What OVERWHELM is really costing you...

managing overwhelm parenting tips Nov 03, 2022
How to get out of overwhelm

Is overwhelm as much a problem for you as it is for the parents I work with?  My clients tell me they’re tapped out, at the end of their rope, and it feels like one more straw will break the camel’s back.  They are struggling to keep up with everything — homework, activities, the emotional ups and downs — and it’s all so overwhelming.

Please know that I have walked in your shoes and I totally understand.  I remember the tightness and pressure in my chest, and the heaviness I carried throughout my whole body.  I remember questioning whether I could handle it all, and feeling like one more thing was going to break me.  I remember thinking I would scream if one more person asked me to do something (including my kids).

Last week I shared the first step to getting out of overwhelm, and how it’s not getting more organized or getting things done.  I know from first-hand knowledge that having someone tell you that it’s your thoughts that are keeping you stuck in the tornado of overwhelm, and not the long list of things you need to do, can be hard to comprehend.  It can make you angry.  I remember arguing with my own coach at the time, making a case for how long my list was, and how I just needed to get more done so I wouldn’t be as overwhelmed.

With the help of my coach, I was finally able to see the true paradox of overwhelm.  When we think our list is long, we have too much on our shoulders, and we don’t know how we are going to do it all — we get stuck in the tornado of overwhelm. But when we are feeling overwhelmed, we either completely shut down, or it makes us so flustered and scattered that we have a much harder time getting things done.  

We tend to get overwhelmed at the times that we need to get the most done, but when we are overwhelmed we are least effective and get the least done.

But just knowing that doesn’t typically inspire people to action.  Most people are too deep in the tornado of overwhelm that they can’t fathom the thought of adding one more thing to their list, even the one thing that can help.

Typically I have to help my clients see what being stuck in overwhelm is really costing them to get out of the tornado — because it affects far more than getting things done on your list.  Let’s take a look at how overwhelm can affect every area of your life.

You have a long list of things to do.
Because you’re overwhelmed you have a hard time figuring out what to do first.
You might start one thing, but then you get distracted so you don’t finish anything.
When your kids ask you to help them or play with them, your first thought is that you can’t because you have too many things to get done.
When you’re with your kids you think about all of the other work that you need to do. So you’re not truly present and enjoying the time that you are spending with your kids.
You’re short-tempered and reactive.
You spend a lot of time telling yourself that you’re not organized enough, and if you could just get your sh*t together and get more done then you would feel better.

You’re not as patient, you’re not as kind, you’re not enjoying your time with your kids, and you’re not very fun to be around in general.  And there seems to be no end in sight because you can’t get stuff done on your list which keeps you always on edge.

I make this list as long as possible for my clients.  We dig out every single area that overwhelm is affecting and what it’s really costing them in their lives. Why?  Because our brains are wired to avoid pain.  You are more likely to take that first step towards change when you see how much pain something brings you than you would for the benefits.

So I invite you to make your own list.  Which of the statements above resonated most with you?  Where else is overwhelm affecting your life, and what is it costing you?  Make that list as long as possible, then go back and read last week’s article on the first step to getting out of overwhelm.

And if you’re too deep 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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