Stop the world! A rough guide to dealing with overwhelm

by | 26 Jan 2016 | Change

Ever get that feeling? Where you wish everything and everybody would just go away and leave you alone for a while? Or maybe that’s just me and how I’m feeling at the moment!

I’ve got lots of really interesting, exciting, stimulating projects I want to get on with – for once I have clarity, motivation, commitment, support; everything’s all lined up. I’d planned the time, I’ve been honing saying ‘no’, I’ve been trying to see to my needs first, but recent events have made it clear I’ve still a long way to go on mastering these skills.

It feels like everyone and everything around me has sensed the focus of my attention has changed and so have come clamouring after me with a rush of demands to claim me back – daughters, clients, friends, family, finance, paperwork and bureaucracy – you name it, it’s all tried to have a piece of me in the last few days.

My precious carved out time has disappeared in a puff of other people’s crises and I’m left feeling irritable, resentful, martyred and slightly panicky that there’s no way it can all fit now.

So what am I doing to slow down time and get myself back on track?

It takes a tussle between my panicked self and my inner wisdom in the first instance, because the first step is counter-intuitive – to stop, step away and stop ‘doing’, just for a few minutes. To breathe deeply, move from being in my head, to being aware of my body. I find having a really mindful shower, or going for a short mindful walk are great ways to start to get a grip again.

Then I ask myself ‘what’s most important to me in this, in the depths of my being, rather in my shallower “I should” state of mind’. And if that’s feeling hard to access, then I’ll check what specific things are weighing me down most – making me most guilty and anxious. Those are the things I’ll take a deep breath and face into first because otherwise they taint everything and the energy release that comes from the relief of getting them sorted helps me sail through other tasks. Then I come back to my ‘what’s most important to me here’ question, because I find that also helps me let go of perfectionism and go with ‘good enough’.

Which is what I’m doing now – because, although far from perfect, this blog post is good enough.

I’d like to write something longer, more elegant, crafted and considered, but there are another dozen tasks that still matter to me to get done before the end of the day!

So I’ll leave it here, but would love to know your own tips for those days when you wish the world would stop to allow you to get back on top of expectations?




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