How often do you feel overwhelmed? Is it daily, weekly or only occasionally? When we are working with partners and coalitions, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all that needs to be done in order to successfully work together well. In addition, partnership and coalition-building is often only part of the work we are expected to do. There are administrative details, fundraising and/or grant writing, evaluating, reporting, implementing projects and much more. And that is just the professional or “work” aspect of our lives. When we include our lives outside of work, such as our families and friends, maintaining our households (cleaning, cooking, groceries, repairs…), hobbies and recreation (social media…), self care (spiritual, physical, emotional), and more, it is very easy to find ourselves in a place of “overwhelm.” And for some of us, it’s easy to let everyone else’s needs take priority over taking care of ourselves (spiritually, physically, emotionally). As a result, we stay in a place of being overwhelmed and unable to be who we really want to be! If you can relate at all to this, join me this week as I provide 3 initial steps to take to move toward escaping being overwhelmed.
- Recognize it. We have to stop and realize that we are overwhelmed. We may feel particularly anxious, we may be snapping at our co-workers or family members or may be paralyzed by all that we need to do that we cannot actually do anything! We must take time to realize where we are before we are able to make any adjustments. In previous posts, I’ve highlighted the importance of self awareness and this is very related. We must be aware of ourselves and recognize that we are in a place of “overwhelm.”
- Reflect on it. When we are overwhelmed, the last thing we have time to do is to stop and reflect, right? 🙂 But that is what we need to do. We need to find a piece of paper, notebook or a whiteboard and write out all the things that keep running through our minds. Even 15 minutes can be helpful in getting it all on paper so that we are no longer “stuck” in the place of overwhelm. Also, it is helpful to schedule some time on your calendar to spend a little more time to develop a new plan and strategy.
- Rework your plan. Once you have things written down, pick one thing to do next and do it! Then you can look back and pick something else. Sometimes we can get stuck in the struggle of which one is most important and that overthinking can keep us overwhelmed too! When you look at all that you have written down, consider what you can do that will bring you peace and that is necessary for your day (e.g. figure out what you will eat for dinner!) I also encourage you to do something that is fairly easy. On a new podcast I’ve been listening to (Focus on This), I heard them mention the power of 5 minutes. Set a timer for 5 minutes and see what you can do toward one of the areas that has kept you stuck and overwhelmed. It’s pretty powerful! Personally, I can get overwhelmed with writing. In the past, I have tried to block large amounts of time (2-4 hours or all day) to work on writing something specific and I’ve inevitably decided I had other things that were more important and would not keep that commitment. Recently, I’ve discovered that if I block 30 minutes to 1 hour, I can commit to that time and see progress in my writing. Figure out what might work for you and try it!
If you want to continue to escape the overwhelm, join me over the next seven weeks as we explore specific strategies that we can implement together to find rhythm in our days, weeks and months!
So what about you? What has worked best for you when you feel overwhelmed?
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