Feeling overwhelmed is no fun, but it’s something many of us experience on a regular basis. The mental loop playing in my head of all the daily chores, work items, appointments, and family obligations can leave me feeling overwhelmed, generally unproductive, and kinda cranky too….Thanks brain. Over time – through trial and error (mainly error!) – I have discovered some great strategies to manage the feeling of being stretched thin. They’re definitely not silver bullets, but using my 5 steps to reign in overwhelm can help you find some sanity again. So listen up: You don’t have to stay stuck in an ‘overwhelmed’ rut. Give my favorites a try and see for yourself!
I hope they help!
1. Clear The Mental Clutter
If your to-do list is running on a brain loop then DUMP IT!!! I mean like literally get it out of your head and onto paper. This action of getting your thoughts onto paper alone can bring a sense of relief. It allows you to let your thoughts live outside your brain so you don’t have to worry about forgetting them. Bonus points if you can actually knock a few items off that list.
2. Move Your Body
Did you know that when stress hits, movement is the key? Get outside and take a brisk walk or try doing some yoga. Overwhelm is not something that happens TO us. It comes from the thoughts in our head. Exercise in any form – as little as 10 minutes – can help reduce mental overload and put your brain at ease all while giving an extra boost to your mood!
3. Take A Breather
Discover the power of breathing – 4 slow deep breaths repeated for just a few minutes can be all it takes! Whether you’re looking for a meditative experience or simply want to quiet down your chaotic thoughts, take some time out and find that sliver of peace. No need for an hour-long meditation sesh here! Believe me, just breathe..it works wonders!
4. Untether From Tech
Get off your devices and reboot (au natural)! We live in a digital age, so while up-to-date gadgets can be helpful, our brains need time away from the constant stimulation. Did you know that overstimulation leaves us drained (it’s scientifically proven)? Put down that screen for an hour (or more!) to observe how much calmer you feel afterwards; research shows this is key to regulating dopamine levels naturally. Some people are more sensitive to the dopamine crash from digital separation than others but every brain needs a break! Digital detoxing isn’t just good advice anymore: science says so too!
5. Make Time Visible
Remember that brain dump in step one? Let’s take that list and schedule them somewhere visible. Major kudos if you schedule the whole week! I like to do this activity either before bed or in the morning…coffee before planning optional but encouraged!
Feeling the need to “do it all” can be paralyzing. So, take a step back, and you’ll likely find that most of your tasks are manageable. Prioritize two or three items on your list as ‘must dos’ and spread the others over the week if there are too many on one day. A planner (my ADHD favorite here) is an excellent tool for keeping track of this flow but you don’t have to be fancy. A simple notebook can do the trick. When you do, time becomes tangible and the flow of the day can be seen and analyzed resulting in a more productive, reliable, less stressed version of YOU! And trust me, checking off those accomplishments will give you quite a boost in morale!
Overwhelm doesn’t have to be a permanent state. By completing these five steps…or even just one, you can put yourself on the path of reclaiming your sanity. Writing down your thoughts will give clarity. Utilizing movement, breath, and regular tech pauses can help open up capacity. Most important of all – a timely, realistic schedule. Taking these five steps to reign in overwhelm can make all the difference when trying to live a happy and balanced life.
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In need of extra support? —help is always available! So, if the thought of taking action on overwhelm feels daunting, don’t worry: I’ve got you covered!