Recently a member of our group came to me and said: “I feel really overwhelmed with everything and I don’t know what to do”.
I stopped for a moment because the first thing that came into my head was “me too”.
It made me realise that I’ve hit a point where I also need a taste of my own medicine. I talked about it during a live session in our Facebook group during the week and overwhelmed women seemed to crawl out of the woodwork; they were appearing everywhere! I began to think ‘is it the time of year or something?’ Maybe there’s something in that. I reasoned that we all begin a new year with the best-laid plans and bags of motivation that often fizzle out by spring. By then we are being carried away by the current of life and before we know it we’re heading into summer where we mostly live for the moment which is great and we have much more of a ‘fuck it’ attitude! But when autumn comes and the kids go back to school, the list begins to grow and everything gets serious AF again. By October half term we’re all heading for burnout. This we must be careful of because it’s nothing to turn your nose up at. Burning out is on par with having a nervous breakdown so ignore these signs at your peril.
I’ve noticed that I seem to experience a 3 monthly cycle of sorts. It creeps up on me and then I beat myself up about it for not seeing it coming AGAIN. I know the pattern and the cycle because it comes with physical sensation and pain. I experience fizzing around my temples, I get pain at the back of my eyes and my sciatic nerve plays up in my right buttock/hip. So, my first piece of advice is to know yourself and your patterns and warning signs. On from that, here are my top tips to beating overwhelm.
Stop…. and breathe
Sounds daft I know but the best and first thing you can do is to press pause and catch your breath. You may notice that you shallow breathe up in your chest and that does nothing for helping oxygen flow to your vital organs and brain – in case you hadn’t noticed, you need these organs to operate particularly effectively during times of overwhelm so makes sure you’re taking some deep breaths into your diaphragm.
Know your triggers
- Is it being everything to everyone?
- Focusing on too many things at once?
- Too optimistic about how long things take? (this is my Achilles heel)
- Unable to say no to stuff?
- Overloading your calendar every day? (no time to pee)
Acknowledge the fact that you are NOT Superwoman
Give yourself permission to not do stuff – the only one creating the pressure is you! Get good at asking for help too – that’s a true indicator of resilience BTW #justsaying.
Slow the FUCK down
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…. ‘slow is smooth, smooth is fast’.
Plan and prioritise
Try using the time matrix by Stephen Covey to make sure you are spending your time in the right place. However long you think it takes to do something – DOUBLE IT! Get rid of the 3 x A4 page to-do list that is causing you anxiety – just do 3 things a day. Know your productivity peak – I’m most productive first thing in the morning so I do my biggest and ugliest tasks then. I know I’m crap after 3pm so I stop working at that point.
Stop multi-tasking… it’s bollocks.
It’s such a false sense of economy. I’ll say no more.
Do some mindfulness practice.
You can use short meditation bursts not just for chilling out but to help you get into a deep sleep, get energised, get focused etc. Check out a pal of mine’s ace app – Clementine. It’s FREE and it’s amazeballs! We also absolutely love Calm.
If you have any top tips, we’d love you to come and share them over in our free FB group.