7 Reasons you’re feeling overwhelmed (and what to do about them)
Do things in your life feel overwhelming and out of control?
I know the feeling.
Sometimes it’s as if there is just too much happening at once, too many demands on our attention and not enough time.
Here I’ve put together some common reasons for overwhelm and how to overcome them with ease.
The to do’s
If, like me, you have a to do list that reaches from here to infinity and it just keeps growing, it’s time to change your to do list.
The first step to not allowing this to get you down is to recognise that your to do list will never be ‘finished’. And that’s ok! By just focusing on what you’re doing at that time, rather than all the things you have to do, you can start to feel more in control and on top of things .
In his book ‘Supercoach’ Michael Neil suggests we have two ‘to do’ lists, one with the list of all the things we’d like to do that day on it, and another with just one item on it, the ONE thing we have to do that day. Once you’ve completed that one thing, you can move another item on to the ‘one thing’ list. That way, you’ve only ever got one thing to do, and it’s less overwhelming.
Many of us know that there is a dark side to social media. When our intention is to pop in to Facebook for 10 minutes and we end up emerging 2 hours later with little to show for it, it’s clear to see that social media can be a drain on our time and energy.
Not only this, but it can make us feel as though we are missing out on stuff, not achieving enough or not where we want to be in our lives (I’m thinking pictures of people looking tanned on holiday, friends talking up their latest promotion or snaps of their uber cute baby or ‘perfect’ wedding).
If social media is causing you to waste time and is dragging down your self esteem it could be time to reduce the amount of time you spend on it, ‘unfollow’ those that make you feel bad about yourself and streamline your feed with only things than enhance your life and boost your mood (inspiring posts or funny cat videos anyone?!).
Remember that your life has equal value to anyone else’s and that what we don’t see behind the sun tans and cute baby pictures are the holiday food poisonings, sleepless nights, frustrations and challenges that we all experience in life (but don’t shout about on Facebook).
As a recovering phone addict, I know a thing or two about how our phones can take over our lives and destroy our peace of mind. Having recently had my phone stolen and being without it for a week, I learned that I can indeed survive and that I was checking my phone far more often than was really necessary.
Try switching off notifications on your phone so that you have to go into Twitter, Instagram or your email in order to catch up on the action. When our phones are constantly buzzing and updating us it can be just another demand on our time and energy. When I did this in 2013 it was a real life changer! Go into ‘settings’ and then ‘notifications’ and turn off notifications for your social media and emails.
Not taking enough time for yourself
Self care is a biggie these days in health and wellbeing circles. We’re often reminded that going for a yoga class, a walk at lunchtime or that massage are good for us, but how often do they get pushed aside in favour of more pressing responsibilities?
Life coach Marie Forleo has a saying;
‘If it’s not scheduled in, it’s not happening’.
Rest is as important as activity in helping us to live happy, productive and successful lives. If your battery is running on empty, you’re not as effective, life feels harder PLUS everyone around you will suffer too if you’re in a grump!
Schedule in time for yourself and treat is with the same importance as a meeting with your boss.
Perfectionists set impossibly high standards for themselves and even when they meet those standards, they’re likely to keep raising the bar. The result? You never feel good enough no matter how well things are going.
If this sounds like you, try to remember that ‘perfection’ is not actually a thing. It’s an opinion. Everyones opinions are going to be different, so you’re really setting yourself up for something impossible.
When you notice you’re setting your standards impossibly high and putting too much pressure on yourself, ask yourself ‘Can I settle for ‘good enough’ over perfection?’ Remember that you are lovable and worthwhile, flaws and all and that even if you make a mistake, it’s very rarely unfixable and mistakes are an essential part of learning and getting better anyway.
I love this quote by productivity guru David Allen;
‘You can do anything, but not everything‘.
Perhaps you want to make sure people are happy; maybe you don’t want to miss out or you’re worried about upsetting people if you say ‘no’ to things.
The truth is, setting healthy boundaries and saying ‘no’ could be a key step to helping you to feel less overwhelmed and overloaded. By saying no, you’re ensuring that the quality of the things you do say yes to is higher, which is better for everyone all round. It’s like they say on a plane, ‘put the oxygen mask over yourself first before helping others’, and the same is true in life! Take care of yourself first.
In life there is only ever one thing happening, and that’s what’s happening right now. The rest of the crazy jumble of stuff that can go on in our brains is stuff from the past, or the future. With all that going on at once, it’s no wonder we can get overwhelmed!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, meditation is the key to staying more present and living a happier and calmer life.
Check out apps like Headspace, or try your local yoga or Buddhist centre for group meditation classes.
When we live in a hectic world peace of mind sometimes has to be created, not left to chance! Remember you are here to enjoy your life, grow and learn; and ‘be’ not just to ‘do’.
I’d love to hear about ONE thing that overwhelms you and what steps you could take to overcome it. Please let me know in the comments.
As always, I’d be so grateful if you’d share this article with anyone who may need it 🙂