Dealing with Overwhelm

I'm sure we've all been here: never ending to do list, kids to feed, dishes to wash, laundry to fold, work to do, and everything in between. It seems like the day will never end and you aren't any further along than when you started. You're exhausted, burnt out, and ready to throw in the towel. And once your head finally hits the pillow that night, you dread waking up to do it all over again tomorrow. You've reached your breaking point and you're not really sure where to go from here. Can I be honest? I feel this way all the time.  But we can get through it. And we can take some simple steps to help prevent it in the future.

The best place to start is to step back and take a breath. Ask yourself why you are feeling overwhelmed. Get to the root of the issue, because I'm betting this isn't the first time you've felt this way, and won't be the last. Taking time to figure out what gets you to his place of overwhelm will make it easier to tackle.

End the busy

More than likely, one of the factors that leads to your overwhelm is being busy. I've been there. In fact, I feel like I still battle being busy every day. Let's end the busy. One of the biggest steps we can take towards feeling less overwhelmed is to stop being busy. It's really as simple as that. With less on our plates, there is less chance of feeling like we are drowning in a list of things to do. We won't feel so busy all the time and suddenly we will find pieces of time that allow for rest and pure joy.

Let it go

But how do we end the busy so easily? This is a huge challenge for me. Most of the time when I try to trim my commitment list, everything seems like it has to be done. Like there's no way out of it. Maybe it does need to be done. But does it have to be done today? This is where we have to let go of perfection. We have to let go of the need to do it all and do it now. You are just one person and there is no way that you can do it all and do it well. You just can't. There's nothing wrong with that. We have to learn to embrace it instead. Overwhelm comes from ourselves. It comes when we hold ourselves to a standard too high for anyone to achieve without wearing themselves out in the process. But does it really matter if the laundry is done today or if you get all your work done? What matters more is that you enjoyed each moment in front of you that day.

Simplify your life

Once you decide to end the busy and to give up that standard of perfection, you can begin to truly simplify your life so that you are less likely to reach the point of overwhelm in the future.  This can be a slow process. There is no reason you have to end it all cold turkey. Take time to evaluate the things in your life and decide what should stay and what should go. This can be both physically around you in your daily life and the things you commit your time to. Simplify the things in your home, closets and car. Get rid of the excess that doesn't add purpose or bring you joy. Be ruthless and intentional with this. Then take a look at how you spend your time. Are there things you are doing because you feel obligated or simply because you don't want to say no? Cutting back on unnecessary commitments and simplifying your life is a huge step towards overcoming overwhelm.

At the end of it all, just remember that tomorrow is a new day. Give yourself grace for the things that didn't work out or get done.Take it one day at a time. And the next time you get overwhelmed by your to do list, it's ok. Take a deep breath and step back from it all. Your life will go on and you can pick back up where you left off when you're ready.

How do you overcome overwhelm?

PS: If you liked this post, you might also like Do one thing and do it well.