Hi friends! I have been fighting ALL THE FEELS lately. Anyone else?! I have been talking on my Instagram story about feeling overwhelmed, and how everything feels HARD. A lot of you seem to feel the same way. I’m going to dive in this post with some raw, honest thoughts about how I overcome being overwhelmed when I’m drowning in a tsunami of my own thoughts.
Why am I feeling this way? There’s nothing truly bad going on in my life right now.
So often I am overwhelmed by my own feelings of overwhelm. I don’t feel like I should be overwhelmed, so I am almost annoyed with myself that I am. Does that make any sense? I feel like I have so much going on, and so many boxes to check on my to-do list that I shut down and become ineffective. You know that episode of Spongebob where he forgets his name? Yeah, that’s how I feel. It’s almost impossible for me to be productive in that mindset, so I have to work really hard to dig myself out of the hole I’m in.
As with most things, the way to get yourself out of a problem is to admit that there’s one in the first place. It usually takes a lot of conversations with close family and friends for me to realize I’m doing too much. If you don’t have people in your life that can lovingly set your mind straight, try and find some of those people because they rock. I can do a whole different post on finding community sometime if you want to see that!
Okay, I admitted I’m overwhelmed. Now what?
There are a few action steps I take from here get control of my life back, instead of letting it control me.
1. Be really intentional about how you spend your time.
When life feels too much, I often will retreat into the rabbit hole of all rabbit holes: social media. I use it as a distractor from all the things I have going on. The worst part about this is that I leave feeling worse about myself when I see others being really productive. If you’re like me, TAKE A BREAK! Delete the app, or turn off notifications! Turning off notifications has actually been a game changer for me because I don’t have the urge to immediately go to Instagram when I get on my phone. If you’re really bold, turn off notifications for almost ALL apps. Then, you are more likely to use your phone for the thing you actually need it for, not ending up on IG or Facebook scrolling through an endless loop of stories and posts.
Once I’ve set my social media life straight, I’ll make a list of all the things I want to get accomplished THAT DAY. The key here is to not get MORE overwhelmed. I will literally write down 3-5 little things I want to accomplish just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off. Think of the “you can only eat an Elephant one bite at a time” analogy. That definitely applies here. Usually this simple act will start a snowball of productivity for me. I also have a post on work life balance and you can check that out next if you want!
Bonus: Throw on your favorite music and dance while you’re working. Instant mood booster.
2. BRAIN DUMP.
When I have a lot I want to do but don’t know where to start, it really helps me to get it all on paper SOMEWHERE. I have a journal for this specific purpose. One of my favorite bloggers Brighton Keller has a whole post and Instagram highlight on how she Brain Dumps. I will write down anything I have going on, fears I have, people I have been meaning to talk to, dreams and goals, and so on. I basically write down anything I have on my mind at that given moment. Then, I’ll shut my journal and walk away. Don’t worry though, I come back to it later which leads me to my next point.
3. Piece your life back together.
When I’m overwhelmed, it almost feels as though my life is scattered into a million little pieces. My brain feels like my clothes scattered all over the closet floor after not knowing what to wear. I have to take time to put things back where they go, one by one. This is the time where I will go back to my journal, place things on my calendar, text or call my friends I’ve been meaning to have happy hour with, and so on.
You’ll have your big goals, dreams, worries, and fears left on the paper. I will also write dreams down in my planner so that I can start working towards them. What about the worries and fears? Yeah, sometimes they’re valid but I just leave them on the paper because life is too short to operate out of a fear mindset. It just helps to have them on paper and acknowledge they’re there.
4. Get moving!
When I am drowning with life, exercise is the first thing to go overboard on my sinking ship. It’s the last thing I want to do, but usually the first thing that makes me feel better. I’m a big fan of walking. I love going on walks with my husband, or by myself to enjoy the outdoors and really THINK. If I’m walking with somebody, my phone stays at home too and it’s actually the most freeing feeling to not be tethered to a device for once. Some of my best ideas/solutions occur when I’m moving my body in some way. I also want to eat healthier when I’m regularly exercising so that’s definitely a win too! Overall, exercise doesn’t have to be a big scary thing. Just move your body!
5. Set up a weekly meeting to stay on top of things.
This is the last tip I have, and by far the most impactful in preventing overwhelm in the future. If you’re married, pull your spouse in on this one too. Set up a time once a week to look at your calendar for the coming week/month, delegate responsibility (if applicable), and reflect on how things have been going. Think of this like a stop sign. This is always a non-negotiable for us because it is our one time to sit down next to or across from each other and get back on the same page after a crazy week. A resource that we use and LOVE for all of your married peeps is The Marriage Journal by Audrey and Jeremy Roloff. If you want to hear more about our weekly meetings, let me know!
Alright y’all. I hope this post was helpful for you to see what I do to overcome the overwhelm in my life. Did you learn anything new? Is there something you do to not feel overwhelmed that we need to know about? Do you like these life advice posts? Let me know in the comments or over on Instagram(@simplyemilye)! The bottom line is I’m not perfect. Nobody is. We’ve all got work to do, and being overwhelmed all the time won’t let any of us live out our purpose in the most effective way. I’ll leave you with this gem from Morgan Harper Nichols.
Until next time, friends!