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Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Too much to do, too little time to do it; too many people making demands upon your time, all with conflicting agendas; feelings of overwhelm and anxiety because you can't keep juggling these requests... Sound familiar? When you feel overwhelmed you feel like you are paralysed emotionally where you just feel as though you're unable to handle or cope with what is on your plate right now. Do you feel like you need a magic trick to sort this all out? You are not alone. Your thinking is breaking down. Your problem solving function is not working. Your only action is inaction.

Here are some strategies to help you get back on track -

- Start to say NO - Sounds easy I know but it is such a powerful tool. No is a sentence and you do not need to justify your reasoning. Don't let guilt stop you;

- Get support - Find a non-judgmental friend and talk. Get your feelings outside of you and start rationalising them. Your friend will let you vent and then ask them to help you work through what are reasonable and what are unrealistic thoughts and feelings;

- Do what makes you smile - Even if you do this for half an hour a week, do something that fills you with passion. It might be a bath so you can have some solitude, reading a book, having a mind clearing walk... ask for help so that you can free up this time. You are worth it and remember we all have the same number of hours in the day - use yours wisely:

- Make a plan and break it down into smaller pieces - I am a great fan of planning and working out ways to deal with the situations or action tasks at hand. Do a step by step approach writing down all of the actions that need to be taken to resolve or get you closer to the outcome you want;

- Identify the triggers that cause these feelings of overwhelm - Reflect and write down what triggers caused you to feel overwhelmed last week. It may be one thing or a number of incidents or actions that caused this feeling. From your list place them in a priority list with the biggest incident at the top. Write next to these how they have been rectified or how they are being rectified. Moving forward be mindful with each situation or incident in the coming week and write down how it makes you feel and again prioritise them and review them at the end of each day. Write actions next to each and do them the next day.It is important to be able to identify when stress is affecting you. Are there any patterns?;

- Review how you cope in situations that overwhelm you - Work at identifying how you have been coping both now and in the past. Are there any patterns? What worked for you? What tools and strategies have you found helpful? What strategies didn't serve you and were unhelpful? How could you change those unhelpful strategies so that the outcome could have been more positive? Adopt these new strategies;

- Think differently — Our thoughts directly influence our emotions and feelings which in turn affect our behavior. When our thoughts are negative and self-critical we may begin to feel overwhelmed and instead of doing the things we need to do in order to deal with incidents or situations, we don't do anything or procrastinate or even sabotage our efforts. Change your thinking to positive. Stay positive and recall a time when you actioned things and got good results - you can do it again. What did you do that time that you could do again? Plus consider the expectations that you are placing on yourself. Are they reasonable, achievable and if not course correct and adjust them. You can change your course as long as you are always going in the right direction;

- Talk to yourself as you would a friend - What would you say to a friend in the same circumstances? No doubt you would offer compassion and encouragement. So, why don't you do that to yourself? Try it;

- Take care of yourself — Wellbeing cannot be talked up enough. Sleep, eat, rest when you can and be kind to yourself.

This is not an exhausted list, there are so many tips to keep you from slumping into a state of overwhelm. Lists are my favourite, write them and action the items on them. Finish small tasks first so that you get the motivation to move to the next. Seeing your efforts come to life improves your self esteem and increases your personal power. Take back control now.

Let me show you a simple example - Jane has a full time job, lives with her 17 year old son, has a sick cat, is completing renovations at home, has obligations to her sons school every fortnight and her mother is in a nursing home. She washes and cleans for her son, she manages the renovations and budget, her cat is sick and needs vet attention weekly and she visits her mother 3 times each week. She has no time for herself or to pursue her passion of finishing the renovations on time and on budget. She is overwhelmed with what she has on her plate. Jane makes a list of her obligations. Jane reviews this list and prioritises them. Jane notes what she can delegate or remove because she created these obligations and they have now become expectations which she now needs to change. She takes back control and asks her son to go from school to see his grandmother once per week, Jane and her son discuss household chore and they agree on some boundaries and sharing of duties, her son is also going to take the cat to the vet once per week. Jane reviews her other obligations and speak to the school to tell them she can no longer commit to every fortnight but can offer every month. This is accepted. Jane feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. Her passion is her home renovation and management of the contractors. Freeing up time to do this by delegating and saying no lifts Jane's spirits and energises her to reach her goals sooner.

Try putting your situation into this example and see what you can do.

Good luck.


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NSW, Australia