Some of us are afraid to say it. Some of us can’t stop talking about it. Some of us don’t recognize it when it is happening to us. What is it? It is the “O” word. The word is “Overwhelm.”
The definition of overwhelm in Merriam-Webster dictionary is “to affect (someone) very strongly; to cause (someone) to have too many things to deal with; to defeat (someone or something) completely.”
Do you have too many things to deal with? Do you feel defeated? Overwhelm can overtake and paralyze you?
Don’t fear! You’re not alone. Everyone experiences overwhelm from time to time. It is like the ebb and flow of the ocean. The key is to know what to do when it hits you.
Here is what you can do.
- Unplug –pause – take a break. Find a quiet place (even if it’s in the bathroom or in your closet). Have no noise. Listen to the silence. Set a timer. Don’t think you can do it? Start with one minute. Then work your way up to 10 minutes. Then go for as long as you feel appropriate. Imagine you are in your favorite place: the beach, the spa, etc. Feel the tension melt away.
- Re-frame – Change the way you think about a thing. For example, rather than saying, “UGH, I have to work until 5:30 p.m. tonight!”, instead say, “I get to work until 5:30 p.m. at least I don’t have to work until midnight.” I will get a lot more done.” This can help take the pressure off.
- Diminish – Break your task into smaller pieces. Rather than thinking about the entire project, divide the project into parts and work on one section at a time. You can’t shove a whole cake in your mouth, take one bite, and swallow! Conquer a project one task at a time.
I know you probably know these things already. But how consistently do you practice them? Sporadic exercise will give you sporadic results.
How do you become consistent?
- Establish a routine. Create a checklist and follow it every day. Carry your checklist with you (put it in your cell phone). After a while it will become second nature. You won’t even have to think about it. You will operate on autopilot. The more routines you develop with important things in life, the more successful you will be. Start slow and add on, building up to more and more goals being accomplished. The more you get done, the less stressed you will become, and the happier and healthier you will be.
- Become organized. Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. Keep your surfaces, working, and living areas clear of clutter. A cluttered space makes for a cluttered and stressful mind. Set a time to do things and do them in their allotted time. This way you avoid project creep, and a string of brain clogging, draining, and unfinished business.
- Have an accountability partner. Choose someone who is positive, like-minded, and supportive of you and your dreams and goals. Push each other, encourage each other, and celebrate your successes. Check in with each other regularly.
Try these things and turn the “O” word from “Overwhelm” to “Opulence”!