Feeling overwhelmed? Here are my go-to tools
I haven’t written a blog for a while, having had a baby earlier this year, I’m in the midst of the ensuing chaos that comes with a baby, a toddler and a play seeking dog whilst building a new house in the garden! Life has gone beyond chaos and there are times when the dog is barking (at a passing aeroplane), baby crying and toddler screaming for me that I feel quite frankly overwhelmed.
In those moments I freeze, unable to know what to do and who to help and have a huge desire to run for the nearest exit, or run for the hills like Julie Andrews.
It got me thinking about the times in all our lives when we are all up against it, when we feel backed up against the wall, trapped, struggling to know what to do and how to act. My experience is motherhood at the moment, but this feeling is equally true of many experiences in all our lives. Perhaps it’s the work deadline looming when you’re not too sure what to do exactly, but are too embarrassed to ask for help. Perhaps it’s the relationship you want to escape, but feel even more pressure to commit to, or the work project that’s dropped on you at the last minute. It’s the many life situations that make you feel lost, not in control, struggling and not sure where to turn.
I feel at the moment I am learning fast and as these situations tend to be- at points- on a daily basis it has given me a good chance to see what works and what doesn’t.
Here’s some ways to help you with overwhelm
Breathe– a simple strategy but one that is regularly forgotten- breathe! Go to the toilet shut the door and breathe in and breathe out, it may take a breath or two to realise you are breathing and for it to make a difference but keep at it, it does help you get back in your body and out your head and out of your overwhelm.
Shake it all out / do something physical, when we are stressed, running around, feeling under pressure we have a build up of energy within us that needs an outlet. Shaking out your arms and legs or going for a walk outside all help to release that energy and get you back on track.
Be aware of what the inner thoughts are– on the days when I am struggling and can feel frustration and overwhelm inside, I bring my awareness to the stories I am telling myself inside. If you are overwhelmed and stressed, check in with the stories and thoughts on regular repeat in your mind. Ask yourself ‘Are the thoughts helping support me in this experience? Or, fuelling anger, anxiety, frustration?’ Thoughts are so powerful in shaping our life experience. What’s even more powerful is remembering that we all have a choice to decide if we listen to the thoughts or not and that choice is always there.
Music– there is nothing like a song sung at the top of your voice or a piece of music to dance to recalibrate you. Have some close at hand. Shine by Take That, Come Alive- Greatest Showman are a couple of my faves.
Tap-Emotional Freedom Technique is an amazing way to recalibrate you. In the midst of the chaos when I can’t see the wood from the trees tapping on my collarbone or along the side of my hand helps calm me so I can make the decisions at hand, Google ‘Brad Yates You tube’ for EFT videos.
Get sleep! On the days after a night of tag-teaming wake ups from the little ones I am amazed at how my inner voice turns from an inner cheerleader to a negative gremlin. The downward spiral of lack of sleep on your inner world is immense. And this goes for all of us. Worrying about things through the night makes sleep hard too. Make sleep a priority for you, go to bed uber early, cat nap during the day if you can and switch off the technology. Just knowing and being aware of what your inner voice is saying to you can also really help realise it isn’t you or your life it is the sleep deprivation.
This too shall pass– Goodness, a phrase that rings so true and yet is so hard to remember in the midst of whatever is going on. Every stage we are in, every deadline we need to meet, every thing we need to do, whatever uncertainty and overwhelm is coming your way remembering that ‘this too shall pass’ helps give hope to challenging situations. It helps give perspective. Pin it somewhere in your home, put it as a mantra on your phone. Hard as it is to remember there will be good bits and bad bits to what is going on in your life, focus on the good and remember it will all pass soon enough.
Life is full of times where we are up against it, feeling like life is spiralling out of control and chaotic. Remembering and putting in place strategies to support you through these times help ease the experience.
Above all be kind to you- kindness and compassion for ourselves helps us get through.