Overwhelmed

People that have have a habit of taking on more than they can manage rarely make the effort to try and ease their load. Instead they accept the period of stress as though there is no other choice. In fact they’ve come to rely on the stress and looming deadlines to spur them on and get things done.

However, this doesn’t always work. Sometimes the stress just leaves you stressed.

That’s not what you want when you’re under the impression that you can use stress to your advantage.

Sometimes stress leaves you overwhelmed and unable to focus like normal to the point where you’d rather quit than carry on. It’s not healthy to put yourself under unnecessary pressure, especially when you have the option to make things easier for yourself.

And so start paying attention to yourself. How much can you take on before you start to feel overwhelmed? Learn to start saying no before you reach your limit and end up feeling overloaded.

It’s not that important

Sometimes things that aren’t that important get dressed up to be the most important thing in the world.

You react by getting overwhelmed and stressed. This effects you’re sleep, general mood and how you interact with others.

As much as you want to feel good within you’re body, you can’t help but sacrifice that for the sake of the thing that is important.

But then you might find that the deadline you’d been proiortising was much more flexible than you thought.

And so, even though you rushed about trying to get things finished, it turns out it was pointless. You were much better off making yourself priority.

Small wonderful moments

In life there are small wonderful moments that remind you to trust that everything is always working itself out.

These moments occur almost randomly yet they’re in perfect synchronicity.

It’s so easy to get caught up in ‘the overwhelm’. The overwhelm is the stress, anxiety and fear that occurs in life. These occurrences may be big or small but often we hold onto them much tighter than we need to and we let them consume us.

And then suddenly something happens like you notice a beautiful flower, you receive a message from someone you hold dear or something makes you laugh.

It’s always something small but it’s more than enough to totally transform your day.

What matters most?

When it comes to what is important sometimes we confuse external pressures or expectations with what really matters to us personally.

In doing so we end up focusing on and prioritising the wrong things.

These external things could come from work, family or friends and they overwhelm us because we aren’t clear about what we’re willing to give.

Maybe you end up working late because you have a lot of deadlines in a short period of time and it’s important that it gets done. But, if you take the time to think it turns out that what matters most to you is that you have time to de-stress as being busy has you in a constant state of overwhelm.

It’s important that the work get’s done but our wellbeing is what matters most.

Even if you know what matters most sometimes it still turns out that we’re not able to acknowledge and take action in the moment. It’s only upon reflection that we’re able to identify what we should have done at the time.

More than you can manage

Sometimes in a bid to grow, develop and push ourselves we end up taking on more than we can manage.

You think the challenge is what you need, you think you need to be pushed and you want to prove yo yourself that you can manage.

But often you just end up stressed and overwhelmed, wishing that you had said no instead of yes. Often the end result is far from what you intended because the stress and overwhelm didn’t give you the adrenaline to produce something great, it left you feeling burnt-out and exhausted.

And so it is important to find the balance between pushing yourself and pushing yourself overboard.

Does more choice make us happier?

A lot of people regularly find themselves overwhelmed.

The possibilites in every area of life are growing more and more each day.

There was a point in time where what you ate was limited to what you could kill and what you could grow at that time of year.

On one hand having more choice gives us the possibility of a richer life with more freedom. And let’s not forget, the increase in choice is the result of innovation that has has resulted in more options than humans once thought was possible.

However, having more choice can also make things harder, having 100 options instead of 10 can end up causing unnecessary stress. This in turn can reduce your overall happiness.

I think the important thing to remember is that no matter how much or how little choice you have, there is always room for innovation.

But we can’t ignore the unhelpful side effects of increased choice and so the important thing to remember is that when you know what you want you’re less likely to be overwhelmed.

The consumer doesn’t care

The viewer or the consumer does not have to care about what went on behind the scenes. They are there for the art not the person and I think that in some cases that’s the way it should be.

In other cases, like on social media, the consumer is often there for the person just as much as if not more than they’re there for the art (or whatever creative thing that the person does).

This is why people with highly dedicated fans/followers will be supported no matter what they do.

I think that because of social media there are now blurred lines between what is business and what is personal.

But it is important to know that just because you’re visible online and people may know what you do it doesn’t mean that they care. Some people are there for the work, not for you and that is perfectly alright.

So, if you offer a product or service and the customer is not satisfied they might voice how they feel. If it is not considered good enough the customer doesn’t necessarily care that you did your best and that you will be better next time. They care that they bought someone thing they are not happy with.

And so your job is not to find customers that care about you personally but to instead to show up, create great work and deliver.

How to stop feeling so overwhelmed?

The answer is in the question.

Stop.

The feeling of being overwhelmed often comes when we don’t allow ourselves to feel something and instead adopt a go, go, go mindset.

Instead taking care of yourself and working through your feelings, you fill your mind and time with 101 distractions that will eventually catch up to you.

Or maybe you’ve taken on too much, you have a lot going on and haven’t had enough time to rest to keep you going in a way that is healthy.

What ever the case may be, you can’t keep going.

When told to stop or even just slow down we often use the excuse that we can’t. Perhaps it is that people are relying on you or you think there’s too much to be done.

But as it is those things that are causing the overwhelm, it’s exactly what you need a break from.

So stop, even just for a few minutes, it will make more of a difference than you think.

Procrastination and relying on stress

Anyone who regularly procrastinates will tell you that they want to do the thing but they just keep putting it off. Often when we procrastinate we justify it to ourselves by prioriting things with low urgency that still give us that good feeling of that comes from getting things done.

We tell ourselves we’ll start later or tomorrow and we convince ourselves that that we still have enough time to get it done.

But what tends to happen is we just continue to put things off more and more. We do this until our stress levels start to increase and we reach the point where if we don’t start now we’ll miss the deadline.

And so you finally begin.

I had a recent experience with procrastination and once the work was complete I ended up reflecting on my behaviour.

When you get into the habit of choosing to procrastinate until the last possible moment, you train yourself to rely on stress to get things done. And so the next time you have a deadline you’re unable to find the motivation because you’re waiting for the adrenaline to kick in.

I think there are 2 main ways to stop procrastinating.

The first way is to experience things going wrong as a result of your procrastination. When our habits have negative implications this encourages a change in behaviour. It might start with you giving yourself 5 days for something instead of two and slowly build up until you become someone who always makes sure they have enough time.

The second is to just start straight away next time. We tell ourselves it’s difficult to start and just decide that it’s true when it’s not at all. Starting takes a little effort and commitment but it’s not as challenging as you tell yourself.

It’ll probably help to remind yourself of the benefits of starting straight away like being able to work at a steady pace instead of having to cram everything into a short period of time.

If you’re someone with a habit of procrastinating, it might not seem easy to change but it’s definitely possible.

Knowing when to disconnect

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.