The world we live in is FAST! Now more than ever we’re expected to do more, be more and handle more. The notion of work life balance seems to be purely a concept rather than a reality and many of us beat ourselves up if we feel we’re not doing enough. I for one can struggle with feelings of massive overwhelm (partly because of being highly sensitive – a topic I’ll cover in a future post). Sometimes I am juggling all this stuff in my head – coping with a heavy workload, being the best therapist I can for my clients, spending enough time with friends and family, keeping up with what’s going on on facebook and my various what’s app groups and also having time to do the washing, book a haircut or dentist appointment and go to the gym. There is always something else to do! It can feel like we’re on this endless hamster wheel and it’s no wonder an unprecedented number of people suffer from stress, burnout and physical manifestations of these such as always being run down, difficulties sleeping, persistent colds, headaches and even chronic fatigue.
So, what can we do to a) handle the feelings of overwhelm and b) manage the resulting symptoms?
- Get organized! Write yourself a list of what needs doing then prioritize the first 3 and focus on those.
- SLOW down. Do one thing at a time. Really focus your attention on the task in hand instead of racing ahead in your mind to the next.
- Don’t strive for perfection – this is such a dangerous attitude and will only result in disappointment and self flagellation. Instead, feel content with doing your best. Not always easy but something to start practicing.
- During an overwhelm attack stop, breath and ask yourself – ‘What do I need right now?’ It may be a break, a cup of tea, to talk to someone about whatever you’re overwhelmed about.
- Ask for help – people like to be useful!
- Write down your personal signs and symptoms of overwhelm and see what you can do to start managing them – e.g if you have trouble sleeping, listen to a relaxation at night or avoid caffeine after lunchtime. Take responsibility for your own well being.
- Make time to just be. Down time is SO important and shouldn’t just be for holidays – (see post on self care.).
Start making small changes and big ones will follow.