Overwhelm hits us when we have a lot going on and/or are in the midst of change. The problem with feeling overwhelmed is that the mind spins and this can have a paralyzing and severely demoralizing effect. It feels really bad to spend time in this emotional place. You might even feel trapped. I have been thinking about this concept a lot since I recently had two daughters leave home and go out on their own and at the same time two grown children move back in the house unexpectedly. I find myself feeling a mix of emotions. This gave me the opportunity to practice the concepts that I use with my clients.
Here are 7 ways you can handle overwhelm and really do what you want to be doing on a daily basis. And I have found myself using these same concepts to get through my recent transitions.
1. Let go. Stop trying to control the world. We begin a project with an idea of what will happen, and when we get surprised; there is that inclination to feel frustrated. “Hey, this isn’t fair. This isn’t what I planned.” Sound familiar? Let go of needing to control the situation. Try it- feel the release as you let go.
2. Accept what is. Whatever is going on- accept it rather than try to fight it. When you accept what is- then you are free to act. You have the energy to take action. You haven’t used up all of your energy trying to fight and force things into place.
3. Stop beating yourself up. Release blame. It does not help you to go over and over what you think you should have done or said. Stop blaming other people too. You don’t need to make yourself or other people “wrong” in order to deal with your life in the moment.
4. Do what works. Yes, this is the key. If you know that a long walk calms you down, do that. If you know that balancing your check book makes you feel more in control- do that. If you know that writing in your journal gives you clarity, do that.
5. Do what you want to do and delegate the rest. If you think you “should” be doing something but it feels forced or you don’t like it- don’t do it. For example, in my own situation regarding moving people in and moving people out- I realized that adults are empowered to plan their own moves. My daughters’ planned and implemented everything (I was on hand to help- but I released my title- as Master of the Universe). On the other hand, if taking an action feels good and empowering, by all means, take action. Use this concept when dealing with long to-do lists.
6. Release worry and guilt. Worry and guilt are burdensome emotions. Love yourself and others without worry and guilt attached. A simple exercise is to place your hand over your heart and concentrate on the feeling of love. Hold this position for a few minutes.
7. Take care of your health. Eat well, sleep well, move your body, take your vitamins, manage your stress, and pay attention to your needs.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed and are trying to decide what to do- ask yourself- “What is most important? What is my legacy? Bottom line- do what works for you and what you feel good about doing. Trust your inner guidance. Busy is good and healthy- overwhelm is not.
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What do you do to manage overwhelm?
Dr. Sheri Kaye Hoff
Your Inspired Action Success Coach