In today’s culture, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I’m sure you have a lot on your plate. It seems that each day you put off some task or responsibility until tomorrow until you have such a backlog of things to do that you feel like your brain is going to explode. No? Maybe I’m the only one, but I doubt it.
If you’re a real go-getter, it’s next to impossible to relax under these circumstances.
However, putting aside anxiety and stress is crucial for a lot of reasons. Simple daily stress and anxiety can build up, and lead to a medical diagnosis of overwhelm. Yep, I’m not kidding you. That actually exists. It’s more likely a combination of high cortisol and adrenal fatigue, but hey, sometimes doctors call it like they see it. When someone is clinically diagnosed as overwhelmed, they have reached the point where they cannot function normally, and they cannot get through the simplest of daily routines. I bet you don’t have to be “diagnosed” to know when you’ve hit your breaking point. Am I right?
You NEED to Add Stress Relief to Your Schedule
The key to relaxing in today’s hectic, stress-filled, “Go, Go, Go!” world is to prioritize time for stress-relief. You must make time in your daily and weekly schedule planning for “down time” and de-stressing. This could mean adding to 10-minute sessions of exercise to your daily routine or indulging in an Epsom salt (studies have shown that the magnesium sulfate in Epsom salts is effective against colds and flu!) and essential oil-infused hot bath. (Don’t forget the wine!)
To keep from being overwhelmed, you may choose prayer, quiet contemplation, aromatherapy, music therapy, or reading a good book as your stress-relievers. Whatever calms your mind and takes you to your “happy place”, make sure you schedule enough of that activity. This means actually writing down these stress-relieving sessions in your calendar, and not skipping a single one of them. Treat these appointments as such – a MUST attend session of caring for yourself.
De-Clutter and Outsource
Clutter kills productivity and unconsciously causes your brain to stress out. You know it does. Your brain automatically tries to deal with every bit of sensory input you receive. This means that the things you see, touch, hear, smell, and taste all have to be dealt with by your brain. When you have too much input coming in, especially when it is unnecessary, this clutter creates anxiety and stress.
Avoiding overwhelm is always preferred to having to deal with it once it develops. Stop buying crap you don’t need.
This also means delegating and outsourcing those tasks you do on a regular basis which you really shouldn’t be worrying with. If you’re a micro-manager, you feel like you have to do everything. Stop believing that. The reason why a lot of people feel stressed and overwhelmed is they attempt to do too much. Delegate the menial tasks in your life, and you can keep overwhelm at bay. You’re also most likely transferring your anxiety to others around you. Cut it out. Literally.
Studies have shown that the less options one has to choose from, the less stress and willpower is wasted on decisions. Yes, willpower is limited, which is why many people find themselves giving into self-sabotaging behaviors at the end of the day. They’ve wasted too much time on decisions or willpower to have anything left. You can stop this from happening by creating “rules” and routines for yourself every day that become habits instead of facing yet another decision-making crossroads. For example, eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day for a month. That way you can save your willpower for dinner. Prep your meals ahead of time and just pull them out and eat. No need to decide what to have. Make them healthy choices so you have some wiggle room for dinner!
Another way to relax when you are feeling overwhelmed is to use visual cues. This could mean placing post-it notes in your home and office reminding you to calm down and enjoy a deep breathing session. It could be as simple as placing happy pictures of the ones you love where you can see them as you move throughout the day. These positive visual cues that make you feel good are simple stress-relievers that can keep you from giving in to feelings of overwhelm. Or, set an alarm (pick a favorite song for this, not an annoying sound that will cause more stress) to go outside, breathe deeply, and enjoy nature for 10 minutes.
Any of these tips can help you relax. Another favorite of mine is to ask myself, “Will this matter 50-100 years from now?” or, “Will this have an impact on eternity?” That helps to put things into perspective and makes me realize that some things aren’t worth stressing over. Yes, even the next president.
Please tell me, how do you avoid overwhelm? Share your comments below!