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How are you feeling today? In this article, we provide valuable strategies to support you in dealing with overwhelm and moving forward one step at a time.
Overwhelm impacts all of us, especially when we are starting a new year, getting on with a new phase of our lives, and coping with the challenges in our environments.
You know this already: when overwhelmed, it may feel like you're drowning, there is no way out, or there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Overwhelm can emanate from various sources, including work, personal or professional relationships, health issues, etc.
It may feel like no matter how much you work, you can't seem to get ahead or never feel like you are making headway.
These feelings and emotions are 100% legit. What can you do about them to avoid getting sucked in and taken down by these opposing forces?
When feeling overwhelmed, reframe your mindset.
In many instances, the overwhelming feeling arises from the meaning we give to what is happening around us. It's even more poignant when we stack all the pending tasks and difficulties we face, whether immediate or in the near or far future.
The #1 go-to tool I teach and coach my clients is reframing their mindset by becoming aware of what the stack looks like for them.
Here's a recent work-related example that impacted me.
Recently, I had to deliver a presentation on a Friday. The following Friday, I had to prepare to facilitate a training, create a report for one of my clients, and coach my private clients who had scheduled their sessions. Between these work activities and managing my schedule at home with my son and his basketball practices, I felt a lot was on my plate.
Being mindful of the deadlines and priorities and wanting to show up for my clients and my son, I stopped to think. The mindset reframe included telling myself, "Okay, I have all these things happening. They're all coming up in the short term. What can I do to feel better about what I need to get done?"
This situation was not a random occurrence. Here's what I do to deal with the situation and move forward to deliver my business deliverables while being there for my son and his needs.
The first step for me is to get organized--and this can be an issue for some.
What I mean by getting organized is very straightforward. It looks like this: let me make sure that I write everything down so that I don't slip or forget something. So, I wrote a list of what needed to happen in the next couple of weeks.
Writing it down relieved any pressure that I would drop the ball--not being responsible to my clients and my son is one of my biggest nightmares.
Typically, I create a "get-it-done" list with priorities and activities that I need to complete in the order that helps me meet the expectations of the stakeholders--clients and family. Once I have these priorities out of my head, I feel better and begin to tackle each one by one.
Take it one step at a time and start with the first step.
In this example, the first step was to prepare the presentation for Friday because that was coming up shortly. That would happen no matter what. If I didn't assemble the PowerPoint for that, I would not feel confident and peaceful about it.
Once you begin to clear your plate of "nice to have" and only focus on "must-do," that will create and give you more bandwidth.
Get rid of stuff that is not an absolute priority.
I've learned that if I have an item on my priority list that I keep pushing down the list, perhaps I need to question its validity.
Aside from procrastinating, if the item keeps slipping, it's likely that it isn't critical and doesn't belong there.
When you cross off these items, it's incredible how much time and pressure you release and how it clears up your schedule.
Be diligent in inspecting what is "a must." You may discover that some things are using up your space and do not deserve to.
Double up on self-care
Doubling up on self-care may sound counterintuitive because you may say, "I don't have time for self-care; I have a lot of things to do." Based on the feedback from clients and my own, I will gently and with compassion refute that.
When you feel the most overwhelmed, I recommend that you stop and look at how your self-care practices have fallen by the wayside. For me, it's a 20-minute mediation in the morning and, ideally, in the afternoon.
We've noticed that there's usually a 100% correlation between the feeling of overwhelm and giving up your self-care practices--whether it's training at the gym, taking a daily walk with your dog, enjoying a face mask, or watching a comedy video, etc.
This example highlights how significant it is to focus on re-prioritizing yourself. You, nor I, cannot be there for others if you are a total basket case. Let's put the oxygen mask on ourselves first and then figure out the following top priority.
The self-care doesn't have to take hours. A simple 5 - 20 minute self-care practice can lessen the symptoms of feeling overloaded and support you to stay clear-headed to be there for yourself and others--as you desire to be.
We've been in your shoes and understand that challenges abound around you--at work and in-home environments.
Getting organized, eliminating "to-dos" that aren't a high priority or even needed, and being aware and intentional in practicing self-care are sure pathways to deal with overwhelm.
You have all you need to pursue your career goals and dreams. And remember that you are not alone--or expected to make it there by sheer will.
At ExecutiveBound®, we are an innovative leadership development and career advancement company dedicated to accelerating your professional growth and developing senior leaders to create inclusive workplaces that promote business growth, high-performing teams, and personal well-being.
If you need support, you can reach us at www.callwithginny.com to set up a complimentary strategy session and explore how our programs can help you and your leaders. We will support you in advancing and taking the reigns of your career to grow and reach your full leadership potential in an empowering community of compassionate leaders.
Live with purpose, live with joy!
Coach Ginny 💕
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