Have you ever paused and looked at your week ahead on a Sunday or Monday and thought “OMG”? Our mind has a wonderful capacity if unchecked to take us down the road of overwhelm when it starts its glorious dance of overthinking, overanalysis and forward planning that at times can take us into a right old tailspin. We then begin the week in an exhausted state just by thinking about our week ahead.
So, what do we do to manage this overthinking, overanalysis and overplanning? Here are a few thoughts on some strategies and techniques that might help you.
Stay present in today!
If you are looking at the week ahead and everything it entails is over facing, take a breath. Pause and work to focus on what you can do in the day you are in. Let go of the past, don’t step into the future, but rather remind yourself to focus on the things that you can address and do today.
If you find your mind wandering to past events, or future possibilities, take a moment, clear your mind, and bring yourself back to the task at hand. Allow yourself to fully focus on what you are doing today.
Set realistic goals!
The next step to take when working to step back from overwhelm is to allow yourself to set realistic goals for yourself. Remember you are one person, you are not superhuman. Be realistic about what you can achieve in your day. Having overly high expectations of your day can lead to unnecessary disappointment and frustration.
So, take a breath and ask yourself the question “is that goal or target realistically achievable for me, given the things I have chosen to focus on today?”
Do something for yourself!
Whatever is going on in your day, work to give yourself some time. Is that giving yourself a set time to take a lunch break? Is it to take some time for yourself in the morning before logging on for work? Is it getting outdoors to walk the dog? If you have a dog! Or is it connecting with supportive friends?
Think about what you would like to give yourself and put that in your guide for your day. Try not to make excuses for why you shouldn’t do those things for yourself, they are important as they are the things that will help support you and take you away from growing to overwhelm.
Get some rest!
Don’t underestimate the value of rest and quality sleep. A good night’s sleep builds mental resilience. The more rest we have, the more we can support ourselves mentally as well as physically. When we are tired, our brain can go into overdrive, and overthink more. Which in turn leads us down the road to overwhelm.
So set the intention to give yourself additional time to rest and sleep. Use meditation if you struggle to get to sleep. Be mindful of your bedtime routine and think about how you could give yourself more time for winding down, resting and sleeping. Set a new routine for yourself and make it a regular routine – implement the routine consistently and it will help embed that new routine for you.
Most importantly, getting outdoors into the fresh air and being amongst nature has natural calming effects. As human beings, we respond to nature without even realizing it. So, think how you could get outdoors – if you have a garden can you sit out? Are you near a park to go for a walk? Are you near the sea? Or woodlands? All these outdoor spaces have been shown to have positive effects on human beings. They build wellbeing, clear stress and clear your mind.
Remember why you step back from overwhelm…
If you are not in a state of overwhelm, you are more able to cope with situations in a more considered way and you will have more clarity and focus. By making the choice to step back from overwhelm you have been proactive and taken ownership of supporting yourself, and that creates a positive response within you. It supports your sense of autonomy and your capacity to support and take care of yourself. All these things create more positive ripple effects as you progress through your week.
So, what first step would you take to step back from overwhelm?
If you feel it would help to have a conversation about your next steps – email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be delighted to arrange a time to talk.