When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed


Feeling overwhelmed is common for many in our age of speed today. The pace, ambiguity and relentlessness of work can create a high level of stress. Every day has problems which need to be addressed.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, it is hard to function. Here are some things which you can do when life hits you hard:

  • Control your environment. Have you ever noticed the feeling of freedom and clarity you have when you clean a room? You are exerting control on your immediate environment, and this in turn produces clarity. If your work is calling and you are trudging along, try stepping away and clean your desk, throw away things and order your systems. Psychologically, this is an immense boost to help you get control back. Furthermore, you can see things from a different perspective.
  • Do small things first. Tackling the biggest, most complex task is not always the best. Instead, build momentum by doing small tasks. Keep your inbox to zero. Knock out the small tasks on your lists. It will give you further control and create the momentum you need. Always keep moving. If you are stumped in one area, simply shift to something else. Feeling overwhelmed is psychological, thus manage your psychology by getting small wins for confidence, enthusiasm and getting done what you need to do anyways.
  • Read a book. It is never a waste of time to read. Biographies, business books and productivity reading can move your mind to a place of empowerment. When you read, the thoughts become yours. It reshapes your perspective, attitude and convictions. These are all important for growing as a person and facing challenges. Having a book going and ready to pick up when you feel overwhelmed changes your mindset and when you come back to the big things, you will face them with a renewed outlook. If you need some suggestions, check out my bookshelf.
  • Go for a walk or run. Exercise pumps endorphins through your body and changes your psychological state. When I go for a walk or a run, my subconscious gets time to reflect and process. This is just as important as having your active brain engage problems. I have often come back with a problem solved after a walk or run. Different options are able to freely percolate in my mind rather than the narrow focus and determination found in the moment of knowledge work.

It is hard for everyone. We have long moved away from work that was brainless and methodical. Our challenges are new every day because work has been reshaped for the creative. If you can create habits in your life when you are overwhelmed, then you will find that you can handle greater challenges over time. It becomes a way of life and your abilities will meet the demand, whatever they may be.

How can you use these habits for yourself?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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