The easiest place to start when you’re looking for a way out of an emotional tangle is to become familiar with its source.
Focusing on everything at once and feeling like it has to be done now.
Focusing on what you haven’t completed rather than what you have.
When you’re ready to stop feeling pulled in a million directions, try this sequence of steps:
Take the ‘overwhelm’ out of your head and put it on paper, where you can distance yourself from it a bit. Write down every task you can think of that you are worrying about. I like to call this a brain dump because you literally want to dump out every bit of information that’s floating around in your head
Once you’ve done this, organize your tasks and to-dos into larger chunks. You’ll probably come up with your own, but to help you get started, try: family, kids, career, self-care, relationships, health. Organizing your to-dos into chunks will help you see your world more clearly.
Feelings of overwhelm come less from having too much to do and more from feeling like you have to do it all at once. Look at your chunks and prioritize your to-dos based on a combination of what must get done first and what makes you feel strong, empowered, and satisfied. And when you’ve completed an activity find a small way to celebrate your accomplishment (10 min on youtube, a cup of tea, stepping outside into the sun, etc…). Acknowledging your successes will give you strength and resilience to get through everything else.
Action is the antidote to feeling overwhelmed. Very often it is not the activities themselves that stress us out but our worrying about the activities. Just begin. Very often the simple action of beginning will alleviate the anxiety and stress that has accumulated.
|Consciously choose where you focus.
Worry comes from focusing on what is not getting done which has the side-effect of zapping motivation. And I know it’s tempting to focus on multiple things at once but… I’m here to tell you multi-tasking is a myth. Studies have shown that our brains can only focus on one thing at a time which means your to-do list will be completed much faster when you give all your attention to the one task at a time. Not only is this more efficient but it also has the side benefit of reducing stress.