterpreted the facts or made poor assumptions? Gather all the facts before deciding if there’s a reason to be overwhelmed. Question your judgment and ensure that you’re on solid ground before hitting the panic button. A hard one when you are all riled up, but majorly important!
  2. Give yourself a change of scenery. Get out of the house and the office for a few hours. Your environment affects your perspective. Spend some time in nature if possible. This one is my favorite. I often tell clients, if they feel ‘stuck’ to walk around the block. No joke. It can help.
  3. Spend time with a friend. Go out for lunch and a movie with a good friend. Rely on those in your social circle for advice, comfort, and a quick distraction. Which of your friends is best at making you feel better?
  4. Take part in a relaxing activity. What relaxes you? Lying on the couch with your headphones? Going for a run? Getting a massage? Spend an hour or two decompressing and you’ll feel better. Make the time. Looking for Permission? This is IT. Take off the Supercape and relax. 
  5. Cut down on your obligations. Maybe you’re trying to do too much. Consider limiting the number of activities you participate in. Are you taking on too many responsibilities at work? Socially? Learn to say No, with love. 🙂 
  • Consider which of your obligations are most important and get rid of the rest.
  1. Remember when you’ve been overwhelmed in the past. You survived. In fact, you might even laugh today about how stressed you were back then. Hindsight is 20-20. Consider that you’re likely to feel the same way in the future regarding your current situation.

Slow your mind and take a deep breath when first faced with feelings of overwhelm. Try to maintain an objective perspective. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re feeling stressed! Take a timeout and make a list of the items you can control. Search for solutions that address those items.

Let go of those items you can’t control. Rely on friends and family to help you cope since you’d do the same for them. Allow it.

Your mental and emotional health is intimately related to your physical state. It all goes together.

Trust me, these all get easier with practice, so get to it! 

xo

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