Ask Sam; How to stop feeling overwhelmed.

May 12, 2016 | Ask Sam, Women at work

A really common thing that people ask for my help with is that feeling of being overwhelmed. Someone in the Stop the Flitter Group posted this scenario, asking for some pointers in how to move forward;

I have to confess my head is in a bit of a spin with a few things I have to deal with that of course are all happening at once….trying to get some perspective…it’s affecting my capacity to be Mummy, Daughter, reliable friend etc etc.

I am sure there are a lot of you that are reading that and nodding your head, thinking ‘Uh huh that’s me!’.

So many people are juggling numerous demands on their time and resources, and it can often leave you feeling like you don’t know what to do first and that you are doing nothing effectively. This can continue for a while, leaving you feeling like you are sinking beneath a huge pile of things that need attention. The Overwhelm Gremlin can leave you feeling paralysed and unable to begin anything.

Here are a few steps that can help get rid of the overwhelm gremlin and welcome back the sense that you are being effective and have a plan;

Example of a brain dump to release the overwhelm gremlin

Example of a brain dump to release the overwhelm gremlin

STEP ONE: Have a brain dump. It is always good to get all those thoughts out of your head. Whether it is on paper, on a note in your phone/tablet in your diary etc. Literally just get all of the thoughts, fears, emotions etc written down and out of your mind. Whilst they stay in your mind they take up so much more room and feel like insurmountable mountains; the Overwhelm Gremlin. Don’t try to organise them at this stage, just splurt them out! Once you see them in black and white, it can be easier to then start ordering them.

STEP TWO: Now, it is time to start giving the Overwhelm Gremlin some structure and purpose, and redefining it! Time to decide which ones to just leave, which ones to get rid of, which ones to attend to etc.

  • What things are there on your brain dump that can be crossed through from the start? Is there anything that has been taking up head space that is out of your control, that you cannot do anything about?
  • What is the least important thing, that doesn’t matter if it doesn’t get any attention for a while?
  • What is the most important thing, that really must be dealt with before anything else?
  • With the rest, take time to be realistic about your limits and demands, and set timescales that feel comfortable.
  • Finally organise them into a structured list, in whatever way works best for you, but make sure you are realistic. It is also really important that you then tick them off, cross them off or delete them when they are done.
  • Congratulations! You should now have transformed the Overwhelm Gremlin into an actionable plan.

STEP THREE:  As hard as it may be to do this when feeling overwhelmed, make some time for you to do something to nourish you – a bath, read a good book, take a walk – whatever makes you feel like you and like you are giving yourself a hug. This will help you then be able to tackle things.

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