Do you have so much on your plate right now that you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out most of the time? Do you have too much going on and feeling overworked, frustrated and under-appreciated?
WANT TO GET BACK TO A PLACE OF MENTAL CLARITY AND RELAXATION?
In our age of fast paced lifestyles and heightened commercialism, everywhere we turn is a demand for our attention. On top of the information overload, we are working longer, and taking less time off. The result? More stress and less time for ourselves. Juggling between work, children, family and our personal needs it’s easy to get sucked into the never-ending list of to-dos.
Let’s look at five important and useful stress management techniques to overcome this sense of exhaustion and anxiety in order to live a more relaxed and stress-free lifestyle.
FIVE WAYS TO OVERCOME THE OVERWHELM
1. STEP AWAY
Sounds simple, I know. But sometimes, we can become so engrossed in what we are doing and in trying to make things “just right” that it becomes impossible to step away. However, you can’t overcome feeling overwhelmed when you’re in the thick of it. You have to step away to be able to view your circumstances from a fresh perspective.
Suggestion– Temporarily move your work or project to a different room, get up from your desk, and go out for a walk/yoga class or go sit in a café. Stepping away from your current situation and changing your environment will help you gain clarity and shift you away from your overwhelming state of mind. New ideas and energy may flow into your brain when you give yourself a brief change of scenery.
When we are feeling overwhelmed, our minds becomes clouded by the tasks at hand and by thoughts that cause us to feel stressed. Many times, we get so caught up in our doing, that we forget why we are even doing what we are doing.
Suggestion — Start with asking yourself, “Why am I doing what I am doing?” If there is a task you have to do such as exercise but it feels like one more thing added to your plate. Re-connect to the reasons behind the doing. It can be a reminder that it will decrease stress and to feel healthier. These reminders may make it feel less burdensome.
Whenever we are feeling overwhelmed, there is likely a lot going on inside our head. Ideas and thoughts race around in our minds and clutter up our mental space. The best thing to do is to get these thoughts out on paper. I cannot emphasize this step enough- “Write it all down!” is by far the number one suggestion I give to my clients who deal with racing thoughts.
Suggestion — Grab a pen and a piece of paper, a notebook. Start jotting down everything on your mind. Write without editing and write out every thought. If you have a bunch of to-dos running in your head — list them all out. If you have an idea –brainstorm on paper. And remember not to worry about keeping things looking neat and perfect. Once our jumbled and tense thoughts and plans find expression on a page they will often stop afflicting us and free up our minds to return to a good night’s rest or to enjoy ourselves more in the moment.
People are amazing. Often, we are the problem that is blocking the help we need from getting to us. Because we think family or friends will say no to our request for help or support, we never ask for what we need.
Suggestion – Ask for help and be prepared to be amazed at the generosity that others are willing to provide. The key is to get comfortable with being on the receiving end of being helped. Most people would rather help than be helped because helping someone else can feel like such a powerful position. Most people would love to help someone else if only they knew what that person needed. So, take a risk and open up to asking others for help and then be willing to receive that help when it arrives. You can pay it forward in the future when those around you need some love and support. You will be there for them.
5. BOUNDARIESTime is our most precious commodity. So be mindful. Spend it wisely and consciously.
Suggestion — Start with asking yourself what is most important to you? Once you’ve decided what’s important, create boundaries around important activities and do not budge with any incoming distractions. Do not allow unimportant noise and activities to creep in. Because both email and Facebook can be such time suckers, set boundaries such as only checking it once a day for 30 minutes. In other words, do only what’s absolutely necessary, and anything that doesn’t get done during this time will just go on the list for a future time.
Finally, when we simply acknowledge that we’re feeling overwhelmed we take a huge step forward. Creating awareness about how we feel can help us move into action to regulate our emotions and shift our behaviors in a more positive direction. Remember, you have the ability to design the life you want and the freedom to create the rules.
Getting Out of Your Own Way
I have recently been presented with a few opportunities that will challenge me, stretch me past my comfort zone, and create growth.
I am excited and at the same time a little nervous. There is the side of me that is super excited and I know it will be great for me. The fearful side of me is pulling at me to stay where I am, to step back into comfort.
When we are moving out of our comfort zone, questions can come up such as what if I'm not good enough? What if I can't meet expectations? What if I don't have the resources? What if it’s hard? What if I don’t like it? What if I'm not ready yet? What if I'm choosing the wrong thing? Does this sound familiar? These questions can be crippling if we allow them to be.
So, I am letting the fears be there, however I am not allowing them to take charge and be in the driver's seat. I have the ability to make decisions and I believe in my abilities in general.
With these opportunities to grow, to evolve and to move forward in life, something different happened. As the doubts come up, I have been able to get in touch with a deeper calm. A questions I keep asking is:
What are the possibilities if I get out of my own way?
And I began to wonder … What happens when you stop fighting yourself? When you stop looking for all the reasons that you don’t deserve it yet? When you finally let life give you all the good stuff it possibly can. All the stuff that is waiting just beyond the line of what you perceive is your upper limit. And you stop wondering or worrying about how it’s going to get here and who might deliver it. Better yet, you stop trying to control how it’s all going to happen.
Instead, you simply stay open and allow. You allow yourself to be loved. To be cherished. To be unapologetically happy. You allow yourself to be as successful as you can dream up. You allow yourself to be safe. To be supported. You allow opportunities to come into life and you actually take them. Even though you don’t know the potential they hold yet.
If this resonates with you, it’s time to silence those doubts. Time to step all in. Time to surprise yourself. Time to expand. Are you ready?
It is entirely possible that all you’ve ever truly wanted is standing on your doorstep ust waiting to be invited in. Our defensive and survival mechanisms do everything it can to keep us safe. The security of knowing how it is and how it will be if we keep things the same. However the world is waiting for you to grow. To keep moving forward. To keep expanding and learning and making an impact.
Step in. Stop sitting on the sidelines. Stop waiting for the right thing. Stop thinking of all the reasons you aren’t allowed or you shouldn’t or you can’t. Stop blocking your own success. Start thinking of all the reasons you can and you will and you have to. Begin to look for opportunity. Better yet, begin to expect it. You are just as deserving as anyone else out there. Just as worthy. Just as ready.
Licensed counselor, outdoor enthusiast, yoga lover and passionate about wellness.