Between work, family, social events, and everything else going on in our lives, it’s easy for overwhelm to slip in. Before you know it, you’re stressed out and spread too thin, trying to keep all the balls in the air, all while overloading yourself to the point where you’re just not able to be productive.
While our obligations and work are a priority, it’s important to give ourselves the time and space to understand the cause of what’s making us feel overwhelmed. Taking a step back to give ourselves time to breathe so we can bounce back better than ever.
Try some of these tips and mindset shifts to help you feel less overwhelmed in your life:
Breathe & Braindump
The first thing to do when you’re noticing yourself becoming overwhelmed is to take a breath, and not a quick one but a long, deep breath. Deep breathing exercises help to make sure your stress responses don’t become too high and are a great way to make you feel more at ease.
After some deep breathing exercises, grab your journal because it’s time to braindump. Write down everything that is taking up space in your head and dump it all out on paper. Keeping worries and stressors in your head can cause them to become amplified since you’re constantly thinking about them but when you put it all out on paper and journal about how these stressors are making you feel, your anxious feelings will begin to subside.
Accept & Evaluate How You’re Feeling
Feeling overwhelmed is okay. Everyone gets overwhelmed at one point or another so don’t ignore your overwhelm thinking that it’ll eventually go away on its own. Acknowledge how you’re feeling, even if you think what you’re feeling is negative. By accepting where you’re at emotionally, you’ll be able to avoid falling into a pit of shame that often accompanies our feelings of overwhelm. When you’re overwhelmed, be kind to yourself and don’t judge yourself too harshly.
Let Go of What You Can’t Control; Focus on What You Can
There are things in life that you can control, and some things that you just can’t. Whenever you start spiraling and thinking too much about stuff you don’t have control over, catch yourself. Let go of what’s out of reach and collect yourself. Become aware that there are times where the only thing you can control is the effort you put into something and the attitude you want to have.
Now that you’ve managed to center yourself, it’s time to pinpoint your main sources of overwhelm and stress. Prioritize responsibilities that have a close, upcoming deadline. And if it’s a big project that is overwhelming you, break it down into small, manageable chunks to make your project seem less intimidating!
Filter Distractions & Get Ready to Work
There are so many distractions in the workplace and at home that can lead to procrastination which can get in the way of work, putting you even more behind than you were before. Switch your phone to Do Not Disturb so you can avoid those distracting social media and text notifications. Use a website blocker app to prevent yourself from opening shopping or social media sites.
Adopt a pre-work routine that lets your brain know when you’re going to be getting into the groove of buckling down for work. This could mean closing the door of your office or plugging in some headphones to set up a distraction-free environment. The key to finishing your tasks is starting them. So remove as many distractions as you can and focus your full attention on the task in front of you.
Accept that Done is Better Than Perfect
The idea of perfection can lead you to biting off more than you can chew, which can cause you to feel immensely overwhelmed once you realize how much you have to do. When you have so many things to do and are nowhere close to finishing, sometimes it’s okay that what you turn in isn’t absolutely perfect. With upcoming deadlines and piles of tasks, you just have to complete the projects the best you can and trust your expertise and ability rather than putting off completion in the hopes of getting it that 1% better. Chances are, nobody else will even be able to tell the difference. Remember that perfection isn’t always the most sustainable goal to strive for since it can lead to feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
Don’t forget that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and that what you’re feeling is only temporary. Personal responsibilities and work duties can make you feel like everything is too much to handle but with the right coping skills and emotionally mindful strategies, you’ll be able to take care of your workload and more importantly, yourself.