It’s not surprising that people, and women in particular, are wanting to let go of feeling overwhelmed. After the year we’ve just come through, and the uncertainty we’re still facing into, no one wants to be adding to the anxiety levels. And that’s exactly what overwhelm does.
Many of the women I coach want to feel less overwhelmed. Their overwhelm can be driven by so many varied factors. For some, they’ve simply overloaded their plates by saying yes to all the things. Others can feel out of sorts thanks to things that are going on in the environment. Regardless of the cause, thanks to how regularly feeling overwhelmed shows up for the women I work with, I’ve considered many strategies designed to reduce these feelings. If you fall into the category of wanting to let go of feeling overwhelmed, here are some ideas for you to try.
Top strategies to let go of feeling overwhelmed
One – Reframe your overwhelm
People who know me know that I’m a big fan of reframing. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do, why not change how you are thinking about these things? Did you ask for or want any of the tasks on your to-do list? Then remind yourself that you ‘get’ to do these things. Or, use your feelings of overwhelm to motivate you to act. Sometimes the only way out is through, and it can feel really good as you start to tick things off your list.
Two – Chunk things down
I don’t talk about my day job here very much. But when I’m not coaching, I lead a team of highly skilled initiative leads and project managers. My team work on multi year programs of work that deliver massive changes. It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally a team member will look at the task they have ahead of them. And almost immediately start feeling overwhelmed. When this happens, my advice is always the same. Only ever look at the whole project to get a vision of where you’re headed. After that, just look at the next step you have to take. And then the one after that. Chunking the entire project into manageable steps is the easiest way to stop feeling overwhelmed. Writing a list can really help here too. Transformation, whether it’s big or small, is usually delivered in baby steps. Mark Twain articulated this approach best when he said “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”
Three – Look after you
Consider sayings like ‘Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others’. Or ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’. The fact that there are so many ‘old adages’ about the need to prioritise our own wellbeing is telling, don’t you think? And yet we still push ourselves, taking on more and more and wondering why we just feel worse and worse. One of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed is take a break. Many women find this advice counterintuitive because it slows them down from getting stuff done. But what often happens is that they’re actually more effective when they’re fresher and things seem easier after they’ve given themselves a break.
Four – Learn to say no
An obvious one perhaps? Maybe. Yet, so often, our to-do lists get filled up with things that we feel we should do, rather than things that we want to do. Now, there’ll always be things that you feel compelled to say yes to. But those things shouldn’t equate to everything. Start listening to your gut and practice saying no when your intuition tells you that something isn’t for you. And remember you don’t need to make excuses – a simple ‘that’s not for me, but thanks so much for thinking of me’ works wonders.
Five – Switch off
Finally, while I’m thinking about saying no to things. If your overwhelm stems from all the negativity in the world today, give yourself permission to take a break from the news for a while. You should also considering skipping social media too. While it’s ok to stay informed, it’s not ideal to drown in information. You’ll be amazed how quickly a ‘negativity fast’ can make a difference. Read and watch things that lift you up instead. Remind yourself that the world will always face challenges. And that positive mindsets are the most likely to find solutions to those challenges.
Is letting go of feeling overwhelmed something you’re keen to do? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
And until next time – stay fabulous.
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