Have you noticed lately that we seem to glamorize how busy we are? People ask us how we’re doing and the first word that pops out of our mouth is usually “busy” or some variation, right? What compels us to broadcast how busy we are? Is it because our busyness makes us feel important or valuable?
Or is it because our to-do lists are constantly growing so all we can think about are the next ten things that we need to do? Personally, I think we like to be busy. But unfortunately, our busyness can sometimes backfire and make us feel overwhelmed. So how do you overcome the overwhelm in your life? Keep reading!
Before jumping in to some tips on overcoming overwhelm, I’d like to highlight how crazy this year has been for me, just so you know that I’m coming from a place where I truly understand what it means to be crazy busy.
So far, this year I have:
Re-launched my coaching business, including designing an entirely new website
Had my gallbladder removed in March and recovered from my surgery
Started house hunting one month after my surgery and closed on my house on June 1
Had family in town in late June
Packed up my apartment and moved into my house on July 16
Unpacked and decorated my new house and had a crash course in home ownership
Had more family in town in August
Took a weekend girl’s trip AND had a business trip in September
Came home from my trips and immediately started planning my housewarming party
Not to mention, I did all of this on my own while working full-time and continuing to run my coaching business AND writing the first draft of an entire novel. Phew! No wonder I’m exhausted!!
Okay, so now you can see that I’ve had my fair share of stuff to handle so far this year. I’m sure you’ve got just as much, if not more, stuff on your plate. And chances are your life is even more chaotic than mine because I’m only having to take care of myself and not deal with a husband and/or kids to boot.
So…we’ve established that life is crazy busy, right? What do we do about that?
How Do I Overcome Overwhelm?
We have two options when it comes to handling overwhelm in our lives:
First, let’s talk about what NOT to do, shall we?
When life gets crazy, it can be tempting to bury our heads in the sand and hope it all goes away. But…as nice as it would be to ignore the craziness of our lives, ignoring it is NOT the best option. First of all, even if we ignore the things that are stressing us out, it’s almost impossible to completely forget they are there. Generally, the more we ignore something the bigger it grows in our minds until we can’t ignore it any longer and it’s blown up into a huge mess.
Also, ignoring the busyness is just a temporary fix. Chances are that the longer we live in LaLa Land, the bigger our problems have gotten. Which means when we finally start paying attention to everything going on around us, we’re in the middle of an even worse situation than when we started.
As tempting as it can be to take the “Ignore It” route, I hope it seems clear that this is not the best solution. If ignoring it is no longer an option, then let’s talk about how you CAN handle it.
Feeling overwhelmed is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, the more we resist the feelings of overwhelm, the worse they can feel. Which is why my advice is to actually embrace the overwhelm in your life. The main reason is that if you’re going to feel overwhelmed, you might as well deal with it and figure out how to make it better. It’s not going to disappear on its own, so the best plan of action is to do just that and make a plan.
The first step towards embracing and overcoming overwhelm is to get the full picture. This might seem daunting, but it’s really a great way to get the big picture and see the entire scope of what you’ve got going on. Take a few minutes and write down everything that is on your mind in terms of what you have to do or what your responsibilities are.
Then, take a few deep breaths. I promise that it helps to see the big pictures in the long run, even if it feels more overwhelming at first. Once you’re in a clear and calm mindset, try to weed out the stuff that isn’t actually a priority. If there are any items on your list that are “shoulds”, remove them. Just because you “should” do something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Chances are, you’ll resent that item or procrastinate on it long enough anyway, so you might as well proactively take it off your list before it starts stressing you out.
Now that you have a nice, concise list of the things you need to focus your attention on, you need to start breaking things into smaller, more manageable pieces. If you need help with this, hop on over to my blog post about How to Simplify Your Day to get some more tips. Breaking your to-do list into small chunks will take off a huge load of overwhelm. Once you can see the steps that it will take to complete your items, it will be much easier to start making progress.
Lastly, have at it and get some stuff done! The best way to stop feeling so overwhelmed is to take inspired action and cross some stuff off your list. And remember, if you start to feel overwhelmed at any point, remind yourself that you have a plan laid out on how you will tackle each and every item that needs to be tackled.
Feel better? I hope so!
Stay tuned for next week’s blog post, which will be all about journaling and how you can use journaling to get through just about anything.
Until then, sending all the light & love your way,