If you feel overwhelmed, then listen carefully to what your body is telling you. There will be hormones racing around your body warning you of possible harm, hormones telling you to give yourself a break and to value yourself and treat yourself with respect.
It’s all too easy to think of ourselves as doing-machines, just working our way through an endless list of tasks. But we are not. We are not powered by electricity or gas but by, amongst other things, a good diet, time with family and friends, time to be ourselves, rest, sleep and exercise.
So if you are feeling overwhelmed, stop and give yourself time to think and to appreciate the good things, to reassess, to adjust your perspective, to reprioritise and take back control.
Use a magic carpet
When we feel overwhelmed by all the things we think we have to do, it’s hard to think clearly and we don’t feel in control. By distancing ourselves from the situation we can look at it without the associated emotions and find fresh perspectives more easily. Hence the idea of a magic carpet which can help us to visualise moving away and then looking on from afar. This help to put us back in control.
When we feel overwhelmed, there’s a temptation to plan and over plan, to fill up every spare moment with an activity whether it’s a task that has to be done or a planned leisure activity. But how about actually planning ‘a hole’– some nothing-time. Time when you actually plan to do nothing or just do as the mood takes you. This can seem weird and, dare I say, non-productive at first but what it actually allows you to do is to just ‘be’. It gives you permission to step out of your everyday world, to just be you and hopefully when you step back into that everyday world you will feel more in control of it
Use sticky notes
When we feel overwhelmed by all the things we think we have to do, it’s hard to think clearly and we don’t feel in control. By writing everything down on its own sticky note, we can then put these in an order that makes sense to us, for example, ‘important to not-important’, ‘want to do to don’t want to do’, ‘can be done quickly to will take ages’. This helps to put us back in control.
When we feel overwhelmed by all the things we think we have to do, it’s hard to think clearly and we don’t feel in control. By physically moving away from the place where we are feeling overwhelmed we can break the overwhelm cycle. Physical activity, even just a short walk around the block, causes different parts of our brain to fire up. It can also give us different things to look at and an opportunity to consciously focus on something outside of our overwhelming thoughts.
On top of this, planning physical activity into your everyday routine has been shown to help promote better sleep, happier moods and higher self-esteem and help manage stress, anxiety and intrusive and racing thoughts.