15 Ways to Fight the Overwhelm
This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for months but, lol, I was way to busy and feeling far too overwhelmed! I drew the cartoon of me juggling all the balls in my life on the 8th March this year when my hands were too full and felt too small for all the balls I toss up into the air but I am not very good at juggling, and I keep dropping a couple of the balls. (I can’t juggle with real balls at all unless you count max two balls as juggling, any more than that and I’d drop all of them).
When that happens I feel myself starting to get in a flap, I yell at the kids, get grumpy with Athol and end up disappointed with, or feeling sorry for, myself. I begin to imagine that I am doing everything ALL by myself ALL of the time until I finally I erupt like some sort of a fountain crossed with a volcano (a foulcano perhaps?)
Do you also tell yourself that things will get quieter or less hectic one day when the kids have grown up, when the job is less stressful, when this illness goes away, when money is not so tight, your friends or family are nicer to you or any other topic you could fill in yourself?
The thing is, there are no guarantees that these things will happen, that life will slow down and become a little easier, in fact there could be heavier burdens around the corner. Like a serious, life changing illness, or even a bereavement.
Whenever I struggle with feeling overwhelmed I tend to be quite harsh on myself. When I do drop a ball from the multitudes I’m busy juggling I berate myself for not being able/strong/organised enough.
If this was one of my friends I was talking to, I’d be much kinder and filled with helpful suggestions. I’m quicker to tell her not to be so hard on herself while at the same time criticising myself for not being able to cope. The probem with that is it assumes a position of superiority in myself, it is a form of pride and as you know, pride usually comes before a fall!
It’s also not very wise. If I’m not planning my time properly so that I end up being a worn out shell of a witch I’m no good for anyone or anything – except for once a year at halloween.
Now I realise that my life will only be organised if I take steps make it that way so here I am setting out a list of practical solutions for myself, and maybe they will help you too, that I can turn to the next time everything is getting on top of me. These points have so much in each that I’d like to elaborate on so I will be working through them all one by one in separate blog posts and linking back to this list just so that this one doesn’t become too long.
Points for beating the overwhelm:
- Step away and stop – move out from the chaos for a while to just be still
- Calm down and slow down – don’t be in such a hurry to do everything, take your time, enjoy the moment and stop panicking (this point sounds similar to the first one but is more about how you handle the process)
- Morning moment of reflection – start each morning with some quiet (prayer/meditation/plan for the day)
- Prioritise the tasks as to what is most important – learn the difference between urgent tasks and important tasks
- Start saying no to some of the demands – setting boundaries
- Assign chores to the kids/other adults – the art of (appropriate) delegation
- Build your social connections – relationships
- Change your working mindset – it’s not what you do but how you do it
- Get outside – into nature!
- Factor in exercise
- Check your diet
- Check your health – physical, mental, hormonal
- Help someone else – serving someone in need helps to appreciate the good things you have
- On your rest days don’t just sleep – ‘actively rest’ ie, take up a hobby or activity that revitalises you
- Evening moment of reflection and writing a gratitude list (prayer/meditation/review of the day)
I hope you will join me on this journey as we work towards finding calm in the choas of our busy lives, I am looking forward to embarking on it with you, but in the meantime I’d like to introduce you to a legendary woman who travelled far and wide throughout her life, and leave you in her capable hands.
Elisabeth Elliot is one of my heroines. She was a writer, a speaker, a missionary, mum and grandmother. She is well known for being married to Jim Elliot who was speared to death while trying to make contact with Auca Indians in Ecuador. She later lived with the tribe along with her young daughter. She was brave and wise, inspirational and eloquent. She travelled the world speaking and working and passed away in 2015 at the age of 88.
Through the 1990’s, Elisabeth spoke on a daily radio program, Gateway to Joy in Nebraska. With these words she would open the program: “‘You are loved with an everlasting love,’ – that’s what the Bible says – and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
It is good to know that in our weak and vulnerable moments, there is Someone who is able to carry us with a strength that is never ending and even provides us with this strength too.
Sometimes when I feel I need to refresh my soul (like maybe while I am doing the ironing, lol!), I will look for one of Elisabeth’s talks on YouTube to listen to, like this one about finding rest, and I return to my day to day life as one who was thirsty but has drunk deeply from a well.
On one of those days when I had so much on my plate I didn’t know whether I was coming and going, I stoppped and sat to listen to one of her talks and this phrase jumped right out at me: “When you don’t know what to do next, just do the thing in front of you.”
I don’t know about you but when I’m in a flap my brain doesn’t work. This simple statement is easy to remember and practical in application.
I encourage you next time you take a break, to stop a while and listen to her talk. It may be the refeshment and guidance you need right in that moment.
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