Getting over your overwhelm

Published on Business stage: Starting

Overwhelm.  It can be defined as being buried or drowned beneath a huge mass of something, especially water, or it having a strong emotional effect on you.

Swap the word ‘water’ for ‘life’ and you’ll probably know exactly how this feels. Both of those definitions are accurate. In my experience, the first one leads to the second.

You don’t PLAN to be overwhelmed. The alarm goes off. You wake up and instantly want to snooze that alarm for the rest of the day. So much stuff to do. No idea of which things to start first. A false sense of which things are important. Yet yesterday you woke up and were full of energy and enthusiasm.

So what can you do to try and prevent those immediate feelings of overwhelm? You can PLAN to NOT be overwhelmed. At the end of each day, take note of what you have achieved. Did you get everything done that you had planned to? If so, fantastic: you clearly planned your day out well. Celebrate!

If not, then review and reflect on what you accomplished and ask yourself:

  • Did stuff just take longer than I expected?
  • Did I put off some things because I didn’t know where to start?
  • Was I unsure of what to do or if I would get it right?
  • Did I get distracted?

Taking the answers to those questions into account, look ahead to the next days plan. Is everything in there achievable?  Do you need to re-plan, delegate or just ditch some things? Not only do you massively increase your chance of having a successful next day, you’re also far more likely to wake up full of hope and energy.

Remember, you’re not on your own. I’m able to write about this because I’ve been through it, still go through it and have clients that go through it. Sometimes it’s possible to come out of the sense of overwhelm and re-focus and be able to push on.

But not always. Talk to someone. A friend. A team colleague. A coach. Someone in your networking group or in your network of contacts. By sharing what you’re experiencing and how you’re feeling, one of two things will happen. – you’ll come to the right answer yourself purely by talking and sharing, or the other person will suggest ideas and options. Either (or both) of these will give you what you need to turn your day into a successful one.

One final thought. In this context, the opposite of ‘overwhelm’ is not ‘underwhelm’. Far from it. The opposite of ‘overwhelm’ is (in Momentus speak) ‘planful, determined, focussed and energised’.

If you’ve read this blog and thought “that’s me you’re talking about” then get in contact and let’s have a chat about how to turn things around.

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