In our modern society, overwhelm has become an all too common experience. The constant rush, the never-ending to-do lists, and the pressure to keep up with the demands of work, family, and personal life can leave us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this blog post, we will explore practical strategies to help you regain control and find balance in a chaotic world.

What does it look like to feel overwhelmed?

Overwhelm can show up differently for each of us. Recently I was speaking with a client who was showing signs of overwhelm. For her, it was a consequence of the information age that we now live in. She feels compelled to take in information all day long through various sources on the internet. She’s learning about things that interest her and keeping up with current events. Taken individually, each of these things can be helpful in its own way. The problem is that our brains can only process so much at a time. My client was dealing with information overload and it was overwhelming her. She felt guilty for not taking action on all of the good ideas that she read. This left her feeling like she wasn’t doing enough.

Does this sound familiar?

I know it’s very familiar to me. I get stuck in overwhelm from time to time, but it’s not information overload that sends me there. Instead it’s more from seeing all the possibilities around me. I have ideas that I want to implement for my business. I have ideas that I want to follow for my house. I also have things that I’d like to do for my personal life, my health, and my family. All of these ideas are possibilities that the achiever in me feels the need to complete or bring to life. When I forget to narrow down those possibilities, I start to get overwhelmed and exhausted. There’s absolutely no way that I can complete everything and it’s discouraging. I start to feel like my overwhelmed client does.

The effects of feeling overwhelmed on the body.

So many things effect your physical health. Overwhelm is a part of the equation that is often overlooked. Some of the signs that you might start to notice when you’re living in a state of overwhelm include poor quality sleep, more shallow breaths, tight muscles, headaches, a rapid heartrate, poor digestion, fatigue, and high blood pressure.

Everything that you do and experience in your life is recorded by your body as well as your brain. Your body starts to react to your experiences and will show these reactions in various ways. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might start to notice things that are out of your normal experience. This means that it’s time to start to ask yourself what might be causing these unusual bodily symptoms.

Awareness of your body and the signs of overwhelm can be the trigger to try some of the coping strategies listed below.

Overwhelm and your mental health.

Feeling overwhelmed has a direct impact on your mental health. Not being able to cross off everything on that To-Do list can leave you feeling anxious, depressed and tense. You might even feel short-tempered or angry about not being able to get everything done.

If you notice unusual moodiness or irritability, ask yourself if you’ve put too much on your plate once again.

When I find myself with too much to do, I start to feel resentful of everything! I just want to hide in a corner and ignore the world for a few days. That’s actually one of my first signs that I’m feeling overwhelmed with either my personal life, my business life, or both.

The good news is that once you recognize that you’re living in a state of overwhelm, there are ways to combat it. You don’t have to let it affect your body and your mental health. Awareness is the key to changing how life is affecting you at any given time. Let’s look at a few strategies for coping that you can implement right away.

Strategies for Coping with Overwhelm

Prioritize and Delegate:

One of the main reasons for overwhelm is having too much on our plates. To overcome this, we need to learn how to prioritize tasks and delegate responsibilities. Start by making a comprehensive To-Do list, categorize tasks based on urgency and importance, and focus on tackling one task at a time. Identify tasks that can be delegated to others, whether at work or home, to reduce your load and create more breathing space.

Identifying your priorities and delegating are excellent ways to tackle your super long To-Do List. There’s one more thing to add here. I’ll give you bonus points for eliminating things that simply do not need to be done. So many things on my lists would be good to accomplish, but are not really necessary for me to complete in order for me to live a complete and happy life.

What can you eliminate to simplify your life right now? Notice how your body responds once you’ve identified something to eliminate and crossed it off you list.

Set Boundaries:

Establishing boundaries is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and preventing overwhelm. Clearly define your limits and learn to say no when your plate is already full. Prioritize self-care by scheduling regular breaks throughout the day, setting aside time for activities that relax and rejuvenate you, and creating a technology-free zone before bed to ensure a good night’s sleep.

Boundaries are key to my sanity. I have people asking me to do sessions early morning, late in the evening and on the weekends. I simply can’t do all of those times and still live a healthy life. I choose to maintain my boundaries around session times so that I can remain sane, be happy, and serve my clients from a healthy state of being.

Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care:

Cultivating mindfulness can help us manage overwhelm by allowing us to be fully present, aware of our thoughts and emotions without judgment. Incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or taking mindful walks. Additionally, make self-care a priority by engaging in activities that bring you joy, such as reading, exercising, spending time in nature, or pursuing hobbies.

Self-care is key to managing overwhelm in my life! Every time that I notice myself feeling overwhelmed, I know that it’s time to increase my self-care. I especially like to be out in nature or working on a hobby! Both help me to be in the present moment while I’m also releasing the unusually high expectations that I have for completing everything on my To-Do list.

Seek Support:

Remember that you don’t have to face overwhelm alone. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or colleagues for support and guidance. Consider joining a support group or seeking professional help, such as therapy or coaching, to gain new insights and strategies for dealing with overwhelm effectively.

I talk about these coping mechanisms all of the time with my clients, and I still do my own therapy sessions. Support is part of my overall care package for myself!

While overwhelm may seem like an insurmountable challenge, taking proactive steps to regain control of our lives is possible. By recognizing the signs of overwhelm, prioritizing tasks, setting boundaries, practicing mindfulness, and seeking support, we can pave the way for a more balanced and fulfilling life. Let’s choose to rise above overwhelm and embrace a life of harmony in a chaotic world.

Becky is a Yoga Therapist & has been teaching yoga since 2006. She loves to match people with a yoga practice that helps them to feel better every day & believes that there is a yoga practice for everyone. Click here to sign up for her mailing list & get all of the important news & tips first!

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