Short term actions to reduce overwhelm
It’s the feeling that there is too much to do, that your resources are not equal to the demands being placed upon them. Individual symptoms differ, but they include fatigue, confusion, difficulty concentrating, feeling mentally slower and reduced ability to do both simple and difficult tasks.
What is overwhelm?
It’s the feeling that there is too much to do, that your resources are not equal to the demands being placed upon them. Your individual symptoms may differ, but they could include fatigue, confusion, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, feeling mentally slower and reduced ability to do both simple and difficult tasks. If it becomes too much, our worsening ability to make good decisions can put us into a downward spiral of putting ourselves in even worse situations, with even less ability to make good decisions to reduce overwhelm.
Short term actions
Although there are medium- and long-term ways of dealing with your overwhelm, sometimes you just need something for right now. Use these prompts to create a checklist (or download the free guide at the end of this article), adding in your own specific actions so you know you can deal with that overwhelm feeling, whenever it arises.
How are you dealing with these feelings?
Sometimes our response to those feelings can exacerbate the initial issue. If your response to overwhelm is to chase your own thoughts around, work on linking feeling overwhelmed to taking action.
What action makes you feel immediately better?
For me, writing down all the things that I am feeling overwhelmed by really helps me. Because my fear is that I’m forgetting something, having everything out on paper really calms me down. But for you, that might make you feel worse because you can see everything. For you, you might need to mind map one particular project, or spend an hour unpicking one complex issue or take action on a few quick and easy wins. If you’re not sure what action makes you feel better, write down as many actions as you can think of and then choose the one that you instinctively find most appealing.
Take time to calm down and be still
Go somewhere quiet and sit and breathe. Box breathing is breathing in for four seconds, hold for four, breathe out for four, pause for four. This will help you focus just on breathing and calm your system that is going into flight/fight/freeze.
Take a walk
Be mindful of the world around you. Focus on all of your senses. What can you smell? What can you see? What can you hear? What taste is lingering in your mouth? What can you feel?
Listen to music you find calming and uplifting
In the longer-term you might want to put your own playlist together. In the short-term go to a song that has the effect you want and play that.
Speak to someone
Reach out to someone you can talk to. Tell them what you need (someone just to listen, or advice, or to help).
Whenever you find yourself in overwhelm, make a note of what you're doing to cope with it. What works? What doesn't? Add what works to your checklist.
Download your free 31-page guide to reducing overwhelm in the short-, medium- and long-term by signing up to the Bright Rebel Coaching newsletter. The guide includes 19 printable templates to help you when you need it the most.