Feeling overwhelmed can be all consuming. You don’t think straight, and for me it shows up as a big dose of procrastination – I can’t do all of it so I’ll do none.
Overwhelm can simply be defined as ‘too much to deal with‘.
Overwhelm can show up in a variety of ways, both physically and emotionally. Physically, you might experience fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, and digestive troubles. Emotionally, you might experience anxiousness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty making decisions. However it transpires for you, I know it won’t be a pleasant state to live in.
Overwhelm can also lead to negative self-talk, such as self-judgement, self-criticism, and rumination. Finally, overwhelm can manifest as procrastination, avoidance, and irrational behaviours.
At work you might be totally swamped, inundated with demands from all directions, and perhaps that’s become the normal state. While this might not be ideal, you may be forced to suck it up for many reasons, such as the fear of being on the shortlist if redundancies are being faced. No-one wants to be seen as unable to cope, but we must find ways to talk about it at work or get help elsewhere.
In your home life, you could be facing a multitude of responsibilities that cause you to be overwhelmed. You may have school age children, plus care for an elderly parent. Then there’s the dog that needs walking before starting on your day, and you want to get to an exercise class but constantly fail, compounding your ability to cope because you aren’t able to have space for yourself. Then there’s the pandemic we’ve all experienced, still are in many ways. On top of all this we might be moving house, relocating, having relationship challenges and all the other myriad of life’s stressors. Overwhelm isn’t exactly a surprise if we’ve too much on our plates.
Each thing on it’s own might feel manageable, but cumulative stress and pressure has a big negative impact.
How can I deal with overwhelm?
One of the most effective ways to deal with overwhelm is to create a plan. In it’s simplest terms, you can start by breaking down the tasks which are causing you to feel overwhelmed into smaller, more manageable tasks. I get this isn’t always possible, and likely will only work with practical and feasible things. As a coach I can help with setting priorities, working out if things on your to-do list are still serving you, defining what’s important and what can be delegated. There are strategies that can help.
If you’re able to come up with a plan, the next step is to prioritize the tasks, ranking them on a scale of importance and urgency, and then begin tackling them one at a time. Some people get a boost by rewarding themselves along the way, such as taking breaks or listening to music, to break up the monotony and keep your motivation levels high.
When the things you’re experiencing and causing you to be overwhelmed just seem insurmountable it might be good to talk to a trusted friend, or indeed a coach, in order to verbalise your feelings, emotions and explore how reality is for you.
A life coach can help you reduce overwhelm by providing guidance and support to help you gain clarity and focus. Through sessions, a coach can help you identify the underlying causes of your overwhelm and develop strategies to manage it. A coach can help you build your confidence, prioritize tasks, and break down complex goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. A life coach can also help you make small changes to your lifestyle and develop healthier habits that will help you stay focused and energized.
As a final point, please make sure you give yourself time to relax and de-stress. Breathwork and meditation are fabulous for bringing calm and lowering stress – but you have to be present and willing to benefit. Don’t discount small activities such as reading a book, going for a walk, or just sitting still for a few moments. I also urge you to be kind to yourself during this process, and remember that it’s okay to take things slow. Practicing self-compassion takes work, but speaking from experience, it really does help.
I’ve read Kristin Neff’s book, Self Compassion, and am currently working my way through her Workbook. Neff breaks down self-compassion into three elements:
- Self Kindness (vs self-judgement)
- recognising that it’s OK to be imperfect for example, or that sometimes we’ll not get it all right
- Common Humanity (vs isolation)
- we all suffer, and it’s good to recognise that feelings of inadequacy are part of the shared human experience
- Mindfulness (vs over-identification)
- being open to experiencing our feelings in a non-judgmental way and don’t get carried away with a negative reaction
If any of this is resonating with you and you’d like to have a chat please get in touch. An initial chat is your way to look at whether coaching is suitable for your situation, and also whether you wish to work with me. There’s absolutely no obligation to sign up for a coaching package in the call or indeed after it.
Adopting better habits and thought patterns can help us accomplish far more than we feel is possible. Life coaching conversations can help you make those positive changes. You have the space and time to explore what keeps you stuck, unfulfilled and not living aligned to your values. If this sounds like something you’d like to look into take a look at the Services I offer or get in touch to arrange an initial free and informal chat.
In the FREE workbook below I share my 4 step strategy to create a life you love and stop procrastination in its tracks.
I also have a Feeling Wheel FREE resource which is an aid to exploring and deepening your understanding of your feelings. It is used to help uncovering the true nature of feelings, and to empower your thinking and self awareness. Download it here.
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