5 Things You Should STOP When You Feel Overwhelmed

overwhelmed

I felt like I was hanging on by a thread.

Sound familiar? From the moment the alarm sounds in the morning, you’re running on all cylinders. You reach for your phone, check your social media, and answer or ignore emails, all before finally getting out of bed to get the kids ready, and then you realize there’s not enough time for your workout (again). You shower, grab a quick bite (or not) while you rush out the door into crazy traffic as you head to work. 

And then you do it all again the next day.

That used to be me. Hanging by a thread, smiling at the world around me while secretly dying to myself because I was living in a perpetual state of survival mode.

Survival mode is exhausting.

You don’t have to remain stressed to the point of exhaustion. There are concrete actionable steps you can use starting today that will decrease your anxiety and help you find more ease so you can actually slow things down and learn to find more joy in your life. 

Here are 5 steps you can take to do just that.

STOP doing these things to avoid feeling overwhelmed:

1. Saying yes to everyone. Even with the best of intentions, there is only so much one person can do, and if you are a habitual people-pleaser, it’s time to draw the line. Have the courage to politely say “no” to anything that won’t get you closer to your highest priorities. You don’t have to attend every function or be on every committee that you are invited to. Say “yes” when you can, but also learn the power of “no”. The secret to preventing overwhelm is keeping the two in balance. 

2. Ignoring your health. You know the saying, “it’s not all about you”? Well, sometimes you need to make it about you. Not taking care of yourself will only lead you to feeling more overwhelmed if your body, mind, and spirit become weakened in the process. Make sure you get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat well, and find de-stressing activities to do, like going for a walk, reading, or having coffee with a friend. Whatever taking care of you looks like for you, do that thing.

3. Listening to negatives. Negative chatter is all around us, including that voice inside our own head. Don’t get caught in the trap of self-doubt that listening to these negative messages will place in your spirit. Tell yourself you are worthy and beautiful everyday, and refuse to let failure define you. Remember that life’s “failures” will strengthen and prepare you for future victories.

Paul instructed in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Practice thinking of such positive things in your life and you’ll be more at peace no matter how much is going on around you.

4. Winging it. Whether I’m teaching a class of seventh graders or presenting in front of a school faculty, if I’m not prepared, I’m “winging it”. I will tell you from experience, winging it is stressful. It’s the opposite of being intentional, and without intention you may get lucky and reach your goal, but mostly, you’ll operate on adrenaline and cortisol – two hormones that contribute to overwhelm if they are left to run wild for too long. 

5. Doing it all. Thinking you need to “do it all” is a perfectionist mindset, and that is an expectation that can zap the energy from you pretty quickly. You may think your Superwoman powers enable you to multitask effectively, but if you want to feel less overwhelmed, stop pretending that being busy equals being more productive. No one can do it all and do it all well.

Being a single, working, cancer-surviving mom recovering from food addictions, I know first hand the struggle is real, but only if I let it be. Sure, I can put on my Superwoman cape and still find a way to get it all done, but who wants to feel like a hamster in a wheel all the time when life can be so much more?

There will always be days when your to-do list is long and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to get it all done. But if you can learn the power of “no”, treat yourself with kindness and grace, and take action with positive, purposeful intention, you can learn to live life at an enjoyable pace and avoid feeling overwhelmed. And just think, that way you won’t miss all the good stuff!

In this thing with you,

Laurie

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