Life in the 21st century is crazy…chaotic…noisy…intense. The more advanced technology gets, the worse it all becomes. Between smart phones, laptops and iPads that we take with us anywhere and everywhere, email, text messages, Twitter, Facebook, and so many other things, we are always plugged in and connected.
And frankly, it’s draining. Tiring. Exhausting. And if often leads to total and complete overwhelm.
If you’re separated, going through a divorce, if you are divorced, if you’re a single parent, if you’ve recently lost a loved one due to death or a break-up, that overwhelm can lead to panic, depression, and it can totally paralyze you.
Lately it seems as though more and more of my clients are feeling this out of control, but I have to do it all, sense of overwhelm.
Here are some of the things that help me get through those crazy times.
1. No judgment. Don’t judge yourself for feeling this way! This is by far the most important of all. If you’re over the age of, probably 13 or 14 these days, you’ve felt overwhelmed at some point in your life. Just know that it’s normal and there is nothing wrong with you!
2. Baby Steps. Group the things you have to do into manageable “projects.” Next, figure out which project is the most important, time-sensitive or critical.
Then pick one small thing, the smallest thing that needs to be done for that one project, and do that. Maybe your most important thing to do today is to get dressed because that’s all you can possibly manage. Your one small step might be to pick out matching socks to wear. That’s fine. Do that.
3. Be present. Be fully engaged and present in each thing you do, as you do it. By only thinking about whatever you’re doing in each and every moment, you won’t be able to think about all the other things that have created your current state of overwhelm. If your mind starts to wander to anything else, bring your focus back to what you’re currently doing.
4. Self-care. Most of us have totally neglected this most of our lives. We’ve been conditioned to think that we’re being selfish if we do anything for ourselves. During the safety instructions at the beginning of a flight, there’s a reason they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first and then your child’s. Because if you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of anyone else.
Take a bubble bath. Take a walk in nature. Read a chapter in an inspirational or motivational book. Write in a journal. Take a yoga class. Go for a massage. Just do something for yourself, but the key is to do it without feeling any guilt for doing it. And don’t let anyone else make you feel guilty, either. (Remember #1 above?)
5. Ask for and accept help. This can be the most difficult one of all. We’ve been taught that it’s a sign of weakness, that something is wrong with us, if we ask for help. The truth is that it’s actually a sign of strength to acknowledge that you can’t do it all alone. And people love to help friends and loved ones, so you’re doing as much for them as for yourself when you reach out.
6. Celebrate. Celebrate each and every little thing you do. When you’re in that place of complete overwhelm, you need to acknowledge every single thing you do, especially the small things.
7. Write it down. At the end of each day, look back at all the things you did manage to do, no matter how small they were, and you’ll realize just how much you really did do. You’ll boost your self-confidence back up a bit, and it will motivate you to do a little more the next day.
Write down each of your accomplishments for that day. Then when you have a day when it all seems to be too much again, you can review your previous lists and you’ll see just how much you have done and how much you can do!
How have you dealt with overwhelm in the past? Are you going through it right now? I’d love to hear some of the things you do when it all gets to be too much. And if you need help with it, let me know.