What to do when you feel overwhelmed

Estimated read time - an easy 2 minutes

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Spring break season is over. If you went away, you may be like me, overwhelmed with laundry and groceries and unpacking and work and getting back into your schedule and OMG!

If you stayed home, you may be mourning your free time and routine-less existence.

If you didn't get a break, you may be overloaded with work and activities and counting the days until your next vacation.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Overwhelm happens to all of us sometimes. And sometimes, overwhelm is a tricky little bugaboo that distracts you from actually doing THE THINGS.

A client emailed me yesterday about her overwhelm, and after I dashed off this response, I realized, this is great information for you (and me). Here you go.

Your “how to function” when you're overwhelmed plan. In order.

  1. Breathe.
  2. Breathe again.
  3. Make a list of all the things.
  4. Breathe.
  5. Figure out which ones someone else can do or you can outsource or delegate or skip or negotiate or push out. (Can someone else pick up your child - like a neighbor or friend? Are there things on the list you can skip or move to next week? Where can you ask for help?)
  6. It’s rare that we have to do all the things ourselves, right now.

    You can back out of things or skip them to honor your sanity and time with your family or yourself. You can. Really and truly. I've tried it. It works.

  7. Then break down all the things and decide which comes first, which second, etc.
  8. Breathe. Then keep breathing.
  9. Focus on one thing at a time. Overwhelm sets in when you look at the huge long list and the entire packed future. Allow yourself to do one thing at a time (make phone call, insert data into report, answer email for 15 minutes). Do one thing at a time. Sometimes I even talk to myself out loud, ("Ok, Christina. Make that phone call now") to keep myself from moving too fast into the future.
  10. Breathe.
  11. For the future, take a look at what you say yes to and where you might want to say no more often (volunteering) so you can put your focus where it is most important (family, work projects, exercise).

Move forward, one step at a time. Oh, and remember to breathe!

I hope this helps.