Top 10 Tips for dealing with overwhelm

Often in life we can feel as if we are totally overwhelmed. One way to combat overwhelm is to Meditate so please enjoy this free meditation that I have recorded for you in honour of Mental Health Awareness Week.

We can feel overwhelmed by family member demands, things we feel we need to do, things we feel we should do, and work load pressures. In general we can feel overwhelmed by life. Its time to stop and ask what can I do to alleviate feeling overwhelmed?

The thing with being overwhelmed is that everything seems too much and nothing seems achievable. We may feel like crying, we may feel anxious, we may find it hard to think straight, we may blame others for putting too much on us to do. We may feel like we are totally alone and unable to talk to anyone about it. This may lead to feeling shame or ashamed of not being good enough. All these different things add up to overwhelm making us miserable. Here are ten tips on how to manage that overwhelm.

Top 10 Tips To Manage Overwhelm

1. Take Action

Feeling overwhelmed often leaves people feeling disempowered and out of control. One way to combat this is to take control by writing down everything thats making you feel overwhelmed. This isn’t designed to make you feel worse in fact by writing it out we are better able to get a clearer over view of all thats going on and then make a plan of action of how to deal with things.

2. Break it down into bite size chunks

Once you have written down your overwhelm you can use that as a basis to write a list. Writing a list quantifies everything you can do and gives you something achievable. This list or ‘bite size chunks’ gives you a place to start so you can take action by targeting (at first) something easy to achieve, make that call or book that appointment. It is important that we make these goals achievable because scientists have shown that something happens in the brain when we achieve something, we get a release of dopamine. 

3. Remember to tick things off your list

According to Monica Mehta who wrote “The Entrepreneurial Instinct: How everyone has the innate ability ti start a business” 

“The more times you succeed at something, the longer your brain stores the information that allowed you to do so well in the first place. That’s because with each success, our brain releases a chemical called dopamine. When dopamine flows into the brain’s reward pathway (the part responsible for pleasure, learning and motivation), we not only feel greater concentration but are inspired to re-experience the activity that caused the chemical release in the first place. This is why the cultivation of small wins can propel you to bigger success, and you should focus on setting just a few small achievable goals. ” find out more here

It therefore stands to reason that if you are feeling really overwhelmed breaking things down into bitesize chunks and writing a list not only helps you feel in control but it has the added bonus that by ticking things off the list you are succeeding one small step at a time and giving yourself a dopamine (feel good chemical) boost!

4. Make your list achievable

We can’t control everything in life and writing on your list ‘change governmental policy on tax’ may or may not fall under your control. However ‘write to local MP’ is something you could do. I say this because we may feel overwhelmed by any number of different things from personal to political and making a list achievable enables us to feel that we are moving into a more empowered position within ourselves. It is easy for someone in overwhelm to feel like a victim and its important to remember what we can and can not control.

As the prayer says:

“…grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference…”

5. Prioritise

Once you have your list you will find it easier to prioritise. The best thing to do is start with some easy achievables (as per above) to get some feel good going and then build momentum to move onto larger tasks. If for example there is a difficult conversation you have to have with someone, then maybe you could prioritise getting some advice as to how to handle that. This could mean that:

A/ By asking for advice you are addressing the issue in some small way and

B/ You may find the advice so helpful that the situation doesn’t seem so daunting

By prioritising you are also bringing you into centre stage by having to ask ‘what is most important to me, what do I need to get done’ and at the same time you are easing the burden for yourself.

5. Mono task and focus

Do one thing at a time. It is so tempting to try and do 100 things at once but in all honestly focusing on one thing and doing it well and being then able to tick that off your list is ultimately more efficient. One suggestion is to give yourself a period of time to focus on a particular task and during that time to turn off all email and social media alerts. This will give you a chance to focus, undistracted and often that means you can get more done. Keep things simple as its all too easy to get sidetracked by a message or an email when in all honesty under normal circumstances if you saw that message an hour later you would still have time to respond. Getting rid of clutter can also help you mono task, if you are surrounded by post it notes and reminders on your desk they will act as a distraction while you are trying to focus.

6. Give yourself time

None of us like alarms as we associate them with waking up, but let your timer become your friend. You can set a timer and dedicate a specified amount of time to focusing on a task or project and then take a 5 min break and then get back to your project for a set time and then check social media. Segmenting your time in accordance with your list will make it much more likely that you will be able to see a task through to the end. You will also have a sense of being able to measure how long you have dedicated to certain things you could keep a record of time spent on a project and then pat yourself on the back at the end knowing just how much time you have put into achieving your goal.

7. Set up good habits

If we put some structure into whatever it is we need to do we can start to develop good habits that help us. If we for example we start our work day by always checking the email inbox or end our evening by always putting the dishwasher on we can start to ensure things run more smoothly. If you collect children get there 5 mins early and use that 5 mins to familiarise yourself with your appointments for the next day. Building productive habits into a routine will mean you are less likely to forget things or let things build up and get on top of you.

8. Organise your diary

Simple things like not over booking yourself are key. Make sure you have time to get from one appointment to the other and make sure you have time for lunch between meetings! You can also carve out time in your diary for certain tasks. Monday morning you could check everything that is upcoming for the week. Thursday afternoon you could schedule for speaking to clients. Friday morning could be a time to make sure everything that you wanted to achieve that week has been actioned. Organising your diary is also a great time to say “No” before you over commit yourself. When making an appointment check and ask yourself have you actually got time to get to that meeting? Can you really do that favour in the time you have available? Rather than trying to do everything do you in fact need to move something to make other things work?

This is a time to be strict if it doesn’t fit into your diary you are not going to have time to do it! Putting time aside to set goals, specific time for the tasks needed to achieve those goals and time to reflect on whats been achieved will all support your tick list and dopamine levels! Speaking dopamine how about scheduling in time for you….

9. Take Time Out

Now you have identified what’s causing you to feel overwhelmed, what you can do to break this mountain down into surmountable tasks and when you can do that. It is now time to schedule time out. It is so important when we are so busy not to let ourselves burn out. Its all very well getting organised but if we don’t recharge then we won’t have the energy we need to do all the things we need to do! Make sure you take time to do things that make you happy. According to new research from the University of Warwick happiness makes people more productive at work. Economists carried out a number of experiments to test the idea that happy employees work harder. In the laboratory, they found happiness made people around 12% more productive. Find out more here. 

It’s important that you find your happy! We all have different things that make us feel happy, be that a walk in the park, 5 mins to yourself to try that new herbal tea or head somewhere for lunch with friends. Whatever makes you feel rejuvenated and recharged is what needs to go into your diary. This is also a good time to schedule exercise- make sure you get that swim in or that yoga class. What about scheduling a massage or treat yourself to a manicure or make it to the hairdressers? By making time and putting all these things in your diary you can not only help to manage overwhelm but also lead a full and varied life.

10. Meditate

Saving the best til last – a great way to ease overwhelm is meditation. I have included a 10 min meditation designed to help you manage overwhelm. You can do this meditation anytime or any place where you can take a break. You could start your day or end your day with it or indeed listen to it on a break during the day.

The idea is that you give yourself  a chance to STOP and get off the Merry Go Round and take some time to ease any anxiety or stress that your overwhelm may be causing you.

You may feel overwhelmed at home or at work you you may want to help someone you know who is feeling overwhelmed. The best thing you can do is help someone understand why they are feeling overwhelmed and acknowledge thats it is OK to feel that way.

If you are feeling overwhelmed yourself you may be feeling stuck, frustrated, depressed and alone. We all wish for someone to come along and make things better but in fact we hold the key to making things better for ourselves by being that kind supportive friend that we need. This meditation is designed to help you sit alongside any feelings of overwhelm you are having to simply offer yourself the unconditional support of a best friend.

You are not suffering alone remember that there are many people out there feeling exactly the same way that you do. Also remember that its not impossible to overcome and the Meditation and suggestions here can help you to find a way back to balance.

Meditate Here

For more information or for any support you can

« Back to blog