Do you ever get overwhelmed with life? Silly question, because I know we all do. But sometimes, life gets a little out of hand and it seems like we have a million things coming our way. It starts feeling like we are playing adult real-life dodgeball. Dodging bills, flat tires, angry bosses, injuries… you name it! So life feels overwhelming, what are the best ways to get through the rush?
Let’s break it down.
1. Focus On The Task At Hand
I learned this method from my training and like to apply it to other parts of my life. In a workout, right when your body is starting to feel the pain and you still have a long way to go, it can feel impossible to carry on. Your mind starts racing and doubts start creeping in. One of the best ways to stay “checked in” is to tell yourself to focus on the task at hand. If you are on deadlifts, focus on completing all of those deadlifts. Don’t start thinking about the 400-meter run you have to do, or the 30 box jumps that are coming up next. Stay present on the deadlifts, breath, and focus on moving well. When you are done with deadlifts, then you move on to the next task, box jumps. Focus on the box jumps and only the box jumps. When you are box jumping, focus on each box jump one at a time. Breaking it down into small manageable tasks instead of thinking about the million things you need to do makes the entire workout less intimidating and more manageable.
This technique can be applied to everyday life as well.
Did you know that only 2 percent of us can multitask effectively? You might think, “ I am for sure part of that 2%” Well, not to burst your bubble but you are probably not part of that 2%. Sorrrryyyyyy.
Knowing this, set yourself up for success and help yourself focus on whatever task you need to accomplish. When we are trying to complete a task we try to anticipate or think ahead. It can be useful to anticipate and think ahead, but when you need to be focusing on a specific task. For example, if you are working on a school assignment, don’t think about editing your presentation while you are writing it. So often we are doing tasks, while we are answering message on Slack, Teams, Gmail, WhatsApp, while also paying our phone bill, while replying to our friends text about how she totally embarrassed herself at the grocery store and then you forget that you need to get oat milk and then you have up stop to get gas but first have to pay the water bill… but wait. What were you doing right now? Oh right! Finishing that school presentation. Yeah… was that chaotic or what? Half the time we think of all the things we need to do we never actually get anything done or it is not done well.
How can you practice focusing on one thing at a time? Try it when you are doing smaller tasks. Like washing dishes, showering, talking to a friend ( no texting while you are spending time with them!). Focus on what task you are doing in the moment without trying to do 5 other things at the same time. This will help build your ability to focus and give you peace of mind.
2. It’s Just A Season
Change is inevitable, but dang! Why does it have to be so darn hard?! Whether it's a good change or not-so-great change, there is always an adjustment period. A lot of the time, this adjustment period can feel like it lasts forever. When it gets particularly difficult to adjust to change and you feel like you are deep deep in it, remember that it is just a season. For better or worse, nothing lasts forever. What do we do when the seasons change? In winter when it gets cold, what do we do? We grab the coziest blankets and our warm winter coats. What do we do when it is summer and it gets hot outside? We look for shade, head to the water. The point being, we adjust to the changes and we look for tools to help us adjust to that change.
3. Lean On Your Tribe
Speaking of getting help, one of the best ways to battle overwhelm is by surrounding yourself with a solid crew. Often we feel like we are alone when life gets hectic. It can be easy to withdraw, but trust me, when life gets out of hand that's when you need to ask for help. That’s when you lean on your tribe. If it’s asking for help cleaning your place, asking someone to take the kids for an afternoon. Additionally, if you notice someone from your tribe is struggling, one of the best things you can do is tell them that you are there for them and ask them, “ What do you need from me?” Having people to share life's load, is so so valuable.
4. One Day At A Time
This one is my favorite. Do you ever make a list of all the things you need to do? Be it in a day, a week, a month, or even a year? Sometimes thinking about EVERYTHING that needs to be done can be extremely overwhelming. It can be so overwhelming that it can cause anxiety and it can feel so suffocating that you end up doing nothing at all. First, try breaking down your list. Write down important dates on your calendar, but just focus on what you need to get done today. Try breaking down your to-do list into “ What I have to do today” and “What I can do today.” That way you're not discouraged or overwhelmed when you write down all these tasks but don’t get most of them done. Focus on what you “have to do “ today and then if you get the chance tackle what you “can do.” Remember, we live one day at a time. When we try to live a week in one day, that inevitably leaves us depleted and burnt out. Take it one day at a time. One moment at a time. This makes life a lot less scary and way more manageable.
These are just a few tips I find useful, but there are many more!
Journaling, meditating, calendars, planners, apps…. There are a bunch of tools and resources that can help us battle overwhelm.
If you have any tips you have found useful, feel free to share!