It’s understandable if everything is feeling too much right now. There’s a lot happening in the world, not to mention your everyday life, and while you may be doing all the things, it still can feel like it’s not enough.
You may be in overwhelm. And overwhelm is not a great state for creating or healing or moving things forward.
Here are 5 tips to help you recognize and move through overwhelm so you can reconnect to confidence and get back to doing what you’re here to do:
1. Watch for all or nothing thinking. This shows up with words like: all, never, nothing, anything, everything, always, etc…“I didn’t accomplish anything today.” “I have to do everything myself.” “I’m never going to meet someone.” “I’m always behind.” “Nobody cares.” This language is used to give yourself or someone else a hard time, and not only is it a huge energy drain, it’s inaccurate. When you catch yourself in all or nothing thinking, challenge yourself to find a truer statement: “While I made sure my family had what it needed today, I would’ve liked to also accomplish these 3 other tasks on my list. I’ll work to prioritize them tomorrow.” This gets you out of all/nothing thinking and invites a more nuanced and supportive perspective.
2. Acknowledge and validate what you’re going through. This is one of the simplest, most powerful tools, but it’s also the most overlooked. Take a moment to acknowledge the emotion you’re experiencing, name the circumstances and remind yourself it all makes sense. It looks like this: “Of course you’re overwhelmed (or other emotion)! You didn’t get much sleep, you’ve got big decisions to make, and you’re distracted by world news (or any other circumstance)! It makes complete sense.” No matter what the emotion you name, and whatever the circumstances you’re going through, it makes sense.
3. Identify the first next step. Sometimes, the reason we’re in overwhelm is because we’re thinking about all the steps we need to take, instead of the next one. It’s no wonder you feel stuck and overwhelmed when you feel like you have to swallow a project or experience whole. Stop focusing on step 16 and ask yourself “What’s the first next step”? Make it tiny and make it doable. Concentrate on that, and take it one step at a time.
4. Ask for support. Being in overwhelm disconnects us from our resources. And sometimes the very best first next step is getting some help, be it more information or some added support from friends, colleagues or mentors. If you don’t know what to do next, think about who and how you might be able to get more support for yourself. You are resourceful! Give yourself the support you need.
5. Rekindle your mojo. Authentic confidence comes from centering back into who we truly are. And there’s no better way to reconnect to ourselves and our confidence then to reconnect with what brings us joy. When I feel off, I try to remember that my mojo comes from seeking More Joy. Keep a list of what brings you joy, even the simplest of pleasures, like walking through the woods, throwing the ball with the dog, laughing with a trusted friend, reading an inspiring book, digging into a part of your work you’re curious about. Too often we put off joy as a reward. It is, in fact, where it all begins.