Do you often find yourself wondering how to manage life when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Life can often feel complex and tricky, and from time to time it can get us all feeling overwhelmed and stressed out but often things aren’t as bad as we think they are at first glance. When we do feel overwhelmed, one of the bast ways that I’ve found to respond to it is by knuckling down, making a plan and taking action to address the situation, no matter how tough it may seem because these actions are productive and move us forward. I speak about this often on my blog and social networks because its something that I go through too.
Staying positive with some coping mechanisms and techniques that I’ve become well rehearsed in over the years really helps me to get through times like this and I want to share some of those tips with you today. Its important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to cope; you need to do what works best for you but it is worthwhile trying out different techniques to see what works and could work for you. If you find yourself hitting hard times and not being able to move through them very easily then repeating the same things next time will garner similar results whereas if you try something different, you really could find yourself in a better place and headspace much more quickly.
BREAK DOWN YOUR GOALS TO MAKE THEM MANAGEABLE
The first thing that I would suggest in terms of productively moving forward when you feel overwhelmed is to breakdown your goals and make them more manageable. Some goals and challenges that we strive towards are naturally far too big for us to properly conceptualise and achieve, in one fell swoop. So much so that they can often seem as though we’re never going to achieve them when really, we can! It’s just the case that we’re setting ourselves up for a fall.
I always remember getting jobs in contact centres when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I’d start at the company on the phones and have big goals of becoming a manager or moving into another department higher up the ladder when in reality, I was just a number to the company and they needed bums on seats in the job that I’d been hired to do. The prospect of becoming someone higher up when I really didn’t know anything about the company and hadn’t proved my worth in the job that I was recruited for meant that such a leaping promotion was far too daunting and distant to really be actionable in the here and now. When I went to my final job before becoming fully self employed, I went in with a different mindset; I would start at the bottom and work my way up. Rather than setting myself a goal of being a manager, I set myself smaller goals which worked towards me becoming excellent at the job that I had been hired to do and it worked. Then I set myself goals to move into training, then coaching and finally management and guess what, I got there through hard work, smashing small goals and secondments. It felt all the sweeter when I was asked to move into different roles based on my performance and I felt far less overwhelmed by each position because I had a much deeper knowledge of the company, how it worked and what my strengths were.
I apply the same methodology to every task in life whether it’s cleaning my home or putting together a big campaign for work. I live in a big two bedroom apartment and I have a lot of stuff. Working and living in the same space means that my home can become untidy quickly and with such long working hours, I often struggle with finding the time to clean. I’d never get it done if I set myself the task of doing it all in one go because I just don’t have the time and the whole thing seems like a really overwhelming but if I break everything down into smaller, more manageable tasks then I seem to be able to get it done throughout the week and actually enjoy the process rather than seeing it as a never ending chore.
The trick, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your challenges and goals, is to break those bigger things and tackle them bite-sized piece by bite-sized piece. If you want to completely overhaul your garden and turn it into a relaxation and entertaining space with a pond, outdoor cooking area and seating area with a fire pit, then you might set yourself the first task to ‘buy pond liners.‘ Just doing that one thing and ticking it off your list can make you feel so successful because its taking you one step closer to where you want to be.
GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP & ROUTINE BACK IN YOUR LIFE
I tend to fall into a cycle of late nights and early mornings when I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I’ll stay up late to finish work, then I’ll wake up mega early to crack on with it again but I’m so shattered that my mind is racing onto all of the different things that I need to get done and I burn out with the tiredness, often ending up poorly, which delays my success of completing other tasks. It’s a vicious cycle. So really my second top tip is to get a good nights sleep.
Completely switch off. There are few things in life that can’t wait until the morning so turn off the computer and your phone, have a bath, get into a fresh bed, spritz a calming pillow spray, pop on an eye mask and put in some ear plugs and focus on your breathing to calm you down and chill you out. Drift off and get a good eight hours. You need to rest and revive your body. Then the next morning, wake up and don’t jump straight on your phone. Have a shower, do your skincare, get ready for the day and head downstairs for breakfast. Have plenty of water to drink and something nourishing to eat and enjoy it away from the TV, radio or any other devices. Take time to fully wake up and to rest. Then begin your day.
Write down 3 key goals that you want to achieve and make sure they’re small ones. Then start. Focus on ONE ONLY and time yourself for 5 minutes, by the time you’ve started and you get into it, you’ll be away!
TASK & PROJECT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TO AVOID MULTI TASKING
When you try to multitask, what actually happens is that your mind goes into overdrive trying to shift back and forth between the different sources of information in front of you. Not only does this make you far less efficient at any one thing, but it also contributes directly to a major rise in stress levels. There are so many times that I feel like this in my life and I really have to rein myself in. HIT PAUSE and stop my thoughts from getting out of control.
What I have found works best for me is to zone out of everything else that I have going on and to just focus on one thing at a time. It’s funny because society has taught us that to be a good woman, you need to be great at multitasking when really, it’s just important for anyone to actually get things done and to deal with the tasks and projects that you have. How you do that doesn’t really matter as long as it works for you. For me, that’s by avoiding multitasking because then I don’t end up feeling overwhelmed or finding myself completely snowed under.
A decent task and project-management system can really help you, such as a Bullet Journal, the notes section of your phone, a calendar and to-do list paper, again, its whatever works for you. Give different systems a proper go and see what works for you. These things can really help to change your life for the better as feeling stressed and overwhelmed in a negative way isn’t good for you at all.
I’d love to hear your tips for how you manage your goals and tasks when you’re feeling overwhelmed in the comments below!