Overwhelm is a state of being that occurs when you have too many things to juggle and too much to do in an inadequate time frame. Symptoms include: irritability, frustration, emotional outbursts, procrastination (oh the irony) and burnout.
Many of the clients I coach are overwhelmed and battling to manage all the aspects of their work and home lives. Work commitments often take precedence over your home life which can make overwhelm feel even worse. As well as managing your own emotionally frazzled state, you may well be negotiating with a disgruntled spouse or kids.
I consider myself to be an expert in the field of overwhelm because it was my norm for over a decade. Thanks to a large wake up call in 2016 when I experienced an horrendous episode of burnout, I have since made a series of transformative life changes including: outsourcing admin tasks, restructuring my pricing, taking time off regularly, communicating with my partner more, getting clear on my goals, saying ‘no’ to things that don’t add value to my life or business, practicing emotional regulation (find a resource for that here) and being realistic about what I can actually achieve in a day.
Coping with feelings of overwhelm earlier this year when I had a collection of big changes happening in my personal life was what lead me to learn HeartMath. The emotional regulation techniques are amazing and helped me get through a difficult few months.
Here are a few of my practical strategies for dealing with overwhelm:
- List out the most pressing tasks you’ve got to do and work through them one by one. If you can’t manage alone, ask for, or if you’re running your own business, pay for help.
- Talk to your boss about what you can and can’t realistically do. If you’re the boss, refer to my previous point.
- Look after your mental wellbeing with daily meditation and mindfulness. Calming your mental chatter is the first step to relieving overwhelm.
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. If you’re pushing through on less than 7 hours of sleep a night, you’re essentially running on empty which will make you feel worse.
- Seek out professional help. This might be a psychologist or GP if your overwhelm is accompanied by anxiety or depression, or a coach if you need a different perspective on how you’re doing things.
- Train your emotional resilience muscles. Emotional resilience is the ability to cope with stressful and overwhelming situations without being taken out of the game. Learning this skill is life changing and I share how to develop emotional resilience in my group coaching program.
- Take a break. I appreciate that when you’re feeling overwhelmed, a break is the last thing you have time for, but your health and wellbeing has to take priority.
Overwhelm doesn’t go away on its own, it needs to be managed. Often it can be a few simple tweaks to your time management or workload that make all the difference, along with asking for help. I’m adept at helping my clients create and implement new strategies for living and enjoying life without overwhelm. Get in touch with me here, or book a free strategy call in here.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
– Anne Lamott