This past week has been huge for me.
I’ve had the 30 Day Declutter starting, which while fabulous and fun has been FULL ON. There are over 1000 of you doing the daily challenges and my email has been getting hammered. I LOVE that you are so into it, but I think I was totally unprepared for how many of you there would be! To top it off I’ve had the magazine due out (made it, just!), I hurt my ankle, the kids haven’t been sleeping well and I’ve had multiple appointments to juggle.
Overall, I’ve been feeling totally overwhelmed!
It got me thinking about how to deal with it all. The reality is that life is busy, stuff needs doing, kids don’t sleep, dinner needs making and life goes on. I’ve started implementing some strategies to help deal with overwhelm. Some were already a part of my day but some are new and I’m hoping it helps.
Here are some ideas for dealing with overwhelm.
Start your day well
The way you start your morning plays a key role in how the rest of your day will unfold. For me, having some quiet time and doing a short devotional sets my mindset for the day ahead. I’m going to add in some breathing exercises and gentle yoga with the kids too and see if this helps.
Make sure you eat breakfast! I am often guilty of feeding everyone else, getting everything ready and then running out the door with an empty tummy. Make sure you eat a proper breakfast. Sit down too!
Write a list
My bed has this magical power of bringing all the thoughts that have been floating around right to the front of my mind. It’s like the second I lay my head on the pillow I remember everything that I need to do!
Write out a list of what needs to be done. Try to prioritize. I keep my “big list” in a notebook which has a VERY long list of things I want to get done. None of them are urgent right now (they might become urgent later!) but they are things that are on my long term radar.
As well as my “big list” I have a “daily list”. These are the things that NEED to happen today. Things like buying that birthday present for Saturdays party or paying a bill due tomorrow. I try to keep this list to a minimum, only putting on it things that are essential.
Being able to map out what needs doing and see it achieved helps me to feel more in control. I actually bought a diary at the beginning of the year that I use purely for my daily to do list. It is a really basic page to a day diary and I like having my list separate to my planner.
Be kind to yourself. Be realistic about what can be achieved. It just isn’t possible to be everything to everyone and stay sane. Sometimes something needs to give.
Do what matters
This is such an important thing for me when it comes to overwhelm. Work out what it is that matters to you and that will make a difference to your mood and mindset. My husband and I have had to really work through this when it comes to housework because what matters to me is different to what matters to him! Having the living area and kitchen a mess stresses me out. I don’t care so much about areas I can close the door to but for me, having the main areas of the home tidy matters. My hubby is the opposite. He likes to have the washing done and our bedroom perfect. These things matter to him. Having a few dishes out or the kids toys scattered around doesn’t bother him.
Work out what it is for you that will make life easier and give you a sense of control and peace. It might be achieving a particular task or having a certain area of your home tidy. Whatever it is, make that a priority.
In some ways this is connected to doing what matters. Clutter and busyness breeds overwhelm. I’ve often had the urge to just package up bags of stuff and get rid of it, to cut back and minimise our lives. It has taken me a long while to learn that minimising really does reduce overwhelm. Minimise your activities, your “stuff”, your commitments, your responsibilities. Work out what could potentially go and stop it. It doesn’t need to be a permanent thing, just take a break until you feel you can manage it again. Check out some ideas on how to declutter your home here.
Focus on NOW
Mindfulness is about focusing on the moment, acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. It’s a technique used to help manage anxiety, depression and general mental and emotional health. When I’m feeling overwhelmed I find it enormously helpful to practice mindfulness. It can take practice but it is worth learning.
Ask for help
If you are feeling close to breaking point and overwhelmed by life, ask for help! Do you have a friend or family member who could take your kids for a few hours? Is it possible to outsource some household tasks? Could you take a few days of annual leave (or have your partner take some)?
Don’t be too proud to ask for help!
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?