Last week I had one of those weeks. You know those ones where you want to stick your middle finger up to the sky and say F%CK YOU universe!
It was a lot!
Overwhelm was abundant…
Everything felt impossible.
I consistently overreacted to things that normally wouldn’t bother me.
I experienced mood changes… one minute angry and the next crying at the drop of a hat.
I was mentally exhausted and found myself easily confused and unable to concentrate.
I just wanted to be left alone.
Textbook overwhelm signs… although I must admit it took me a minute to realise while I was in the thick of it.
But once I did, I reached for my toolkit and began practicing what I preach.
And surprise, surprise I felt better for it.
It got me thinking… I haven’t shared this with you…. well not for a while.
So here are the FIVE steps I used last week to help nip overwhelm in the bud.
Because overwhelm affects everyone! And this info is probably just what you need, now that we are heading towards the pointy end of the year.
So here we go…
Step One: Calm Your Nervous System
Your brain has limits! If you want to start offloading anxiety and internal chatter you need to quieten it down. If you're anything like me your internal chatter could talk under water - the to do lists, the what ifs? The he said, she said, I said… It’s paralysing! QUIET IT DOWN!
1. Get outside for a quick walk and fresh air
2. Box Breathing (breathe in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts and then hold your breath for 4 counts)
3. Make a cup of tea and sip it in peace and quiet with no distractions
Step Two: Brain Dump
Once your mind is quiet (or at least quieter than before) create some space in your brain. Jot down everything that’s going through your mind – your thoughts, your to do list and unfinished tasks that are triggering your stress response.
I loved doing this! There was so much junk in my head so this felt extremely cathartic.
Step Three: Prioritise + Organise
Look at your brain dump and ask yourself what’s in your control and what’s not? The stuff that’s not in your control, cross out and let go. The stuff within your control - identify the most important things you need to focus on, what you need to action and number them in order and delegate (where possible).
You will be surprised by how much (of what’s swimming around your head) cannot be influenced by you. So say goodbye, let it go and focus on what you can.
Step Four: Ask and accept help
Don’t suffer in silence! Talk about it, share what’s going on to people that may be available to help. You will be amazed how support (big or small) can reduce the heaviness of overwhelm. Reach out to family, friends, work colleagues or even me!
Honestly, I can't stress this step enough. Often things seem so much bigger and harder when you keep them to yourself. Allow yourself the grace to be vulnerable and gain some perspective and support. It’s a game changer!
Step Five: Schedule + Start
If your to do list is consuming you? Identify when you are going to work on your first three tasks and get started. As you achieve each task or tackle each issue you will find the overwhelm will become less and less. If you find overwhelm creeping back in, take a break and attempt step one again and calm your nervous system.
Truthfully, sometimes I found myself back at the start. My body felt tense and my thoughts began racing – I observed the warning signs and instead of beating myself up I went back to step one to calm myself down. I reminded myself to just focus on one thing at a time. Yes, it took a few attempts, but I got there and you will too.
Have a go and if after some attempts you still find these steps aren’t working for you, it may be time to reach out to me or another trusted mental health professional.
You may benefit from some support to:
• understand the root cause of your overwhelm;
• explore ways to self-soothe;
• address recurring situations that contribute to overwhelm;
• learn coping skills to deal with any situations that cannot be prevented; and
• treat any mental health issues contributing to overwhelm.
Book in a FREE 15 minute Mental Wellness Call TODAY to discuss how I can support you with overwhelm.
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