Got a Scary Amount of Overwhelm?

It’s the season of ghosts and ghouls, and New York City really knows how to deck out with some festive decorations that can both make you jump with delight and also give you a bit of a fright! (Some of the decorations around town are very very spooky 👻.)
Know what else can be pretty scary? Overwhelm.
A form of fear, overwhelm can really stop you in your tracks and make even simple decisions seem impossible. You know decision fatigue has really set in when choosing what to eat for lunch or dinner feels like climbing a mountain!
My client, let’s call her Rachel, was recently in exactly this spot. Between work, work drama, home, and extended family obligations, she was completely overwhelmed and overwrought. Overwhelm came accompanied by a dark cloud, which promptly settled in over her head. So in addition to having too much going on, her mood was in the gutter, and her energy level tanked along with it.
Classic hamster wheel situation. That’s certainly how she felt, running in a circle, getting nowhere, becoming grumpier and grumpier in short order. Can you relate?
Here’s what we did to help Rachel get back on track:
  1. Of course we looked at all her endless to-do lists, and prioritized. We were able to identify and eliminate the time and energy-wasting non-urgent items.
  2. We broke down her big and most important projects into manageable bits and made a road map for how to accomplish them. Overwhelm managed!
  3. We worked up strategies to deal with the office politics and gamesmanship, including ways to extricate herself from situations in which her participation was not needed. 
  4. We found opportunities and cultivated language for her to ask for more help. Instead of handling every single home and family decision on her own, she enrolled her partner, child and extended family in some of the decision making and actual work of making their lives run.
  5. And perhaps most importantly, we found a way to bring more lightness and beauty into her life. For Rachel, this was picking up some inexpensive flowers once a week to brighten up her desk and kitchen, and by extension – her mood.
When we’re on a sprint, these little mood uppers get easily scrapped, but these seemingly small things can have a huge impact in stamping out our grumpiness factor, and uplifting our ability to think and make decisions with clarity and ease. I’ve written on the importance of Mood Uppers before, click here for more on that!
When working with overwhelm, it’s important to take control over the things–tasks, projects, to do lists, etc–that have taken US over and are ruling our lives and time. Also key? How big an impact “I will just do it” behavior can have on us. Do you struggle with this? Where it’s easier for you to just handle stuff instead of getting others to participate? Please hit reply and let me know! I would love to share more tools on this if it’s something you’re struggling with. Hope this helps with taking down the fear and intensity of overwhelm!
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