Overwhelm happens to the best of us. I know. As a wife, a mom, and a business owner (to name a few!), even I’ve struggled with overwhelm on more than a few occasions.
Just recently, I contemplated the fact that the year is now already more than half over… and with that thought, the wheels of my mind started spinning. Before I knew it, I was sending messages to myself to “hurry” and “get everything done” before it’s “too late”.
Here’s what I did to ground myself – you can use these same nuggets of advice to bring yourself back down to earth the next time life has you overwhelmed…
1. Be Kind to Yourself
For many of us, hearing a phrase like “easy does it” only adds more fuel to the fire: to get it done, pronto. “If I just finish that stack of paperwork, I can kick back,” you tell yourself. Making our experience dependent on “if” and “when” factors often leads to one destination: overwhelm and ultimately, burnout.
The truth is, freedom and greater ease are available to you right now, wherever you are. These do not depend on whether or not you accomplish everything on your to-do list.
Be kind enough to yourself to consider what your needs are in this moment. Do you need a five-minute break? Would you benefit from a quick walk outdoors in the fresh air? A power nap? A few minutes in meditation? Some journaling?
Your needs will likely be different from day to day. I find that when I pay attention to what I really need and spend even a small amount of time on it, that rushed feeling starts to diminish, and I begin to naturally feel more peaceful and fulfilled.
2. Finding Peace in an Unsettled World
Author Tony Schwartz quotes Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington in an HBR article about being mindful in an “unmanageable” world.
“I believe this is a very special moment in history, a kind of perfect storm. There is a growing recognition – to borrow language from AA – that our world has become unmanageable.”
There’s no doubt increasing numbers of people the world over find life unmanageable. Schwartz affirms that an article he penned for The New York Times called “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive.” received an overwhelming response, often describing the sense of overwhelm people feel at work.
“Just below the surface of our shared compulsion to do ever more, ever faster, is a deep hunger to do less, more slowly,” asserts Schwartz.
Above, I talked about how being kind to yourself and mindful of your needs is crucial. It’s equally as important to be mindful of others. Listen to others and try to understand their own point of view. Consider the struggles they may be facing.
3. Create a Space for Yourself
We all need downtime – it’s absolutely essential. Moreover, the benefits of relaxation are proven to help relieve muscle tension, decrease anxiety, and enhance your wellbeing. And when you feel relaxed, you’re more likely to respond to all life’s stressors with a calm, poised frame of mind.
Setting aside time for relaxation is more than simply taking a few minutes here or there to be gentle to yourself. If you can set aside 20-30 minutes each day, you’re likely to see very positive results over time that benefit many areas of your life.
Even better, plan larger blocks of dedicated downtime at least several times a year. For instance, I just had the opportunity to enjoy Miami for several days. Of course, I’m not suggesting you have to make huge travel plans just to enjoy some downtime.
Work with your own unique needs to create space for yourself – whether it’s a planned getaway across town or across the globe (or maybe even a private little staycation right in your own home)!
The goal is to create a space for yourself to allow for greater freedom and ease – mentally and physically.
Photo Cred: ProffittManagement.com