For most of us life is busy with constant juggling of our work, life and family commitments. There are times when there is just too much going on. Perhaps work is particularly busy, family activities build up or there are unforeseen events which need our attention.
It is during these times, when there is too much going and we do not feel in control, that we begin to feel overwhelmed, and this causes stress.
When we lay awake at night thinking about what needs to be done, or can't focus on what needs our attention, we are not functioning at our best.
The good news is that there are things which you can do to help you take control of overwhelm and get back on track.
Here are 7 steps you can take to deal with overwhelm and to regain clarity and control.
Step 1 - Acknowledge how you feel
This is really important and is the first step of taking control. Just being mindful that you have a lot going on in your life, will help you make sense of how you feel. Lose any guilt or feelings that 'I should be able to cope' and know that sometimes life is too busy. Taking time to stop and think, and giving yourself some head space, is vital.
Step 2 - Make sense of what is causing overwhelm
Stop and think about what is going on for you right now. Write down; what is causing you overwhelm, what you need to do, how you feel, what your fears are and the effect this is having on you. It is really simple, but so important because what this does is to capture everything which is on your mind, all that you need to do and how you feel. Seeing it written down (especially for those who are visual) will help you to take control rather than be passive.
Step 3 - Prioritise what you need to do
Once you have clarity on what is causing overwhelm, you will then be in a position to decide what to do. Write a to-do list and be aware of which things are most important, and keep a check on dates and deadlines. Knowing that in a week life will be less busy will help.
Step 4 - Ditch and delegate what you don't need to do
See if there is anything on your list which you can get rid of or delegate to someone else. Are you taking on too much which really could be done by someone else? Asking for help and letting go of some tasks and responsibilities can bring a sense of relief and give you back control.
Step 5 - Focus on one task at a time
Don't multi-task because multi-tasking just adds to overwhelm. Focus on one task at a time, then you will have a clear mind and be more effective. If you have a lot of different tasks which need your attention that day, allot specific time slots to each one to allow you focus and banish overwhelm.
Step 6 - Take action
One of the most important things to do when you feel overwhelmed is to take action. The tendency is to procrastinate when we are overwhelmed as we do not know where to start or how to move forward. However, once you start to take action then you are back in control and overwhelm begins to disappear.
Step 7 - Seek support
You do not need to experience what you are going through alone. Having the support of others is so important when you feel overwhelmed. The act of sharing what is on your mind will bring you a great sense of relief. Sharing how you feel with a loved one, friend or colleague will allow you to be supported and to know that you are not alone. Find people who you trust who can support you. You can also seek support from a Coach or Mentor for more strategic help.
There is a FREE 'Take control of overwhelm worksheet' to go with this blog. To receive this worksheet and other free resources please click on this link to sign up.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog
My name is Diane Benson and I support busy professional women in their personal and professional development. For a healthy work/life balance, reduced stress and increased effectiveness.
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