Feeling stressed out and overwhelmed? You are not alone. Millions of Americans have reached unhealthy levels of stress. I recently researched a lot about this topic since I struggle with it in my own life from time to time. I learned how the effects of feeling overwhelmed and stress has such negative effects on our health. It weakens our immune system and can contribute to high blood pressure, heart attacks, anxiety, and more.
Did you ever sit down with your planner on a Sunday night to set up your week and just feel like there is more and more to do every week and fewer hours to get it all done? It makes you feel like no matter how much you do and how many hours you seem to be working, nothing seems to ever get done? I can relate, I’ve been there too. That’s where that feeling of being suffocated and overwhelmed starts to creep in.
I was sitting in my home office early Sunday evening about 2 weeks ago, looking at my calendar and writing down the most important things I had to get done the next day. A few minutes into it I got an urgent email from a client who wanted to meet me the next day that I had to respond to. About ten minutes later my daughter popped her head in the room to remind me we had to go for alterations on her prom dress Tuesday night at 5 pm right before my weekly 7 pm training meeting, and simultaneously I get a text from a business associate to confirm plans for an early dinner Thursday, that I had promised her I would do the week prior.
When I finished moving everything around I finally figured out how to fit it all in I got up to pour a glass of wine and chill on the couch. Ten minutes later my husband stars telling me about 5 or 10 things I had to do at the office by the end of the week that we had pending. At this point I had no intention of addressing any of this.
I smiled and continued to watch an episode of ‘A Person of Interest’ and I chilled out for about an hour before I decided to go to bed. Unfortunately I tossed and turned, slept on and off until 3 am or so until I gave up and went downstairs. I scrolled through social media and read a ton of emails until the sun came up. As you could imagine, I was dragging my ass all day Monday and it wasn’t one of my most productive days.
I’m sharing this craziness with you because we all deal with it in some way. The good news is that we are totally in control. Which is what kept me from throwing in the towel for the week. You can take a step back whenever you need to decompress so you can come back refreshed and get back to where you left off. The key is to remember that when you are amidst the chaos of the moment.
Here are 5 simple things you can do to overcome feeling overwhelmed:
1. Take a deep breath – Just completely stop what you are doing. Take a nap if you are exhausted, go to the gym and workout for 30 minutes if you need more energy. If you meditate, close your door and meditate for 10 – 15 minutes so you can relax and clear your mind so you can begin to think clearly.
2. Write down your NOT to – do list – Instead of staring at your list of things to do, make a list of the things you are NOT going to do also. I read that a few weeks ago and as soon as I started to do it, I felt so much better. I wrote down that I wouldn’t read all my emails until after lunch and I wouldn’t say yes to more then 2 events that week.
3. Call a friend – Just pick up the phone and call a friend who will give you an honest opinion and you know has your best interest at heart and cares about you. It can be a business associate, or anyone you know cares and wants to help you. Someone who you really trust. Go to lunch or happy hour and just talk. If you are out with the right person you will feel so much better.
4. Stop trying to do everything – You have to learn to delegate. I’m pretty sure there are things on your list someone can also do, and as long as it gets done who cares who gets the credit for doing it? If you believe you are the only one who can do it, and you do it better then everyone else, get over yourself. There will always be someone out there you can train that can wind up doing it even better then you. Put your ego aside for the sake of your own sanity.
5. Just say no – You can’t be everywhere everyone wants you to be. Pick and choose wisely who you are going to spend time with and what events you are going to commit to. Saying yes to everything just to make other people happy doesn’t work. I would literally have an event or 2 a day if I said yes to every invite I get. Think about what it will do for you and your business before you decide to say yes. If it doesn’t serve you let it go.
Much of our stress and that overwhelmed feeling we get that sometimes takes our breath away, is perpetuated by us and what we say to ourselves. Then those thoughts can effect our actions. Trying to do it all is never the solution. If you can implement these practices it will alleviate some stress and can enhance your overall well-being. Believe it or not, you will ultimately do a little bit less while actually being more productive!