What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed? I hear this word so often from the busy women I see as clients and all my friends who are moms! “Overwhelm” can be a result of having too much on your to-do list, a recent change or loss, a new venture or project, or unrealistic expectations.
When I’m overwhelmed, I admit to a tendency to avoid, procrastinate, snack, avoid again, get a lot of non-important things done so I’m “doing”, but not really accomplishing…you get the picture! Often overwhelm leads to a vicious cycle of avoidance or spinning your wheels without getting traction on your goals. The last time I felt overwhelmed, I focused on positive solutions and wanted to share what works with you.
- BREATHE Seriously, you know I talk about this a lot and I mean it! It is number one on my list of “20 Ways to Create Less Stress and More Joy” found in The Mom Oasis Calm and Joy Kit. Deep breathing tells our brain, “there is no emergency here, things will be OK” and paying attention to our breath slows us down automatically and brings us to the present moment, which is calming. When we are calm, we are better able to make good decisions that will help get us out of overwhelm instead of frantically focusing on the problems. I also use mindfulness and relaxation techniques I teach on my website. What are your favorite, quick de-stressors? (that are healthy?!)
- ASK FOR HELP I reached out to people I knew could offer support, guidance and a fresh perspective. Often we need to delegate and let others take care of some items on our list. Sometimes we just need to talk to a friend who will offer encouragement, or sometimes we need to get “expert” help, and I believe prayer is powerful here! Who could you ask for help?
- TAKE CARE OF BASIC NEEDS Sometimes when we get over-busy and overwhelmed, we neglect basic self-care, but this is the time when we need it most! We are better able to cope with stress when we take the time for healthy eating, hydration, rest, exercise, and some activities that provide a fun break. How can you make sure you are getting adequate sleep, nutrition, and other essential self-care so you can have more energy and focus to move beyond the feelings of overwhelm?
- ASK YOURSELF: WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP? I won’t say, what is the next “best” step, because those of us with perfectionistic tendencies, may get stuck on the “best” part! So, I ask myself, “what would be helpful?” You may come up with something that is comforting more than productive and that is OK for the time being. Sometimes we need to step away from a situation in order to come back with clarity or sometimes we know the next action step that will make a difference and help us feel empowered. What would be a helpful next step for you?
I want to offer encouragement that you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed and there is hope! Be sure to read Part Two of this article and feel free to contact me if you’d like support with moving beyond overwhelm.