“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” – Eddie Cantor
There are several ways in which I can feel overwhelmed: physically, socially, and emotionally. While the basics of dealing with the feeling of being overwhelmed are the same, the details of dealing with each situation are slightly different.
I am the kind of person that always has a ton of projects going at once. I try to keep it at a reasonable level but I like being busy.
Every few months, I write down what my goals are – short term and long term. Every morning, I wake up, make a tea, and write my morning pages. I’ve taped a notecard with my list of goals on the inside of my journal so it’s the first thing I see every day. It helps me focus on what’s important.
One of the drawbacks to having a lot of projects, is sometimes feeling overwhelmed. I know when I’m overwhelmed because I feel scattered, disorganized, tired, and anxious. I don’t breathe as deeply and I’m not enjoying the time I’m spending on my projects… everything seems like a chore.
* Exercise. I can’t stress enough the importance of exercise. The physical benefits far outweigh the time that it takes. Never skip exercise.
* Set goals. Set short term and long term goals.
* Take time at the beginning or end of each day to write out a list of things that needs to get done.
* Set aside the things on your list that don’t help you meet your goals.
* Set aside time to work without interruption.
* Do the hardest thing first.
* Set a time limit for something difficult that you’re working on. It might help to know that you’ll only have to do it for 2 hours rather than something you’ll be working on all day.
* Take time out for yourself.
While I am an extrovert, I can get worn out by too much social stimuli. Sometimes I just feel drained by going to too many events in too short a time period. I often travel to visit with friends and find myself in situations where I am going out every night, sleeping on couches, and cafe hopping during the day trying to get work done. It’s important for me to have a place to reroot, relax, and spend time by myself and that is especially difficult to do when I’m traveling.
* Get space. Find a quiet spot and sit and breathe.
* Just be quiet. Let your friends know that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and are just needing some quiet time. Most people can relate to this feeling and will allow you the space you need.
* Take a walk
Being emotionally overwhelmed happens mainly when I’m experiencing stress in my romantic relationships. Because these relationships are of primary importance, and because they tend to affect my sense of self in the most insidious ways, it can be difficult to concentrate on the things that I really need to get done.
* Write it down. Writing things down can help sort out all the emotions and provide clarity.
* Practice good self care
* Get space – even if you have to duck into a bathroom at a party, get to a place where you can cry, or sit and think, or breathe.
* Breathe deeply
Almost everyone experiences being overwhelmed at one time or another. It’s helpful to write down the things that work for you so that when you feel overwhelmed, you already have a plan in place.
“So let us welcome peaceful evening in.” – William Cowper