Most of the time when I get overwhelmed it’s because I have severely over scheduled my life. Between mom stuff, house work, marriage, and social life it’s easy to let a few yes’s turn your schedule from manageable to crazy pants.
I am that person that powers through thinking it will eventually take care of itself, but eventually (when it doesn’t take care of itself), I have a minor breakdown—aka, sitting still for the first time all day and fighting tears because there is so much to do I don’t know where to start.
I know the majority of the time I do this to myself without realizing it and it’s one of my goals for 2019 (and probably the rest of my life) to be confidently selective with what I put on my (figurative) plate. But it’s still a work in progress for me. I suspect it always will be.
Instead of letting everything happen to me and allowing the overwhelm to happen. I have started to recognize my feelings of stress earlier and take these simple steps to de-stressing:
1. Stop what I’m doing
When I start to feel those feelings of overwhelm—which for me is usually a scattered brain and doing a lot of things without completing any of them. I stop what I’m doing.
2. Grab a piece of paper and a pen
It’s going to be tempting to just grab your phone and open up a note, but old school works best for this activity because it allows you to better clear your mind.
3. Write down everything that is on your mind
Every. Last. Thing. These might be big or small, work related or personal. Doesn’t matter. Write it all down. Everything from the thank you cards for Susie’s birthday to the jeans you have to wash because you missed your mouth when eating salad earlier today.
4. Circle 3-5 things you’re going to complete today
What truly needs to get done? What could wait a day or a week? What can you knock out in two seconds if you just decide to do it? What would feel the best to cross off? What are you most excited to complete?
Prioritize your list. And circle the handful of things that you are 100% certain you can complete today. This is important as this exercise should make you feel better, not worse, about what you have accomplished and what you still have to accomplish.
5. Reset and get after it
Maybe all you need is to take a deep breath. Maybe you want to open up Headspace and do a 3 minute meditation. Maybe you’re amongst a loud and hungry family and all you can do is take a deep breath. Whatever your reset is in that moment, take it. And then get started on those things you need to accomplish today.
To avoid the onset of yet another overwhelm, you might do this same exercise the next morning or even later that day. It’s a simple and easy way to remind yourself that you’ve got this and give yourself some grace after taking inventory of all of the things you have on your plate.
If you’re reading this and thinking, have you ever heard of a brain dump? Because this is pretty much a brain dump. Yes, I avoided using the word “dump” in this post, but you’re spot on, this is pretty much a brain dump with a little extra jazz at the end to tidy it up.