We’ve all been there. There’s too much on our plates, we can’t keep up, we feel exhausted and weekends just don’t do the trick anymore – they’re packed with errands, anyway.  

Life has no Pause button. But guess what?  Life doesn’t need to run on Fast Forward either.

We’re allowed to slow the heck down. We can choose which days we let unfold and which ones we run with, and it becomes a dance. Sometimes, we just need to bust some stress.

Overwhelm is a lot like stress in that it lives in the space between our expectations and our reality. Overwhelm is the result of feeling incapable of dealing with a situation in its perceived form (key detail here!). We perceive a “need” to do/react/solve/accomplish in a time frame that seems improbable, without the tools we think we need. In most cases though, our reality is very different from what we perceive and assume about a situation.

The good news is you can shift your perspective in order to ease your mind and soothe your heart and body.

5 Steps to Defuse Overwhelm

5 Steps to Defuse Overwhelm

1-Acknowledge the Feeling

Denying what’s going on in your body, your mind or heart will not do you any favours. It’s only going to keep you disconnected from your body and fester to blow up into something worse later. Acknowledge that you are feeling overwhelmed and notice what your triggers are.

2-Assess – Your Feelings vs Reality

Ask yourself if your feelings are proportional to the situation. Sometimes, putting things in perspective is enough to defuse the overwhelm. In doing so, we can start thinking clearly about the situation again – without the emotional charge. If not, then ask yourself what about your situation requires your attention and why. In other words, beyond your triggers, what’s really going on and what would happen if you didn’t react to this? ASK the people involved to clarify facts you may have assumed. If you need to respond, what is the absolute need and when can you allow yourself to withdraw?

3-Give Yourself Permission to Take a Break

Do you really need to fold another basket of laundry TONIGHT? Do you need to stay up late to finish a report, or could you just take a book to bed and catch an early night? The reality of it is, we set all these expectations for how we think we should live, perform, care, clean, organize… And we end up should-ing all over ourselves. I’ve struggled with this a LONG time! I still occasionally catch myself and think “It’s ok, enjoy that bath… Put down the laptop and read the last chapter of your book, you know you want to!”. It’s absolutely normal to not feel/act/think at our best all the time. We’re allowed to take breaks…and we need them!

4-Communicate + Ask for Help

As much as we think we know everything with the digital age, people aren’t yet mind readers. It’s ok to tell the people involved (or at least your loved ones) how you’re feeling about a situation. It’s not about blaming or passing the buck; it’s about being honest with yourself and those you love. No (wo)man is an island, so be brave and ask for help, even if it’s a small thing.  Bosses can understand negotiating deadlines. Children can understand waiting an hour for help with their homework. Don’t assume people know what’s going on with you and don’t assume you know their ability to help (or take a load off your plate).

Here Are 3 Signs You Need To Ask For Help.

5-Give Yourself Care

If you accidentally cut yourself or get even just a paper cut, you tend to it, right? You rinse it in cold water and either rub balm if it’s small, or get stitches if it’s deep. Overwhelm is a form of emotional injury – it can be small or great, but you probably still want to tend to it! Mental and emotional health are as important as physical health…because they’re all connected! Ask yourself what you need to feel better and give yourself that care. Others will also show more respect for your needs when they see that you set care standards for yourself…but that’s just gravy!

How do you deal with overwhelm and regain peace?