The first step to getting out of OVERWHELM

managing overwhelm role model Oct 27, 2022
The first step to getting out of OVERWHELM

When I ask my clients what top feelings they experience most often, “overwhelmed” is almost always on the list.  Given all the activities and school work for our kids added to our own responsibilities — as well as emotionally supporting our kids in navigating today’s social landscape — it’s no wonder that parents are overwhelmed!

I was having a discussion with a client recently.  She mentioned that she had recommended me to a close friend, but her friend was so overwhelmed with everything going on in her life that she couldn’t imagine adding one more thing — even getting help!  Can you relate? 

Unfortunately, this line of thinking will not support you.  Thinking that you have to get more done on your list so you can stop feeling overwhelmed and have time to get help, will actually keep you stuck in the tornado of overwhelm.

The problem with overwhelm is that it shuts us down, leaves us flustered, and we are unable to effectively get things done.  Our minds are like pinball machines with our thoughts pinging around all over the place.  We make mistakes, we forget things, and we run behind making apologies to everyone that gets caught in our personal tornado.

If you’re like I was, you think the key to getting out of overwhelm is to get more done — because if your list wasn’t so long then you wouldn’t be overwhelmed (or so you think).  You try different planners, organizers, and routines.  You read books and try to imitate friends that seem to have been born with an organized gene that you simply didn’t inherit.   

But if the planners and the organizers and the routines worked, then parents wouldn’t be telling me that their top emotion is overwhelm — and they wouldn’t need to hire a coach to figure out how to get out of it.

Because overwhelm doesn’t have anything to do with getting things done on your list — it has everything to do with how you are thinking.

I invite you to review all of the thoughts that you have when you’re overwhelmed.

Here was my list:

  • I have too much to do.
  • I’m so far behind.
  • My list never ends.
  • I don’t know how I’m going to get it all done.
  • I don’t know if I can handle this.

Just reading this gives me a tight feeling in my chest!
How about you?

One of the most important things to know about your brain when it comes to overwhelm is that your brain wants to prove your thoughts true more than it wants you to get things done, and it takes your words and thoughts very literally.  So when you think you have too much to do and you’re so behind, your brain will look for more things to add to your to-do list and reasons for you to be behind.  

Since you already stated “I don’t know how I’m going to get everything done”, your brain has stopped looking for solutions to get things done or come up with ways to handle it because you already told yourself I don’t know how.  This is why you shut down and can’t get out of the tornado of overwhelm.

The first step to getting out of overwhelm is to stop TELLING yourself how overwhelmed you are, and start ASKING yourself how you can best get things done.

Here’s what that might look like:

  • What exactly has to be done today?
  • What do I need to do first?
  • How can I best get through this list?
  • How can I support myself as I get things done?

Our brains are wired to answer any questions that we ask.  The key is to start asking better questions.

Are you stuck in the tornado of overwhelm, feeling like you have too much on your plate and no time to get help?  That’s actually when you need help the most.  Click here to line up a complimentary call to see how I can help - or just book a single session to find out what’s been keeping you stuck in the overwhelm tornado and leave with a solid plan to get out.

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