The internet and social media in particular can get very overwhelming. There’s always something new to see.
Trying to keep up with it all can be stressful. Instead of just knowing about the lives and thoughts of your close friends and family, you now have an insight into the lives of millions of other people.
Sometimes you might find yourself picking up your phone every few moments with no real purpose except to check for something new and of course there is and so you keep doing it over and over again.
When you find yourself excessively checking, what you probably need is to take a break and disconnect.
Put your phone down and maybe even just turn it off for a few hours or a few days. See how you feel.
You’re likely to find that the less you check your phone, the less you feel the need to check.
Perhaps when you were young, someone taught you that when you feel overwhelmed, step away and give yourself a moment.
Maybe you grew up practising that and maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t you might find that as an adult when you feel overwhelmed you don’t quite know how to handle it.
The feeling might end up growing and growing to the point where it’s now unbearable. Then all of a sudden you remember that in the past it helped to give yourself a moment.
Even though you know it could help, you don’t do it straight away because you’re almost skeptical. It might not work, you might end up feeling exactly the same.
But then you do it, you step away, get some fresh air and take a few deep breaths.
You feel calmer afterwards.
In that moment you remember that (even though you forget time and time again), you’re capable of supporting yourself in difficult or uncomfortable situations.
Is to start.
Not soon, not later and not tomorrow but now.
So often we find ourselves overwhelmed by our ever-growing to-do lists that we end up thinking more planning, more thinking and more organising is the way forward. But at the crux of it all without taking action, nothing is going to change.
You’ll be surprised at how at ease you feel once you start getting things done and actually commit to it for a chunk of time wholeheartedly instead of half-heatedly. Not long after starting you’ll find yourself getting into the flow of it and the anxious feels will begin to simmer.
Often it is merely the thought of doing the work that is causing you to feel overwhelmed not actually doing it.
Sometimes you just need to against the easy option.
Panic is really easy to do. A moment of stress or overwhelm often ends in panic when you don’t know how to handle the situation.
If you find yourself panicking in these situations often, it’ll eventually become a habit. Even when you can handle the situation if you give yourself patience, once you get used to going into panic mode it’ll end up happening at any opportunity.
So, you have to teach yourself not to panic.
It mainly takes patience but you also have to be able to catch yourself in the moment before you start to freak out.
You have to remind yourself that the situation isn’t too much for you and that you’re capable of coming up with a solution.
Now might be the perfect time.
If you find yourself stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, you might also feel a little helpless.
But the chances are you actually have a pretty good idea of what you can do to help yourself.
Rest, put your phone down, turn off your tv or computer, phone a friend, stretch…
However, despite knowing what to do and knowing what will help, we refuse to tend to our own needs.
People will often say things like I don’t have time to rest or I’m too busy to take a break.
But the truth is that mindset comes from not valuing taking care of your well being.
It might feel strange at first but it’s much better for you to regularly rest from life than to be forced to rest every time you work yourself into the ground.
Been there done that, felt awful.
So, these are three little things that work for me because sometimes I need to remind myself that putting things off will never be helpful.
Beginning as soon as possible gives you the most amount of time to work on your thing. I’ve found that it’s often when I leave things until the last minute I don’t have time to work through the challenging bit which shows up as things being too difficult when maybe what I needed was more time.
So I’m a planner. I find that it helps me feel less overwhelmed and gives me the structure I need. Otherwise I get caught up in my thoughts and nothing gets done. It also makes things easier for when you’re doing the work and leaves less room for distraction.
A recent lesson I’ve learnt. If you’ve started and made some plans but are still finding things difficult or maybe if it’s just stressful, talking helps . You might not think it’s true but you might be surprised. Voicing how you feel can be freeing and also depending on who you speak to you might get some helpful advice or a fresh perspective.
What works for you?
Not those of others but your own.
I think a lot of people have expectations for what they want out of life. And despite the popular phrase that goes something like ‘If you’re dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough’, high expectations can be overwhelming.
But something that I’ve learnt is that you have to be committed and pace yourself. If you truly want to achieve something it shouldn’t be conditional, you should be dedicated to it.
I’ve also found it useful to check in and like to refer back to something Seth Godin once said about how you’re either talking to the wring people or you’re not making good enough stuff.
And I’m at a point where I can see that just because I’m trying hard doesn’t mean what I’m producing is good enough for the outcome that I want.
When that happens I take a step back and re-group. I think about what I’m doing that is good and how I can make it better.
My expectations of myself are quite frankly ridiculous which is why I find them overwhelming. Plus, I often make the mistake of focusing too much on the end goal instead of simply just doing the work.
I don’t have a roundup or a takeaway as I’m still learning how to manage the expectations I have of myself.
However, what I will share is that if you find yourself getting overwhelmed or frustrated you probably need to change what you’re doing or the way you’re thinking.
Through discovering the kind of person that I want to become I’ve learnt a lot about who I am.
It’s interesting to observe yourself and how you interact with others. Are you kind to yourself, what are your relationships like, how do you show up in different situations.
When you uncover the things you need to work on it can be hard to accept them in a loving way and not get frustrated at how much work you have to do.
But that awareness is important. Being able to see yourself as you are is important and even though you might feel like the work is too much or overwhelming you don’t have to do it all right now.
You just have to start.
Then work your way through it bit by bit, until eventually you’ll be transformed.
What happened to all those plans you made?
Starting is always exciting and finishing is always the aim. But somehow you let stuff get in the way of your plans.
You focused too much on the problems instead of how to make things happens.
You used your free time passively and felt like you needed more hours in the day.
You ran out of steam.
You listened to that person who said it wouldn’t work.
You lost faith in the plan.
You got stick and didn’t push through.
If your plans are often ending up unfinished you might want to figure out why. You might want to slow down and not get carried away with the joy of starting something new.
You might want to learn to stick things out until the end because some things are worth finishing.
A question worth asking when you’re trying to overcome feeling discontent or stuck.
So let’s say you’re feeling unsatisfied with where you’re at. What are you doing about it?
What are you doing to get past where you’re at and more importantly is what you’re doing helping?
For example if you’re feeling uninspired to create, what are you doing?
Scrolling social media, taking a walk, watching Netflix or youtube, trying to create in spite of the ‘block’, avoiding creating until the feeling passes etc.
Whatever it may be ask yourself ‘is this helping?’
Social media could inspire you or overwhelm you because you already don’t feel great and now you’re filling your mind with other people’s stuff.
But maybe that walk refreshes you or creating when you don’t feel like it allows you to get past the not so good stuff and onto the stuff that’s great.
However, if it’s not helping do something else.