It is no secret that we live in a society where we are overwhelmed. We are inundated daily with information, the constant rings and pings of our phones and social media, an unending barrage of activities, appointments and invitations in our calendars. It is exhausting just looking at what is coming up ahead in our lives before we have even lived it!
I don’t think I have anxiety as such but I am definitely an overthinker and a worrier. Now that I’m a bit older and can be a bit more analytical of myself and how I deal with events in my life, I realise how susceptible I am to being overwhelmed in a negative way. As a first time mum, it was all the conflicting advice I was told that triggered the overwhelming feeling with obviously the worry that I was never parenting in the correct way. As a human being, I’m constantly concerned about the awful events happening in the world in terms of war and also the state of the environment.
I find it difficult to watch the news because it is always so negative and depressing. I want to do a better job of refusing, reusing and recycling, but if I don’t do it properly, I feel guilty for doing so. I want to make more of my food from scratch but this takes more time, which I don’t really have because our lives are so busy! When I start getting overwhelmed it can often lead to me getting rundown. My mum’s favourite line “burning the candle at both ends” comes to mind but I feel like if I don’t fit the things I enjoy in my life, what kind of life is that going to be?
It’s a constant juggle between doing the necessities and capturing some ‘me time’. Sometimes if it all gets too much I need to completely pull back and scrap some things so that I don’t get to the point of exhaustion. The Overwhelm starts like a hungry feeling in my stomach and then moves to my head as a headache due to my neck muscles tensing up. I can feel it happening and I know then that I have to act fast before it pulls me down. Here are ten tips I have for fighting The Overwhelm that work for me.
- Do something that makes you happy and calms you down, (for example I will put my favourite music on to belt out some tunes, or I play the guitar)
- Meditation or moving meditation: if you are like me and your mind wanders during meditation, maybe a moving meditation like the yoga Sun Salutation would be better
- Keep busy but not too busy! Keep yourself busy with little things so that you don’t get caught up in the big stuff. Obviously the trick is not to do too many things that you get rundown though.
- Be healthy: make good choices so that if you do get overwhelmed you can fuel yourself with healthier treats to avoid a junk food crash. Exercise enough that it invigorates you but not to the point that it exhausts you.
- Don’t watch or read the news: the really important news you will hear on the radio or it will come up in social media. Reading is definitely easier than watching if you like to keep up to date and then you can always choose what interests you. It sounds terrible but since not watching the evening news (since having kids), I do feel much more positive now that those images are not circling through my mind.
- Do things in small steps when you’re ready: I have so many things that I would like to do that just don’t fit into my life right now but when I am able to do them I will. In terms of the War On Waste, I am starting to use the redcycle bins and we are reusing the same bin bag for our recycling. It’s baby steps but it is what we can do right now, so that’s okay.
- Plan and prioritize: For me, planning out a monthly calendar and writing a to do list helps me feel less overwhelmed as it breaks down tasks.
- Say ‘no’: As a people pleaser this is a very difficult thing to do but sometimes you have to think of your own well being and stop saying ‘yes’ to too many things.
- Surround yourself with like minded and positive people
- If you can – let someone know when they are overwhelming you. I find this easiest to do with people that I am close to, like good friends and family members. I just say that I’m not in the right headspace at that moment and ask if we can talk about whatever they’re talking about when I’m going to be better able to deal with it. I think we’ve all been in that situation at some time or another.
I hope that list in itself was not too overwhelming! Do you get overwhelmed? How do you deal with it? I’d love to hear more suggestions if you have any!