How to minimize feeling overwhelmed
I predict that being able to minimize feeling overwhelmed, with the masses of information available to us today, will become one of the biggest skills to learn in the future. Heck, even today.
Most of the population is overwhelmed today with everything being thrown at us. We are literally overwhelmed in epidemic proportions. And it's having a stressful effect on our lives.
Being a creative multi-passionate mom with a day job and a creative side job, my head is sometimes spinning out of control. And I love shiny objects. I rely heavily on my calendars. Without them, I wouldn't remember anything. I am also an empath, meaning I feel a lot, and so I get easily overstimulated. I am careful about what I watch on the telly, for instance. I get affected by terrible news and since that’s pretty much all there ever is on the news, I don’t watch it much.
I believe having clarity of what you want to achieve and what you want to do with yourself and your life is one of the most important things in life. Apart from the obvious of love, family and health. So much unnecessary worry and fear can be eliminated if you have a clear sense of direction. When you don’t know what direction to go in, it’s like a ship leaving port with no navigation. You drift around. Drifting around and trying different jobs and directions are part of growing up but life is so much easier if you have little goals you can steer towards.
One of the ways that makes life easier is that it minimizes feeling overwhelmed by life.
Things that lead to overwhelm
You have an "I-need-to-do-it-all" thinking. A sign you’re taking yourself a little too seriously and your mental drama is out of control.
You feel you have no time to do anything. You’re constantly feeling behind, like you’re drowing in work and chores and that you won’t be able to get out of.
FOMO (fear of missing out). Related to the mental drama-thinking that if you’re not there, you’ll miss out on something extremely important. So, you need to be everything for everybody.
You have a tiredness inside and you "close down".
No sense of direction in your life and unable to think ahead but live from moment to moment.
You’re overstimulated related tp high sensory stimulation or sensory processing sensitivity (SPS - a personality trait characterized by a high level of sensitivity to external stimuli.)
Again, feeling these things are completely normal. It's become the norm.
I am someone who gets easily overwhelmed. All of the examples above I am familiar with. Just a few years ago I didn't know there was a thing as being overwhelmed. Or being an introvert.
All through my childhood, in school, during my teenage years, my 20's and into my 30's I thought I was just a little different. Also, I didn't know any other introverts, at least not someone who knew they were introvert so that just added to the "I'm different" feeling. That’s why I believe in personality tests and figuring out who you are and how you roll. What a losing battle it is to try and be outgoing if you’re an introvert. You’ll feel bad about yourself when you have no reasons to.
I know the signs of when I start feeling overstimulated and information overload now, and I try and look after myself when I feel them. It also helps to know there are whole movements about introversion. Susan Cain's "Quietrev" is one of them.
How to minimize feeling overwhelmed
Awareness. Recognizing the feeling of overwhelm is most important. This should stop you beating yourself up and instead, taking care of yourself
De-clutter and keep de-cluttering. Simplify your space, and your life. Keep getting rid of stuff. Clothes, papers etc.
Write down aaaalll the things, thoughts, ideas, plans in your head.
As often as you can. Use notebooks and calendars.
Break the things down into really small, enjoyable steps.
A small step is small enough when you feel no pressure in doing it.
Lower your expectations.
Perfectionism is a major cause of feeling overwhelmed. Try and go for "good enough" and "small and crappy". Two expressions to remember.
Take a break from your phone and social media.
Maybe install an app that shows you how much time you actually spend on your phone. Talk about sensory overload!
A good kaizen question to ask yourself when feeling like it all is a bit much:
"What is one small thing I can do to feel less overwhelmed today?"
Swap overwhelm for joy
I don't know if it is possible to live a completely overwhelm-free life. Life is up and down, it has seasons. Sometimes there is more going on than other times.
For instance, we are coming into our birthday-season at our house. Fall is always a really busy time for us with many birthdays and school meetings, so I try and make plans now and organize as much as I can so I am prepared.
If you can use some of these suggestions to help you minimize feeling overwhelmed, you will be feeling better, and maybe even swap overwhelm for joy. I hope it does that for you :-)