It’s a new year, a new time, and a new chapter, and now all those “things” you need to get done and achieved are creeping up on you. Your mind is racing with the words “I have so much to do and so little time!”
Well, congratulations, my dear: You are overwhelmed.
“Overwhelmed” is a feeling that we’ve all experienced at some point. It’s a sense of being buried under too much work or stress and feeling like we can’t keep up. It can be physically, emotionally, and cognitively draining and can interfere with our ability to function effectively. You know, that point where you spend hours worrying about doing the thing that will take you 10 minutes.
So, what does it feel like to be overwhelmed? Physical symptoms might include fatigue, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, and physical tension or pain. Emotionally, we might feel anxious, irritable, or depressed. Cognitively, we might have trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things.
And sometimes it can look like that short fuse exploding when you yell at a puppy for your latte not being hot enough. We know it doesn’t make any sense, but we’ve all been there.
There are many potential causes of being overwhelmed. Some common ones include having too much work or responsibilities, lacking control or decision-making power, facing unclear expectations or goals, being a perfectionist, not having enough support or resources, and dealing with personal issues or external stressors.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to take care of yourself. This might mean taking a break and practicing self-care, such as exercising, meditating, or engaging in a hobby. It’s also helpful to break tasks down into smaller, manageable steps and to prioritize and delegate tasks when possible. Setting boundaries and learning to say no can also be useful in preventing overwhelm. Seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist can also be helpful. And sometimes it might even be as simple as taking a break from your routine and doing something completely unrelated.
Another strategy for overcoming being overwhelmed is to practice mindfulness and stay present in the moment. This can help us to focus on what’s most important and to let go of unnecessary worries.
It’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and that everyone experiences it at some point. If you’re struggling to manage your feelings of overwhelm, don’t hesitate to seek help. A therapist or counselor can provide support and guidance in finding healthy ways to cope. Or better yet, go apologize and play with that puppy for a few hours.
My doctor reminded me recently that we are human beings, not human doings. So, make sure you are making time to ‘be’ and not just ‘do’.
Being overwhelmed is a common and understandable feeling that can have physical, emotional, and cognitive effects on all of us. By taking breaks, breaking tasks down, prioritizing and delegating, setting boundaries, seeking support, and practicing mindfulness, we can learn to manage and overcome feelings of overwhelm.
And if you are really stuck, shift your focus and get overwhelmed by something equally as important… like a good erotic novel or an epic buffet.