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Tips for Breaking Through When You’re Overwhelmed

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There’s a lot going on. Too much to handle, it seems.

This is almost always true, of course. With our instant access to our friends, our entertainment, and a world of frightening news, we process a lot of information all the time.

That was before the quarantine. Now on top of everything else we add a host of new daily decisions. How do we managing our mask while running errands? Do I need to clean groceries? How do I maintain social distance while maintaining a life?  Will the kids return to school?

When it feels like you can’t handle it anymore, when you’re buried under an avalanche of anxiety and responsibility, we provide some specific steps you can take to get it all back under control.

Our advice falls into two categories. “Get away from it” relies on deep psychology and the still-mysterious connections between our bodies and our minds. “Get to it” offers specific steps you can take to manage all the things.

We recommend choosing one from “Get away from it” and then all of “Get to it.”


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Get away from it (Choose one)

Exercise. When you walk, jog, or even quickly do a several active chores in the house and lawn, you change your body and your brain. Working to a sweat, and concentrating on something other than your worries, pushes problems into the background. This doesn’t mean that they get forgotten. Instead, your subconscious works on them too. You will find that your exercise will leave you feeling clear-headed and ready for what’s next.

Meditate. A simple meditation, perhaps guided by the a popular app like Calm or Headspace, can help increase your concentration. The simple process of focusing deeply on one spot and working to clear your mind works much the same as exercise. It clears a space for your subconscious to process without all the noise from your conscious self in the way. The clarity you will bring to the tasks will more than make up for the time you spend meditating.

Take a nap. In some cases, feeling overwhelmed is partially (or entirely) a result of exhaustion. The two conditions of insufficient sleep and too many tasks can churn together and make a normal day seem impossible to achieve. We often try to power through, but the more efficient answer is to take a brief nap. Set a timer, though. 10-15 minutes is enough. Slipping into REM sleep mid-day can throw your entire sleep cycle off and make the problem worse, not better.

Get to it (Do all)

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Write things down. Do a brain dump of all the things, and add to the list as things pop up. Part of feeling overwhelmed is intensified because we become anxious about forgetting some of the things. Don’t forget. Write them down.

Break tasks into chunks. It’s tempting to just write “get ready for vacation” because that certainly is something that must happen. But it is not a task or an actionable step. Even the more specific “pack for vacation” involves steps. Write those steps down too, and then mark them off as you complete them.

Prioritize. Review the list and highlight or number the most important things. Note that “most important” does not just mean “most visible to others.” The most important can be minor tasks that need to happen first to allow other things to happen, such as doing a load of laundry before packing for the trip.

Ask for help / delegate. Once you have your list of everything that must happen, consider your resources. Can some part of this workload be shared? Can someone directly involved be of help? Is there someone in your friend network who would be willing to help with a chore? Ask for help. Your friend network gets stronger when you help others … and when you ask for help. Why not get more done together?


Need help getting it all under control?

What if you could take steps to work on the area that is troubling you the most? What would be possible for you? A good night’s sleep? A more rewarding love life? Better relationships with a sibling or an estranged friend?Sakina-Issa-Longwood-Florida

What are you waiting for?

Learn more by downloading Sakina’s guide to well-being, or schedule an in-person (well, virtually in-person) consultation today, just hit the red button on this page.

Or continue to Sakina’s blog to learn more about parenting, relationships, or to accelerate your own self-growth.

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