Feeling overwhelmed? Yeah, me too. I don’t know if it’s the winding down of Summer – transitioning from a hectic season into the slower pace of life that Autumn brings, or whether it’s just my internal body clock – but each year around this time, I can’t help myself from feeling overwhelmed.
The first half of the year always feels like an uphill push: you’re motivating yourself for success and working towards every goal that you have: and then once you reach the peak of Summer, it’s as though you’re on a slow descent towards Autumn, Winter and the New Year.
When things start to feel overwhelming, or you’re losing sight of the woods for the trees, there are certain rituals that I now employ to get myself back on the right track. Little things that I know will help me calm down, and bring me from feeling overwhelmed – to being full of energy, motivation, and ready to continue the rest of the year in style.
Take a Step Back
This is probably the most obvious one, but it’s so important to take a step back. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, your body is trying to tell (yell) at you that you’re overworked, and not taking enough time for yourself. If your schedule is so busy that you’re flying around at 100mph all day, with the only respite being when you go to bed at night – you need to invest some more time into yourself for clarity.
Once I really took notice of the amount of time that I was spending staring at my phone, I decided it was time to step back. I began limiting the amount of time that I’m active online; from implementing ‘no-go’ hours for my phone, to ‘no-go’ places (like taking it to bed with me!) and toggling around with the Do Not Disturb settings to quite literally lock myself out of the social sphere during the late evening.
This was because all of that time spent staring into a blue light was doing me no good – neither mentally nor emotionally. I was investing myself into something that didn’t serve me in an equal balance, and it was leaving me stressed, sad and sometimes feeling inadequate, which is something that none of us should feel.
Your evening is a transitional time – winding down from the day into the night, where you rest and recover, so try to treat it like that. Allow yourself to rest, let your brain switch off and give yourself space to go from your daytime activities to be ready for sleep.
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Prioritise Your Responsibilities
Another thing that really helps me when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to prioritise my responsibilities. When I feel like I have too much on my plate, or that things are mounting up – writing down everything that I need to get done and grouping them based on responsibility helps take the edge off incredibly.
Feeling overwhelmed can come on so suddenly that I don’t know what’s hit me – and when that feeling takes over, I’m usually left so busy scrambling to figure out how to cope with myself that I end up getting nothing done (or at least, nothing is done to my best ability). By making a checklist of items to do (giving myself a visual stimulus, and something I can physically tick for gratification!), I’m able to get myself back on the right track and calm down from the feeling that everything is piling up around me.
Look at Your Diet and How You’re Treating Your Skin
The first sign that I’m feeling overwhelmed is usually in my skin. I start getting extra oily, or looking quite sallow – and it can easily be triggered by my diet. If I’m not looking after myself correctly, i.e. eating right, getting enough sleep – giving myself time and space to exercise (and clear my mind!), then I quite often find myself in a funk and my skin pays for it first.
If you’ve been reading the blog, you’ll know that this year I’ve dedicated time to looking after my skin. I’m very late to jump on the skincare bandwagon, but it’s such an important bandwagon to jump on – we only have one skin, and one body: and how we look after it impacts how we’re feeling to a huge degree.
From figuring out skincare to pamper myself, and establishing routines that give my skin time to rest and recover after daily activities: I’ve found that how I treat that, and myself, makes a huge difference to not only how often, but how frazzled I am when feeling overwhelmed.
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Learn Breathing Techniques
Jumping back a few years, I used to deal with feeling overwhelmed on almost a daily basis. I was scared to do even the most basic of tasks (I’m not kidding, I found it a struggle to talk to people on the phone even). One technique that really helped me get to grips with that were breathing techniques. One, in particular, was breathing to the count of four.
Whenever I was feeling overwhelmed, or like I couldn’t do something – I’d breathe in to the count of four, hold it for a count of four then breathe out again to the count of four. By regulating my breathing, I calmed myself down and gave clarity inside my head to the fact that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you probably don’t notice how your pace quickens and – because of that – so does your breathing. You start taking shorter, lighter breaths, meaning your lungs aren’t getting the same amount of oxygen and your insides start to have a mini freak-out (which helps in no way with the overwhelmed feeling you’re having on the outside!).
By regulating a breathing pattern, you fill your lungs with oxygen, calming down your nervous system and bringing those insurmountable problems back down to the ground. I’ll link some incredible breathing references hereand here. And if you’re looking for an app to help you with this, I found that Headspace is truly a saviour when it comes to working on and perfecting breathing techniques.
Although it can seem daunting to overcome when you’re feeling overwhelmed, by breaking it down into rituals and techniques that help fight those feelings – I’ve found it a lot easier to face. Negative feelings don’t have to rule our lives, and by finding ways that we can regain control it brings a world of difference to what would be a stressful situation.
Do you have any techniques to overcome feeling overwhelmed?
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Please note: this post originally was published on 20th August 2018.