10 Tips to Radically Reduce Overwhelm: Strategies for Life and Business

10 Tips to Radically Reduce Overwhelm- Strategies for Life and Business (1)Do you know the feelings of overwhelm? I most certainly do! I get the distinct feeling my lungs are filling with water.

Like I am gasping for breath.

There is no denying the physical symptoms -- monkey mind, heightened emotional sensitivity, racy heart rate, the flush that is periodically washing over my face, and the fatigue.  My anxiety can be palpable when I have bitten off way more than I can chew.

I can't jettison things from my calendar fast enough.

As I am trying to calm my frenzied mind, I am brought up short.  Oddly, this is when people tend to come to me for coaching and we go about putting a plan in place to radically reduce overwhelm.  This irony is not lost on me.  We so often teach what we need to be reminded of.

Here are 10 Tips to Get Out of Overwhelm:

  • Give yourself permission to acknowledge your human-ness:  My experience this week is not unique or special.  Nor is it reserved just for me (or just for women).  My feelings are felt around the world, every day, and do not discriminate.
  • Take a moment to be grateful:  All my stresses and anxieties, as uncomfortable as they may be, aren't all that serious...and can easily be fixed.  I am grateful for my health, the health of my family (more so this week), my husband's love, my children.  I am deeply grateful for this life.  Gratitude gives me perspective.
  • Capture the monkeys bouncing around in your head:  I wrote a a long list of actions that need to be taken.  I made sure each "to do" was written in a way that led to action and was assigned a timeframe.  There is a difference between "gifts for birthdays" and "go to Target for birthday gifts after Little A gets on the bus."
  • Cross off anything that is NOT essential:  The eyebrow wax will have to happen another day.  Little A's haircut will have to wait.  She will still look cute in the family pictures.  We will all survive a missed soccer practice.  I reduced my shopping lists to the minimum of what is needed to shorten the time it would take to shop, schlep, and put away items.
  • Take some time to DECLUTTER your space: I do this every week (or try to).  My favorite organizational tool is a black garbage bag.  A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind.  Get your physical space organized and your mind will follow.
  • Don't multitask:  While this seems counter intuitive to getting the most out of your day, it is the quickest way to kill productivity.  Take one task at a time from thought to completion.  Move on with the confidence that there is one less thing to do.
  • Take steps to maximize your time:  I sat down and mapped out my errands and evaluated their location before stepping out the door.  This minimizes driving time and maximizes my time efficiency.
  • DELEGATE:  When my back is up against a wall I tend to get controlling and autocratic.  I actually feel my body clench up!  This is when I need to loosen the reigns, delegate, and trust my tribe to get things done.  My husband got a list of things to pick up from the store.  The kids were tasked with straightening up.  My favorite task to delegate is laundry.  I brought the laundry to the laundry mat!   For $20 someone else can wash and fold it.  I save this treat for my busiest of weeks. However, I was so behind in laundry this week (Willy Wonka!), it cost a lot more than $20.  To me it is worth it.
  • Positive Self Talk: This always works for me.  Positive self talk goes a long way to reframe your mind so you are ready to tackle your priorities.  I get emotional when I am overwhelmed.  I can become negative or critical of myself.  These thoughts are silly and damaging.  Take a tough stand on mental negativity by giving yourself a firm command of "move on."  One of my favorites is "butch up Sally and gitterdone."
  • Take care of yourself: Remember to hydrate and eat something.  Try to take a few minutes to do something for yourself.  It could be as simple as lighting a scented candle, going for a walk, reading a magazine, or taking a long shower.  On my busiest days my workouts are always the first to be sacrificed.  This is a major error.  I often need that opportunity to clear my mind and let things go. Taking a few minutes to care for yourself will go a long way in soothing frenzied nerves.

What makes you feel overwhelmed? 

How to Have it All Without Doing It All

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