Feeling Overwhelmed?

We all feel beaten down by our circumstances from time to time. We can feel overpowered by the never-ending to-do lists and responsibilities. In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives we are often on auto-pilot. Until the moment it hits us, like a mac truck, and we come to a screeching halt. Panic sets in and we become paralyzed with worry. We then feel defeated before even beginning. Okay, okay, yes I know. But, the good news is, we can recover and come back stronger than ever. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel…

First of all, cut yourself a break! It happens to the best of us. Take a deep breath. Realize that we’ve all been there and unfortunately, we will again find ourselves in the chaotic state of overwhelm. You are not doomed to failure. You just need to focus. Meditation can help and does for many. I recently gave a presentation, in which I discussed mindfulness and meditation. It can be a minute or two, or even 30 min for some. If it’s new to you, start out with just a couple minutes. There are many apps you can download onto your smartphone if you’d like to give it a try. It may just work for you. With a little practice you may enjoy it. At the very least, take a break, even for 5 or 10 min. Go for a walk. Grab coffee with a friend. The key is to remove yourself from the situation in order to calm down.

Then, step back and take a look at all you have to do. You can only do one thing at a time. Prioritize the tasks at hand. People that know me best, know I’m an avid ‘List Maker’. I actually number each list item or sometimes color code, according to the area of my life it pertains too. (OCD much?) Yes I know. I’m teased about it regularly. And that’s okay. Because why not? It helps. At least it does for me, so maybe you want to give it a try too? That may be too much for some people but at the very least, make a list. Decide which jobs are most important and what can be put on the back burner. Immediately, you’ll feel some relief because you can start to see more clearly which chore to tackle first. Then figure out what ‘supplies’ you need or errands to run to complete your first task. The best part…When it’s done you get to check it off your list! That’s such a great feeling. “Check. That one’s done.” When you’re overwhelmed, it’s a relief to have something accomplished. It gives a shimmer of hope and you’re on to number two. Before you know it, you feel calmer and focused and that list is completed in no time! You may even start to wonder what you were so worked up about. The sense of accomplishment brings your confidence back, just in time to move on to what’s next.

Learn to say NO! Sometimes, as you prioritize, you realize ‘one of these does not belong’. Many of us hate to disappoint people and tend to ‘bite off more than we can chew’. Other times, we’ve taken on a job that really doesn’t align with our own over all mission. In that case, that task may need to come off the list all together. There’s no rule that says once it’s on your list you can’t revise, edit or omit whenever necessary. If it’s not crucial and doesn’t assist you in reaching your ultimate goal, maybe it’s something for someone else to do. Learn to delegate some of ‘your’ chores.

Stress can be devastating. When we are troubled by too many things all at once, we can feel defeated before we even begin. In living our best life, we need to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and refocus on what we really want to accomplish. When we get our priorities in order and do one thing at a time, we get a small taste of accomplishment with each task completed. That first victory will lead to others and you will prevail!

“Sometimes when you’re overwhelmed by a situation – when you’re in the darkest of darkness – that’s when your priorities are reordered.” —Phoebe Snow

“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” —Timber Hawkeye

“When life gets hectic and you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on the people and things you are most grateful for. When you have an attitude of gratitude, frustrating troubles will fall by the wayside.” ―Dana Arcuri

“Our greatest battles are with our minds.” – Jameson Frank

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” – Aristotle Onassis

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