Over the past couple of years, I think many of us have had a difficult time dealing with overwhelm. The pandemic, political unrest, and the war in Ukraine make everything seem harder, heavier, and more complex.
Overwhelm is the Worst!
Of all the emotions out there, I think the one I have the most trouble with is overwhelm. I hardly ever cry when I am hurt, angry, or scared, but when I feel overwhelmed, I break down completely.
The other day I was working, and suddenly a flood of texts came in from different people. I got a phone call, and emails that needed my immediate attention came in all at once. I felt my chest flutter and my brain just shut down. I wanted to hide under my desk like a child. Suddenly, my to-do list was a mile long and I felt like I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t even begin to figure out which thing to deal with first.
I feel terrible stress when I get hit with too many people or things at once. My stomach immediately tightens up, my digestion halts making it difficult to eat, and I feel instant anxiety. It’s like going from zero to 60 in seconds. Overwhelm really is the worst for me.
You Can’t Change Them
The most difficult thing for me to accept is that I can’t change anyone else’s behavior. I can’t stop my friends and family from all texting me back and forth at the same time. I can’t ask that my clients email me on a staggered schedule, so I am at the mercy of the universe. For a control freak like me, that is torture.
However, what I can change is my attitude about overwhelm, and I can take actions to lessen the effects, recharge my batteries, and calm myself down so I can be productive again.
How to Deal with Overwhelm
We live in a very fast-paced world where everyone expects everything instantly. You can’t slow down the speed of life, but you can slow down “you” so that you can deal with it.
To stave off overwhelm, you can turn off notifications, put your phone on silent mode, and shut your email program off when you are working. That way, you won’t be interrupted and begin to feel overwhelmed. However, when you resume these activities, take a deep breath, you may come back to a flurry of activity. Just take it one item at a time until they are all resolved.
Another helpful tip is tapping (EFT). The Tapping Solution has some great (quick) tapping meditations to ease the effects of overwhelm. Whenever you feel your mind and body shut down, take 15 minutes, and do a session. After that, you might feel calmer and ready to face the deluge of incoming activity.
Whenever I take 10-20 minutes and meditate, I reset my brain back to normal and can then carry on with life, no matter what is going on. I also indulge in a little self-soothing to get me back on track.
Regardless of how I choose to minimize feelings of being overwhelmed, one of the best gifts I can give to myself is to accept it. I have a new mantra I have been using quite often when things feel out of control – “this is just how it is right now; it will change.” That little sentence actually helps to calm me down and put things in perspective nicely.
How Do You Deal with Overwhelm?
Those are the ways that I deal with overwhelm, but I would love to hear from you. How do you deal with it? Do you have any helpful tips you can share?