Ever look at your calendar and recoil at the many many plans? Even when the plans are fun, exciting, amazing things – having so many can feel overwhelming.
This happened to me recently. I had a lot of awesome things in the pipeline; work events, blog events and personal events. Each area of my life was tugging at my sleeve, demanding attention.
And just like an exhausted mother, I stood, glued to the spot, unsure of which way to turn or what to do.
Times like these can bring on stress, anxiety and general feelings of ‘I would like to stay under my duvet all day please’. Throw excitement and a healthy dose of nerves into the mix and you quickly become a melting pot of emotions.
When this happened to me, I took action. I listened to myself and took precautions to stop that melting pot from boiling over.
How to cope with overwhelm
First things first, take a breath. Recognise that this busy period is temporary and that you ultimately have control over how fast or slow you live your life. Your health comes first.
It comes above your job, above what other people think and above that negative voice in your head telling you you aren’t good enough. Tell that voice to fuck off and sit down with your diary/calendar and something to write with.
Are there any plans you don’t want to do?
OK, we all have to do things we don’t want to sometimes, but is there anything on your list you could actually just… pull out of? Maybe you pencilled in dinner with work colleagues but now there’s so much going on you would love that evening free for downtime. Tell them. Explain the situation.
This exact scenario happened to me, and they totally understood. No one’s going to disown you for backing out of one dinner, and if they do? Probably best they’re not in your life to be honest.
Schedule self-care and down time
This was essential for me. I was driving to work one morning and had that feeling of ‘dread’, something I have never really felt before about work. When I got to my desk I looked at my calendar and realised why, I had a lot going on in work and outside of work.
I then promptly looked at how many holiday days I had taken so far this year – and it wasn’t many. So I booked some days off around the events I had coming up so I knew I would have some downtime.
Scheduling downtime or ‘self-care days’ may seem a little indulgent, but when you’ve got a lot going on, trust me, keeping certain days or even evenings free to relax can help you cope.
Plan your plans
Can you tell I love a bit of organisation/planning? When I say ‘plan your plans’, what I mean is plan the logistics. Knowing I had so many events coming up and not being sure of how/when I would travel etc. was not fun. So I sat down and wrote a plan of where I would go, when I would go, and how I would go. Having it written in black and white makes it feel more manageable.
Be kind to yourself if/when routines go out the window
At first I felt bad I wasn’t getting to go to the gym or do yoga, but I soon saw sense and realised what I needed was to not be tied to a routine. Be kind to yourself, you’re not a bad person if your routine gets messed up for a couple of weeks. You can come back to it when things calm down.
Just a few ideas there that helped me, they may not work for everyone, but worth exploring at least. Do you have any other advice? Please let me know in the comments!
In my first audio course, you’ll learn everything I know about overcoming overwhelm. With lessons on self-awareness work and practical techniques, you’ll come away with your own overwhelm action plan
The course is hosted on Listenable, a platform with lots of audio courses to explore – you can start with a free 7 day trial and then if you decide to continue, it’s $7.50 per month.
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