No one ever likes to feel overwhelmed, but it is unfortunately the case that we all end up experiencing this sensation from time to time, as a natural part of the ups, downs, and assorted responsibilities of life.
There are all sorts of different reasons you might feel overwhelmed – with some of them being pretty clear and explicit, and others a bit harder to put your finger on exactly.
You might, for example, find yourself feeling overwhelmed because your baby is losing hair and you are understandably worried and don’t know what this might mean, or what the next steps to take on your part should be.
Or, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed because you are simply falling behind in your work, with regards to your household chores and interpersonal obligations, and feel that there is no clear way of regaining balance and getting back on top of things once again.
As there are so many different potential causes of feeling overwhelmed, it stands to reason that there are also all sorts of different things that you might need to do in order to help get yourself out of that sense of overwhelm.
For starters, here are a variety of tips that are likely to prove helpful with regards to helping you feel less overwhelmed, and getting back in the driver’s seat, so to speak.
Act in a way that helps you to feel whole and coherent
It’s not always possible to change the circumstances that you find yourself in, and it’s not always possible to come up with the perfect response to difficult situations, that automatically leads to your ideal outcome.
What you always have the ability to do, however, is to act in ways that help to make you feel whole and coherent, whenever you find yourself in these situations – as opposed to acting in ways that make you feel fragmented and out of alignment with your values and ideal sense of self.
All too often, difficult and stressful situations put an undue amount of pressure on us, and can cause us to unravel in various ways – including by undermining and destroying our everyday routines, distracting us from our true priorities in life, or putting us in situations where we are likely to act in ways that generate some level of guilt or self disdain.
Try to listen to that inner voice that tells you whether or not you are on the right path, or are allowing yourself to become “fragmented,” by acting out of alignment with your true sense of self and the person you want to be.
Generally speaking, the more you can act in ways that help you to feel “whole” and “coherent,” the better able you will be to hold your head up high and avoid feeling completely overwhelmed by stressful and frustrating situations and circumstances.
Come up with daily routines that help you to step outside of your own thought spirals
The mind can be a tricky thing, as well as a blessing – and if you find yourself in a situation where you are feeling overwhelmed, there’s a good chance that at least part of what is going on is that you are caught up in ongoing negative thoughts spirals that you’re finding it very difficult to escape from, or actively take a break from.
When your perspective is caught up in these negative thought spirals, situations that are already stressful can become seemingly exponentially more stressful and frustrating, and it can become very tricky to step into a healthier and more fruitful outlook on things that can actually enable you to make positive change, more effectively.
For this reason, it’s important to come up with a daily routine that can genuinely help you to step outside of your own thoughts spirals – and there are many different practices that have gained popularity in recent times which achieve exactly this end.
Mindfulness meditation, for example, might help – as can taking regular strolls in nature. In fact, the psychological concept of a “flow state,” coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, suggests that any time you are engaged in an activity that you find deeply gripping, you can experience a sense of timelessness and can benefit from a break from your normal repetitive thoughts.
Whether it’s a particular creative hobby that you use to step outside of your own thought spirals, a visualisation exercise, or a walk in the forest, getting regular breaks from your own thoughts in this way can be very rewarding and can go a long way towards helping you to feel less overwhelmed in a variety of different situations.
Keep up your self care to the best of your ability
“Self-care” is something that is, fortunately, being talked about a lot more today than it was even just recently, as more and more people are becoming aware of how important it is to proactively safeguard and nurture their own sense of well-being in a variety of different ways.
Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, it more or less goes without saying that you are simultaneously feeling a heightened sense of stress overall – and this is where a lot of the discomfort and frustration stems from.
Maintaining your self-care routine, to the best of your ability, can help you to manage your stress levels more effectively during overwhelming periods of time, and can put you in a situation where you are better able to bounce back and maintain a reasonable sense of balance, as well.
A self-care routine can include things as simple and straightforward as listening to a relaxing guided visualisation recording in the evening and having a hot bath, or it can involve regular spa days or any number of other things.
In any case, remember that it’s actually very important to look after your own well-being.
Actively take steps to gain ground and get ahead of things if possible
Often, the sensation of being overwhelmed goes hand-in-hand with actually being “behind the curve” in one sense or another.
You’re certainly likely to feel overwhelmed if you are behind at work, or have a bunch of different chores or other projects that you need to get sorted out, but that you are struggling to make any real headway on at all.
While part of the solution might be to find ways to discard some of these tasks, and delegate, defer, or reschedule certain deadlines and obligations, it’s also likely to be the case that actively taking steps to gain ground and get ahead of things (if possible) can really help to reduce your sense of overwhelm, and boost your confidence simultaneously.
Of course, it’s not always going to be possible to actually get ahead in this way – but if working on a few evenings at home helps you to gain an edge and get back to a state of balance and equilibrium, it might be a worthwhile thing to do for your own well-being if nothing else – even if it might be frustrating and unpleasant in the moment.
Use an effective task management tool and planner to help you out
Using an effective task management tool and planner – whether that’s a traditional Filofax, or a modern app or program such as Todoist or Microsoft To Do, to name just a couple of examples – can really help you to properly deal with the tasks and obligations that you have on your plate, when you are in a hectic and generally overwhelming situation.
The more you can keep track of things and systematically handle what needs to be handled, the less likely you are to feel generally overwhelmed by the situation, and the greater the odds that you will be able to regain a sense of balance and control sooner rather than later.
Practice saying “no” to more things
Practising the time-honoured art of saying “no” to potential obligations, commitments, and assorted tasks, can really help you to prevent a somewhat difficult and busy situation from becoming downright overwhelming.
It can also help you to make an overwhelming situation less overwhelming, and to regain a sense of control and autonomy.
Of course, certain obligations you can’t – and shouldn’t – say no to. But if you find that you are routinely feeling overwhelmed, there’s a good chance that you might be accepting too many errands that you don’t actually need to accept.
Shorten your time horizon and focus on one step at a time
Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, it is likely to be far more detrimental than beneficial to allow yourself to get overly caught up in longer-term plans, concerns, expectations, and all the rest.
Instead, one of the most effective ways of actually making the situation more manageable and “easily digestible” will tend to be to shorten your time horizon, and to focus on taking one step forward at a time, without becoming too caught up in all the potential outcomes, extrapolations, and ideas that might be on your mind.
It’s certainly good to have a broad “big picture sense” of what’s going on, and the direction you want to head in, but adding excessive concern about the future is certainly not likely to help make the present moment seem any less overwhelming.
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