When you feel overwhelmed its hard to do anything. You can feel panicky and like the world is shrinking around you. When I first started as a Virtual Assistant and realised how much I didn’t know and what I needed to do to make my business successful, I felt so alone, so overwhelmed with everything I had to do, that I procrastinated, made up reasons for not doing anything and started to feel like a failure. Luckily that period in my life didn’t last too long, but even now, when I have a lot of work to get done in a limited amount of time I can get overwhelmed quite quickly.
It’s not easy to banish the overwhelm, but it can be done and here are 10 of my tips on how to do it
Spend some time with a meditation audio and banish any thoughts from you brain. Spend as long as you need, relaxing and tuning into your body. This will help you refocus and come back in a different mindset.
This is similar to the meditation. It takes you away from the problem at hand, and if you’re anything like me, running needs all my attention, so I have to forget the issue for the time I’m exercising! It also releases endorphins, which help you feel good, so you come back refreshed and re-motivated to challenge the problem head-on.
Join networks of like-minded people
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with something, go to your forum, your Facebook group etc and share some of what you are feeling. There will be others out there with a different viewpoint and be able to help you look at it from a different perspective. Networks are there to support you and for you to support them, so why not use the facility when you need to…. just remember to also give back to others when they’re in a similar situation.
Create a realistic plan and stick to it
If you write down everything you need to do and then create an action plan to get them completed, you will be able to see blocks of work, rather than just the sheer number of tasks that you have in place. Review the plan regularly to make sure you are staying on track and don’t forget to review progress, so you can congratulate yourself on what you’ve already achieved.
Take a few deep breaths
This will calm the brain, and according to Gay Hendricks in the Big Leap, the difference between fear and excitement is breathing. Apparently, you hold your breath when you are afraid, so breath and you will feel excited about your tasks rather than overwhelmed! I find that a few deep breaths make me relax. I can then think more logically about my priorities
Ask for help
If you have too much on, then don’t be scared of asking for help. This may be from your peers, your mentor, but it could also be friends and family. Ask them to help you with personal stuff, so that you can concentrate on building your business. You’ll be surprised at how someone else cooking dinner just gives you that extra hour of time to get your stuff done
Create a list of achievements
Look at what you’ve already achieved. You’ll be surprised with the progress. Having this time to reflect gives your brain some space and freedom to compute everything that needs doing and to prioritise the tasks. You’ll come back fighting!
Take some time out
This is similar to the exercise tip in number 2. Just walk away from it all for a bit. Go for a walk, give the dog a cuddle, tend to your sheep…. (okay, so I don’t have sheep)! Whatever you need to do to take your focus off the amount of work you have, just for a short period of time. Again, it gives you brain some time out to mull on the problem and to create a positive solution. It’s a clever thing, your brain!
Writing down how you feel, gives you the time to really reflect on why you’re feeling overwhelmed. It allows you time to process the feelings and identify ways to resolve the problem.
Setting your goals enables you to also set your priorities. It allows you to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. From there, you can look at what stuff you think you should be doing, but actually isn’t going to contribute to your goals. These are the things you should stop doing, unless they are supporting your health and wellbeing …. Which are non-negotiables!
Hope these 10 tips help you understand how to manage your overwhelm. Know that you’ve got this. Do you have any pointers that we could add to this list? If so, please leave a comment below
If you’ve enjoyed this article, then please feel free to have a nose around the rest. In particular, if you are just setting up your business, this might be of interest 10 ways to overcome imposter syndrome
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