Do you ever get that feeling when it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, you feel something so strongly and everything seems to be going around your head with no stop? This is what we call feeling overwhelmed.
I experienced this feeling not too long ago. I had so much to do and I had no idea where to start or where the best place to start would be. I felt completely overwhelmed with how much work I had set myself and I just couldn’t focus on getting started with everything going around my head.
It’s not a nice feeling to experience. It can completely feel like you’re out of control with no way back and even just the smallest of tasks can feel huge. When this happens to me, there are a few things I do to help.
Write it all down
When things feel overwhelming and confusing in my head, one of the easiest things for me to do is to write it all down. Getting all thoughts and feelings that have built up inside down and out in front of me really helps me to see things clearer. This can then help you to identify any triggers and take back control. Seeing everything laid out in front of you can help you to work out steps to take to move forward in the right direction.
Accept how you’re feeling
You know when you feel something so strongly you do all you can to not feel that way and push it out? Yeah, me too! Do you find it never really goes away though and instead it just feels even more intense? I can relate!
The moment I take a step back and actually accept how I’m feeling the easier the feelings are to deal with. When you feel that overwhelmed feeling kick in, you begin to feel like you’re losing control and the pressure begins to mount.
Stop this negative cycle by recognising the overwhelmed feeling is there and being ok with it. Sure it might feel pretty uneasy and a heavy weight on your shoulders, but feelings do pass, even the bad ones. Accept it for what it is and why it’s there. Then refocus on moving forward.
When our minds and bodies are reacting to a particular overwhelming situation, our thoughts are going to be anything other than rational. After you’ve accepted that you feel overwhelmed, then think about how you can work through whatever it is you’re doing more effectively and rationally. Perhaps you could take a new approach or do smaller tasks that will, in the end, mount up to a big task.
Now you feel somewhat clearer with what you need to do and accept what you’re feeling, remind yourself that it’s completely ok that you’re not in control of everything. Sure life would be pretty amazing if we could control every single thing, but it doesn’t work like that and life is set to throw us some challenges.
Instead of running from these feelings and shying away from the lack of control, take some responsibility and work through what it is you need to one step at a time. Make a start. It does not matter if you cannot do it all.
One thing us humans aren’t always great at is seeking help when we really need it. We get so wrapped up in the idea that we must do everything by ourselves and that if we ask for help, then it makes us inadequate. This could not be further from the reality!
Seeking help when you feel overwhelmed can help you massively. You have the chance to get everything off your chest and talk it all through with someone else. Together you can both rationalise the situation, collect advice, but also care for those feelings and accept them for what they are. That’s just as important, if not more so.
It can also help you to feel less alone with whatever you’re going through.
Learn to say no
Another way you can learn to accept the overwhelmed feelings is by learning to say no. Sometimes you just can’t do everything. We’re not all amazing at every single thing. The world would probably be very boring if we were all the same and could do everything. What makes us unique and incredible in our way is that we have our own qualities.
If someone asks you to do something extra or something way unfamiliar to you, then think about whether you can before you say yes. Offer them a genuine alternative and don’t feel bad for putting yourself first. Even if they are a little annoyed at first, in the long run, they’ll appreciate it and it will be a benefit for the both of you.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?