For a whole host of different reasons that I won't go into now, I have found myself regularly feeling moments of being overwhelmed. It does not feel nice and it makes me feel powerless - which I hate.
The beauty of feeling this way on a regular basis is that it has given me the advantage of finding activities that help alleviate the difficulties associated with feeling overwhelmed. It's not a cure all, but it does help, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.
It suddenly occured to me that perhaps other peole might be feeling the same, so with that in mind, I would like to share the things that help me with you.
Stepping away from the day
I mentally call time on the day. I give myself permission to 'forget this day and all I have to do'. I am releasing myself from the responsibility of the 'musts' and the 'have got to's' and starting again tomorrow.
Take a break
Now for me, this is very different to stepping away - this usually looks like a more traditional time out activity, like reading a book, zoning out on some guilty pleasure TV or just a bit of daydreaming. It can literally be whatever a break looks like for you. It could even be physically removing yourself and taking a walk, even if it's just around the block.
Yes, this could be the gym or a run, but for me I find that takes a lot of motivation and when I am feeling overwhelmed I seriously lack motivation. Running up and down the stairs gives me a little feel good boost or taking the stairs two at a time. Sticking on some music and dancing around. Checking out some short beginners videos on Youtube is also great - I did a 5 minute introduction to Belly Dancing the other day, it was fun and it really made me laugh, which when I consider how I was feeling that day, was worth its weight in gold.
My happy place
Yes I went there, for me it was a trip down memory lane, to a day that I consider to be one of the best. I am nine years old, it's a beautiful sunny day, I come home from school to a new bike - a Grifter no less ( if you know, then you'll know how good that was!) It didn't stop there, we had fish and chips for dinner and then to top it off, it was the school disco in the evening. For me, that day was one of the best and going back and emotionally bathing in that happiness when I need it, gives me a little bit of something that I can't quite explain, but it makes me feel good.
For me taking a nap is a winner. The ulitmate zone out. Curling up on the sofa with the full intention of escaping the thoughts and feelings going around and around with no begining or end. Yes, a nap is good, but not good if I nap for too long, I find 20 - 30 minutes is just perfect.
Getting and staying hydrated has the ability to very quickly, have a marked improvement on how I feel. Drinking warm water with lemon, calms me and makes me feel good - not by a vast amount, but enough to make a difference. I usually drink warm water with lemon first thing, but when I'm feeling overwhelmed I fill the kettle and make sure I have it on tap throughout the day.
Clear some space
I have always found a great amount of feeling good for me comes via doing the housework. Nothing beats the feeling [you get] when it's done and wow does it improve my ability to function through a tough day, especially when the perfection residue of a big tidy up is still there!
When a big tidy up is slightly more elusive, this seriously impacts my feelings of overwhelm. It's like the cherry on top of the icing on the cake - not only am I feeling like this, but great, my place is also a complete mess.
Finding motivation, when all feels lost can not only be difficult, but can seem impossible. At times like this, I have found doing a small space really helps - a drawer, my handbag, even a clear out of the reciepts in my purse helps.
What I find particulaily helpful, is even just clearing a work top in the kitchen, i find the clear space reassuring and I see things differently. It offers perspective and quite often it creates a contagious effort, in that I will move on to something else to clear.
I have found this to be the most helpful thing I can do, as generally when I am feeling overwhelmed, I am irittable and this impacts upon my interactions with the people around me.
I have found, saying 'I am feeling overwhelmed' to be incredible freeing, it's a release, it eases that coiled spring feeling that I can find myself walking around with. I also like the sense of being in touch with my emotions that verbalising how I am feeling gives me. It also gives others the insight to understand that it's the situation/ feelings being experienced and not the person being difficult.
Telling someone also creates opportunity for physical support or delegation if your overwhelm is as a result of having lots of things to do.
Give yourself comfort and show yourself kindness. My self compassion generally looks like talking to myself in the third person, acknowleding my acomplishments and the skills/ attributes that I possess. Giving permission to take and do whatever I need to get through.
I like to also physically show kindness by doing something nice for myself, it could be simple like giving myself a really nice long hand massage with some gorgeous hand cream.
Self compassion is the ultimate self love and kindness and if you do nothing else try and do this, even just a little.