I can recall a time when I was waitressing and I got myself in the weeds. I felt like my head was spinning in a million directions. Even though my heart was racing, I managed to look at my friend and chuckle. “It’s so crazy,” I said, “all I can do is laugh.”
Today, overwhelmed looks much different. Three kids, a house, and several jobs later, I am still practicing how to balance the demands of life. That is until I learned how to reconnect to the lightheartedness I once had. It is just four simple steps, and this article shows you how.
Here is the thing about being overwhelmed. If you haven’t noticed it will spike the sensations in your head and chest. For example, you may experience it as increased tension in your head, neck, and shoulders. This tightness almost always seems to come with a catch. Suddenly you are more critical in nature as your expectations go up while your level of satisfaction goes down. Sure, you may get the job done, however, functioning from a state of overwhelmed almost always seems to come with a consequence.
You see, when you are overwhelmed you may be physically present yet emotionally elsewhere. You have one foot in the room and the other foot in the direction of the door. If you are tired of being overwhelmed and are looking for some lighthearted relief, these four tips can help you through.
1 | Get into your body
My new definition of overwhelmed is when you attempt to go about the tasks of your day without being connected to your body. The first step of decreasing overwhelm is to notice and connect to your body and the easiest way to do this is through conscious breathing. This means to pause and breath in and out of your nose (inflating your abdomen on inhale) and deflating it on exhale.
2 | Turn down the intensity
So often we get overwhelmed because we believe we have no control. My friend, this could not be further from the truth. Think about turning down the intensity as you might turn down the brightness of a lamp. Go outside and take in nature, or take a moment and visualize yourself turning down the radio (your thoughts). How would it feel to turn down the noise? Notice how your body adjusts and releases tension as you do this.
3 | Honor your choices
I once talked to someone who was so overwhelmed he wanted to quit his job. I asked him how he would get money. He wasn’t sure, he just felt over extended between work and school. I suggested he cut his hours first to turn down the intensity, that way he wouldn’t feel the consequences later when he was unable to fill his gas tank. You see, this is what feeling overwhelmed does – it puts you in a box of all or none thinking.
4 | Focus on service
I find when people get overwhelmed they focus on all the things they have to do or what is left undone. Nothing makes you feel more alone and unsupported than thinking in this way. Instead of asking what you should do, focus on how you may serve. Becoming service-focused allows you to be connected to something greater. When you serve, there is no right or wrong, it just is.
Try these four techniques out and let us know how it went in the comments below.