We live in a world where speed is of the essence, everyone wants everything yesterday and slowing down is often seen as a sign of weakness.
Overwhelmed and overloaded: What to do when it strikes and how to kick it into touch…
Yet sometimes, it really is too much – you’re rushing from pillar to post, trying please everyone, you don’t know where to begin and you feel utterly miserable.
Overwhelm strikes us all from time to time, the trick is dealing with it as soon as it hits you, pressing the reset button and starting again refreshed and energised. If you run your own business, I appreciate this isn’t always the easy but sometimes stepping away from it, if only for a little while, is truly the best thing you can do.
Here are ten overloaded quick tactics you can employ to help you recover quickly and get back to what you love doing:
I can feel the eye rolls already! Yes, by all means go for a run or smash out a hardcore HIIT class if that floats your boat, but exercise doesn’t have to mean going all in. A gentle stroll in the countryside or by the beach might be all it takes in the middle of the day to separate out a stressful morning from a productive afternoon.
2. Take an emotional rest
By this I mean lose yourself in a good book for an hour or go see a cinema blockbuster, something that has absolutely nothing at all to do with your day job. Whatever it is, find something utterly engrossing – it gives you a much-needed break and helps you put your own problems into perspective.
3. Have a good bitch
I’m not sure this is top of the list of official ways to combat overwhelm and overload but it’s certainly on mine. I’ll always phone my best friend when things are tough and likewise, she’ll do the same with me. We are each other’s emotional salve and a way of letting off a little steam. After a good chat with her I always feel a lot better and able to cope with the day.
Yeah yeah, I know we’ve all heard the opposite – procrastination is the devil’s friend, you’ll never get anything done, you’re doomed. But I’m actively telling you to procrastinate. Sometimes, sitting around doing sod all and chewing over a problem can give you time to come up with a sensible and workable solution that would never have crossed your mind otherwise.
5. Have a nap
What an absolute waste of time. But as a 40-something, mother-of-three and business owner I now realise just how right they were. A quick power nap can reset a shitty frame of mind and make everything seem that little bit sunnier.
Pretty much every small business owner I know is guilty of NOT doing this, me included but it’s so much better when you bite the bullet and get someone else on board. I spent years fannying about with SEO doing okay but not great. I finally took the plunge and got a professional on it. He’s achieved more in six months than I’d achieve in six years and lifted a lot of stress from my shoulders in the process.
7. Keep a tidy workspace
I’m not gonna lie, I was messy as hell when I was younger. I’m sure my mother will back me up on that one to anyone who wants to listen…But I’ve come to realise a tidy workspace equals a tidy mind. I feel much better equipped to get through my tasks if everything is in its rightful place.
8. Take a deep breath
Slowing your breathing, really concentrating on the inhale and exhale can slow your heart and your mind. This is actually backed up by science – deep breathing increases oxygen to your brain which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and promotes calmness.
9. Switch to herbal tea
I like a good cup of tea or coffee as much as the next person but if I drink too much, I get all jittery and my anxiety goes through the roof. Half the time it’s habit anyway and I’ve found switching to herbal varieties still gives me something to do with my hands but also helps soothe my mind. Pukka teas are among my favourites but if you’re looking for some truly unique blends try MD Tea whose infusions are simply divine.
10. Learn to say no
Overwhelm is often a result of overcommitment but there’s no shame in saying no. Hard though it is when you really want to please your boss or impress a client, declining an invite or not doing something can actually be better in the long run. You set boundaries which gives you a better work/life balance and less chance of feeling like you’ve taken on too much.
Remember it’s natural to feel overwhelmed at times. We all feel pressure from responsibilities, life, lack of time and too many commitments but it’s how you deal with it that matters. Use these tips above to help you get through it and come out the other side a little calmer and relaxed.
Written by Fay Millar – Gingerbread World