Overwhelm. You all know that feeling: When you don’t know where to begin. Or where to end. Or how to continue going.
While it’s a common state for all of us, it’s not one we want to spend a lot of time in.
Feeling powerless is a vicious cycle. Inaction only breeds more inaction. It’s much more difficult for an object at rest to gain momentum than it is for an object that is already in motion. And that’s just the physics.
So how to get out of overwhelm? Here are three easy steps:
How To Get Out Of Overwhelm In 3 Easy Steps
First off, don’t berate yourself for feeling the way you do. As frustrating as it is, it’s also totally normal. Self-loathing will not help you find that motivation; it will only make things feel worse. So recognize that this is a temporary state and that it will not last forever.
Second, give yourself permission to relax. Veg out and get a massage, go for a walk or take a yoga class. Getting relaxed creates some healthy distance in our minds. Plus not taking immediate action is a temporary surrender. We must acknowledge that not everything is in our control. There is always the possibility that we could do all the things on our list and still not achieve what we want. For the moment, take a deep breath and relinquish control.
[Tweet “Find a thread of happiness in the present moment that isn’t dependent on what’s coming next.”]
3. Baby Steps
Third, take some baby steps. I swear by these: Tiny movements. Microactions. Pick one small goal—as minuscule as possible—and attack it. Then do it again. And again.
These miniscule movements will get you to the finish line as long as you continue to put one foot in front of the other. (Remember The Tortoise and The Hare?)
(This advice applies for more than just when you are feeling overwhelmed. Some things in life are much too daunting to attack head on; so much so that you start to feel worn out before you even begin. So don’t take that approach. Instead, concentrate on making some teeny tiny gains regularly. )
Because I believe our homes are the starting point for the rest of our life, I highly recommend starting with something extremely basic like cleaning or decluttering. I know that doesn’t sound very glam but these micro-actions are things that everyone can do without needing to book an appointment, buy supplies or wait for backup.
Here are some more examples of micro-actions:
- Writing: Clear off your desk area. Write something small: one paragraph, a silly introduction or one page of free form thoughts (no rules).
- Working Out: Roll out your yoga mat. Put on your workout gear. Do 20 jumping jacks or put on your favorite song and dance around the room.
- Studying: Read one page of your textbook. Make a small list of to-do’s.
- Cleaning: Do the dishes in the kitchen sink or empty your garbage bins. Or clean up the area whre you keep your cleaning products (typically under the sink).
- Dieting: Make a healthy salad or smoothie. Or place a pretty bowl of fresh fruit out where you will see it.
These actions might be small but they’re more than enough to tip the scale back over into productivity mode—the opposite state of overwhelm. The positive actions will begin to build on each other and over time you’ll feel more empowered and less overwhelmed.
So be good to yourself. Hope this article was helpful. Questions and comments as always are welcome.
PS Looking for more? You might also want to check out this post about How To Develop Your Intuition or this one about How To Find Your Happy.