Feel overwhelmed? You’re not alone.
This feeling overwhelmed has become a constant state-of-mind for most adults.
It seems we’re always running to the next thing, trying to keep up with our schedules, and of course, trying to keep up with our friends through social media. And if you have a family and a job or a business, this feeling of overwhelm isn’t about to just float away anytime soon.
But it’s important to understand that constantly feeling overwhelmed is taking a toll on you, both mentally and physically.
Stress has been linked to many illnesses and diseases including heart disease, diabetes, ulcers, and even cancer. In the immediate, stress is weakening your immune system causing you to be more susceptible to colds and flu.
Think you’re already overwhelmed? Just wait until you’re forced to take a few days, or even a few months, off due to illness.
Our fast-paced lifestyles demand our constant attention. Chances are, you’re working more and taking less time off because there’s just too much to do.
When you’re constantly juggling your work, family, volunteer work, and (dare we say it?) your own personal needs, it’s easy to feel like you’re living with a never-ending to-do list. That’s sure to cause you to constantly feel overwhelmed.
When you can’t take time off or reduce your load, it’s time to look at a few ways to handle the stress on a day-to-day basis so you can feel less overwhelmed.
These tips aim to help you manage your stress better so you can release the stress and live a more relaxed lifestyle.
How To Cope When You Constantly Feel Overwhelmed
I know, I know! If you’re already feeling overwhelmed how will you ever find time to meditate? But that’s exactly why you need to.
If you have time to catch up with your favorite TV show or scroll through your newsfeed every day, you have time to meditate.
All you need is seven minutes a day in order to start seeing the benefits. Mind you, you won’t see results after just one session, but over time you will start to notice a change.
Meditation brings more calm and focus to your thoughts and actions, leaving you less overwhelmed. If you’re not sure where to start, try a free app like Calm or Stop, Breathe, Think for some peaceful and guided meditations. Both are available in iTunes, Google Play, and online.
If you’re struggling with the whole idea behind meditation, I get it. I used to be a skeptic too. But I’d be lost without my daily practice.
One resource that might help you see the personal benefit to you is the book 10% Happier by ABC News Anchor Dan Harris. Written from the skeptic’s view point, it is an enlightening read and one that will get the skeptic thinking, ‘maybe this will work for me.’
ASK FOR HELP, THEN ACCEPT IT
We love to think we’re capable of doing everything, and then when we take on the world we find it’s a little more overwhelming than we anticipated. It would probably amaze you to see how many people would be willing to help you, if you would just ask.
Our constant need to be in control is causing most of our overwhelm and stress. Ask for help. And, as hard as it may be, be prepared to accept it. You’ll be amazed at the support you receive.
You know that frustration you feel when you open too many windows on your computer or it’s processing too many things so it just freezes? That’s exactly what’s happening to your brain when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Too many thoughts being processed, your brain doesn’t know what to work on first so it freezes up and nothing happens.
Take a mental step back, breathe deeply, and ask yourself . . . what is the most important thing for me right now? How do I want to feel? What do I need to prioritize?
Focus your thoughts and energy on the things that matter most instead of the unnecessary tasks that overwhelm you.
Learn to spend your time more wisely; you only have so many hours in a day. Think about the things that matter the most and make them a priority.
Set your boundaries of what you will take on and what isn’t as important. Be sure to include your family, friends, and personal time in your list of priorities. Once you decide where you need to focus, create boundaries around those activities and don’t allow anyone or anything to change them.
Remeber to put yourself on the top of the list. If you’re run down or depleted you won’t be any good to your family or friends who might need you.
BE MORE PRESENT
Being more present in any given moment is like active meditation. It slows your thought process down, automatically calming you.
When you’re spending time with someone or working on a project, keep your focus on what you’re doing and where you are instead of thinking about what needs to be on your grocery list or what project you need to do next.
Be fully present with your family at the dinner table, snuggled on the couch, or reading bedtime stories. There will be plenty of time to worry about other things later.
LET IT GO
No doubt you’re familiar with that feeling of struggling to remember something, like someone’s name or that show you used to watch in the ‘80’s, and as soon as you say “it will come to me” you let go of it and it appears.
Just like a pop-up window on your computer screen, the answer pops right into your mind. Usually in the middle of the night or hours after you’ve moved on from the conversation, but it still comes.
That’s because your brain is a problem-solver and can never completely let go of something until it has an answer. While your conscious brain has let go of it, your subconscious brain is still searching for the answer.
When you’re dealing with a problem that’s leaving you feeling overwhelmed because you don’t know how to solve it, let it go. Your brain will keep working and you’ll suddenly be struck with a great idea to try.
The answer may pop-up in the middle of the night, or float in nice and easy, but it will come.
Exercise is a natural remedy for when you feel overwhelmed and has a more immediate benefit than meditation which takes time to see the results.
Next time you feel overwhelmed, get up if you can and go for a walk. If you can’t do something immediately, exercise when you get home or in the morning before work.
Releasing the stress through a good workout will make you feel less stressed, less anxious and over all less overwhelmed.
LEARN TO SAY NO
Often times we feel overwhelmed simply because we’ve said ‘yes’ to too many things.
No is a complete sentence and one that doesn’t come easily to over givers and people pleasers. But I can tell you as a recovering people pleaser, there is great power in learning to say no.
The next time you’re faced with a demand of your time and you know that you’ve just don’t have the time or desire, just say no. Then step back and examine how light and great you feel. Remember that feeling every time you’re faced with a question or demand of your time and it will get easier and easier to let the word ‘no’ slip off your tongue.
Feeling overwhelmed is an emotional indicator that you’re doing too much and you need to slow down. Listen to your body and your mind; when you’re feeling overwhelmed take a step back, meditate, and let it go.
Readjust your focus towards your priorities and let go of the unnecessary things. No matter how difficult your day has been, tomorrow is another chance to start over.