With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Overwhelm is inevitable and happens to the best of us, but not everyone knows how to overcome it. These following tips have worked wonders for me and will help you survive the many curveballs life throws your way and let you come out of them better than before.
1. take a step back
When you’re overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is take a step back and examine the situation. Answer questions like, “what’s triggering my anxiety?” and “what must I do to overcome this overwhelming time?” These questions will help you make sense of it all, and once you do that, you can start making your way to conquering overwhelm for good.
2. list out everything that’s causing you to stress
This is also known as brain dumping, an incredible productivity trick I mentioned in one of my recent posts, The Step-By-Step Guide to Living your Dreams & Achieving Greatness. Trust me y’all, I wouldn’t be repeating this if it wasn’t important.
The whole purpose of brain dumping is to prime your brain to do great things. All it is is listing all of those annoying, nagging thoughts that are spiraling in your brain that are sending you into panic mode. This allows you to see them in front of you so you can take action on them. Not to mention, it relieves the pent-up worry you’ve kept inside.
It is also a good idea to keep your this list with you so you have a place to continually brain dump throughout the day. This will help you keep track of ideas so they don’t get consumed by all of the other things you have on your mind.
3. take a load off.
Sometimes it can be extremely hard to get caught up when you’re emotionally and physically drained, so don’t be afraid to give yourself a day or two off. Sleep in ’til noon, watch your favorite show, pamper yourself, and take a nap after that – do whatever you need to do to recuperate!
At the end of your lazy day, acknowledge and be grateful for your day off and how rejuvenated you feel. Show your thanks for the time off and the chance to crush your overwhelm once and for all.
4. delegate time to getting caught up
Now that your brain is prepped, it’s time to plan. Start by choosing flexible hours and dedicating them to the important and urgent tasks. One of the best ways to do this is by blocking these hours out in your calendar. Also, make it known that there is nothing else you should be doing at this time. Your attention should be focused on those tasks, and those tasks only. Here are some ways to make these hours more enjoyable:
- Get into some comfy clothes.
- Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea.
- Set out all of your materials.
- Stretch to wake yourself up and get your blood flowing.
- Grab a snack and water to keep you hydrated while you hustle.
- Put on some soft piano music.
Try dedicating at least an hour daily to finishing urgent tasks. If you make it a habit, you will notice that you will begin to feel caught up in a matter of days.
5. say no to things you don’t have time for
In order to get caught up, you’re going to need to make the time for it. This means saying “no” to optional activities and hunkering down to do the work. If someone wants to spend time with you (which always happens when you need to get work done, am I right?), politely decline and offer a date a week or two later. That way, you can use your get-together as a reward for your productivity.
It’s important to remember your priorities and have the self-discipline to avoid time wasters. Overwhelm won’t conquer itself!
getting back on track.
6. make sleep a priority
Many times when people are being “productive,” they carry their work hours long into the night. While it’s understandable that people want to take advantage of the night hours, there are drawbacks. You may feel unstoppable when you’re staying up late, but your productivity the next day will plummet for sure, which isn’t the greatest trade in the world.
Sufficient sleep is especially crucial in overwhelming times, and it’s important to create a sleep schedule where you get at least seven hours of sleep. Good sleep habits don’t form overnight (no pun intended), and like any other habit takes consistency and drive, but the longlasting effects of a healthy sleep schedule will be 1000% worth it.
7. integrate good habits into your daily routine
Your habits have a direct correlation on your productivity. If you come home from school/work and the first thing you do is sit down and watch your favorite TV show, guess what, you’re building a habit. Now, that may be an enjoyable habit, but as far as productivity goes, it’s not high on the list of “most productive things you could be doing.”
Good habits like reading, meditating, and exercising will not only make you feel good, but they’ll put you in the right mindset to get shit done.
8. take breaks during your day
Another key to conquering your overwhelm is taking breaks to skyrocket your productivity. This may seem counterintuitive, but taking time off from working, even if it’s only 10 minutes, can give you more stamina and focus you can put back into your work. Consistent breaks will help you avoid burnout and give you more willpower to do your job.
I recommend using the well known Pomodoro Technique for balancing your work time to break time ratio. This technique organizes work time into 25-minute increments and breaks into five. I like this technique because of how flexible it is; Instead of 25-minute increments, you can work for 50 and then take 10-minute breaks. I find this technique especially helpful for when I’m studying for exams and doing homework.
9. use Sundays to your advantage
Some people see Sundays as the dreaded day before Monday, but they have so much potential for productivity! Here are some ways to use your Sundays effectively:
- Get done your weekly to-do list items you have yet to do.
- Do mundane tasks like laundry and watering plants.
- Go to church and spend time in God’s presence.
- Plan and prioritize the upcoming week’s tasks.
- Get ahead on those tasks.
- Update and add events to your calendar.
- Call and catch up with friends and family.
- Plan next week’s meals and outfits to make mornings a breeze.
- Take a therapeutic walk.
- Wind down by watching your favorite show or reading.
- Take a long shower and spend some extra time pampering yourself.
- Journal and reflect on the past week.
- Go to bed early.
By the end of the day, you will no longer feel anxious for Monday but completely prepared. Trust me, the moment you start integrating productive Sunday’s into your life, your overwhelm will fade away.
10. stay grounded and present
Keeping our sanity in stressful times is where many of us trip up, but it’s absolutely essential to conquering your overwhelm. Here are some of my favorite ways I keep grounded when life throws me some curveballs.
Meditation is my holy grail of staying grounded. I have found enormous success in practicing this habit and have only good things to say about it. Anyone can meditate, so I recommend you give it a try. Trust me, it works wonders.
Also as I mentioned before, amongst chaos the urgent tasks take our top priority, but it’s important to not lose sight of prioritizing health and sleep is at times like these. Stress drains us, and it’s necessary to get adequate sleep and keep your diet clean to rejuvenate yourself. Try to resist stress eating urges too. Those are real.
Always remember that this struggle in your life will pass, and when it does, it will be ever so rewarding. Just keep on swimming and cross that finish line.
When you’re overwhelmed you often find yourself in a rut that can be extremely hard to find your way out of. By taking a step back and identifying problems, you can start making progress. Take time out of your day to finish urgent tasks and eradicate things that are causing you to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
After you’ve crushed your overwhelm, you can start getting your life back on track again by implementing good habits, prioritizing and improving your health, and taking advantage of every day. Lastly, if overwhelm ever finds its way back into your life, you’ll be prepared conquer it once again.