7 STEPS TO OVERCOMING OVERWHELM
If you're like me, you can sometimes let things mount up and allow circumstances of life get the best of you. If we're not careful and very intentional about our actions we can become overwhelmed. When overwhelm sets in, it has a paralyzing effect which can lead to anxiety and even depression. However, with diligent effort we can prevent overwhelm from getting the best of us. The following are 7 steps that I personally use to help me keep overwhelm at bay:
Step 1: Pray
Prayer is a powerful thing and it is very effective against overwhelm. It allows us to stop and take a moment to breathe and ease anxiety over the matter. It helps us ask for the divine intervention that we need. It gets us to stop focusing so much on ourselves and our circumstances and puts our focus on Gods strength which is what gets us through in the first place.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7
Step 2: Don't do it all at once.
There are false ideas that if you don’t get things done completely at first try then you have failed and you're lacking in productivity. The preference might be to finish the task in one swoop but that may not always be reasonable. Instead, allow yourself to do a small amount of work at a time to not let the size of it or challenges overtake you.
Having a perfectionist or an all-or-nothing attitude is detrimental to getting things done because if you wait for everything to be perfect you may be waiting a long time and nothing gets accomplished. Instead tell yourself that something is better than nothing. Cut yourself some slack because setting unreasonable expectations will lead to nowhere good.
Step 3: Make a list.
In order to thoroughly complete your task you must know everything it's going to entail to get it done. Therefore, have a brain dump and write out all the steps necessary for the task to be completed or for your problem to be solved. Break it down to even the smallest or minute details to not miss something and have that overwhelm you. Just the exercise alone of getting it out of your head and onto paper releases some stress over the matter. Then don't forget to cross the item off your list once you've completed it.
You can do this first thing in the morning to set your trajectory for the day and know what needs to get accomplished, or you can do this right before bed to prevent losing sleep over it. I’ve done it both ways depending on whether or not I’m ruminating about it before bed or if it’s the first thing I start to think about when I wake up.
Step 4: Prioritize
Put the steps in order of importance or sequence to have a clear vision of how to get things done. I usually put what scares me the most or is the biggest challenge first because once I complete that step the rest seems much more doable. However, if gaining momentum is what you need, start with something small and as you start knocking several things out of the way that can give you the motivation you need to tackle the harder things.
Step 5: Pick a day and time to start
The things we schedule are things we get done. So put it down on your calendar when, where, with whom, and at what time you are going to start. Schedule it sooner than later.
You can do this on your phone and set reminders to help you remember, or you can simply get yourself a date book and write it in the day and time you designate for it. I do both because I don’t want to give myself the excuse that I forgot or didn’t see it for some reason. This assures me that one way or another I’ll stay accountable.
Step 6: Just do it.
It would seem obvious to start with the first step if what you're going to do has an evident sequence but if it doesn't then just pick a spot and start. Remember, doing something is better than doing nothing. Pick one or two steps to do and do them as well as you can without feeling like it has to be perfect before going forward to doing more. If you get inspired and want to do more go for it but resist doing too much at a time to prevent overwhelm.
I give myself 30 minute blocks of time to work on something before I take a break. If I can come back to it right after a 5 minute break, I do. However, I sometimes just schedule several blocks of time throughout the day and break my tasks up into bite size pieces. If 30 minutes seems too long or too short to you, block out the appropriate time that makes sense for you to be successful.
Step 7: Repeat
Keep repeating the steps until the job is done. Once you’re done, celebrate the fact that you have accomplished something great!
By following these steps you are conditioning yourself to associate difficult tasks with feelings of empowerment. Incorporating this practice into your daily life will enable you to be more likely to take on challenges and reach goals that you never thought possible. You will increase confidence in your abilities to deal with stressful situations and create healthy habits that will lead you to higher levels of living.
You are more than capable of doing this. I believe in you!
I would love to work with you personally on overcoming overwhelm. I can walk you through the steps and help you formulate a plan to systemize your tasks in a way that will set you up for success and enable you to get rid of anxiety over the challenges that inevitably come to all of us.
Let’s take on challenges together! Call me to set up a free session to discover what possibilities are in store for you.