Have you ever been overwhelmed with life?
Maybe there was too much going on at work or maybe you just had a lot of family issues going on all at the same time. As much as it may hurt to hear it, much of what overwhelms us is actually our own fault. There are definitely things out of our own control, but we often have more control over what we allow into our lives than we think. And the other part we don’t realize is that we also have to ability to fix it.
I previously wrote a post on what to do RIGHT NOW if you are currently feeling overwhelmed, for instant relief. Here is what to do if you want to have a better chance of avoiding it in the future.
Long Term Results
1. Set boundaries
Everybody has boundaries whether you know it or not. At some point in life (probably subconsciously) you determined what to allow in your life. You decided at what point is how far you are willing to go in different situations. So, I should actually say, “move boundaries”, but that’s not as cool. If you want to avoid feeling overwhelmed in the future, the first thing you need to do is identify where you have set those boundaries. In relationships, at work, your personal life and health, everything. In almost every case you’ll realize that maybe you’ve set them a little further than you should’ve for your own safety.
2. Learn to say “no”
This could be related to setting boundaries but is so important that I put it separate. Learning to say no to people or opportunities might seem counter intuitive or even downright wrong. But there is only so much time in a day, so much energy in your body, and only so many places you can be at once. You can’t do everything or be everywhere. You weren’t meant to be. This culture is increasingly becoming more and more demanding of our attention, time, and energy. There is pressure from everywhere. This is where boundaries are important. But even more importantly, this is where learning to say “no” will save you. Think essentialism. What if you only said yes to the things in life that are 90% yes or higher? Say no to the rest. Focus your skills, time, and energy on a few things and do them well. Say no to the rest.
3. Know yourself
Once you’ve started to evaluate your boundaries and adjust as needed, it’s time to work on really understanding who you are. If you know where your limits are; what you’re really good at and what you’re not so good at, the process of setting boundaries and knowing when to say “no” will be a lot more clear. Spend time taking personality tests, discover your strengths and weaknesses, ask family and friends for insight. Start observing your past experiences to see what brought you to your limits and where you thrived.
4. Use a schedule
Knowing yourself is valuable but doesn’t do much good unless you apply that information. Start planning out a life that revolves around your strengths. Are you an introvert like me? Schedule time for yourself. You NEED it. Extrovert? Make sure you find outlets for your restlessness. Plan a girl’s or guy’s night out. Get out more often. No matter what type you are, involve yourself in the activities that build you up, help you develop your abilities and passions, and allow you to thrive.
5. Organize your life
When you have a project overdue at work, 3 kids with runny noses at the house, a car in the shop, and about another million problems going on, having a disorganized house and schedule only makes it 100x worse. It may seem really hard to do with everything else going on (read my other post about instant relief), but I want to you spend a little time organizing, cleaning, or doing whatever you need to do to ease that extra pressure off of yourself. You may have to sacrifice something else to do this, but it will help you and EVERYONE AROUND YOU in the long run.
6. Automate as much as possible
Habits. Everyone is talking about them, few are doing something with them. They are your friend. Remember, this article is about long term results. Identify the keystone habits that will have the biggest effect on your life. They don’t even need to be big changes. Sometimes it just starts with making your bed every morning or brushing your teeth after every meal. If that’s too much, think smaller. You’d be surprised how something like those habits will affect your health, finances, relationships, etc… Seriously. Everything is connected. Forming good habits now will allow your brain to focus on the things that are important in the future and save you mental space and energy thereby allowing you to be more productive and not as overwhelmed.
There is plenty more I could write (and will; subscribe to know when I’m releasing my book) but I need to keep it short for this blog post. What are you struggling with right now? Have you tried the things in my other post? What tips do you have for dealing with overwhelming feelings?