When Overwhelm Stops You From Everything:
5 things to lift you out

A black and white image of a lonely man sitting on a bench in a large dark and empty room in a stream of light.

Confession time: as of late, I’ve been a wee bit overwhelmed, and multiple work projects have pulled my attention in many different directions. ‘Stretched emotionally thin’ I think would be a fitting phrase.

And when I get this way, a terrible thing can happen – I freeze. I don’t know which way to turn, what road to take, or what path will lead to the most productive and satisfactory outcome.

I just stand still. And that stillness turns to fear. And that fear turns to apathy. And then I am really still. Back where I started. It feels like a merry-go-round I just can’t seem to get off.

We all get like that. We’ve all been there, and we will all be there again. It’s almost a necessary ebb and flow of life. The dangerous part is staying still for too long because being overwhelmed seems to have you by the throat.

Why that overwhelm is in your life is different for everyone:

  • maybe it’s the amount of work that needs doing on a deadline, and you’re not sure where to start;
  • maybe it’s health related, where you feel so sick you don’t know what will help (hint: contact me here)
  • maybe it’s the yearning to live healthier in general, but the mounds of different diets, blogs and health food aisle options are just too much and you don’t know how to start;
  • maybe it’s a culmination of different challenges in life, and you’re not sure which one to tackle first.

Whatever the reason for overwhelm may be, that feeling we get when it’s there is the same – that pit in your stomach, that fear of where to start, that feeling of ‘what’s the point’.

It’s not fun. So let’s snap out of this shall we?

Here are 5 things to do if you’re at that place of overwhelming stillness (I’m not sure that’s an actual term, but let’s call it one).

 

1. Realize that at this moment, you are exactly where you need to be.

There is not something more you should be doing, you haven’t made a mistake that has lead you to this point, everything has its place and at this moment, you are in the place and circumstance you need to be. Now, if this is an obvious “bad” place, then you are to learn now and move on. But right now, this bad place is here in front of you for a reason, to teach you something that will make you wiser in the future. By realizing that you are exactly where you need to be, it takes the pressure off. If you’re just berating yourself for not being where you think you should be at this point, how can you hope to get out of it? Inspiration doesn’t come by being hard on yourself. Inspiration comes when you’re in a higher place to receive it, and energetically, when you’re constantly beating yourself up, you put yourself in a pretty low energetic state (not one fitting for an inspirational breakthrough).

 

A hand reaches out to a sunset over a calm and pristine blue lake at twilight.
(Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin)

2. Choose one mundane task, and immerse yourself in it, and be proud of how well you’re doing it.

Maybe it’s brushing your teeth, or taking a shower, or doing the dishes, or decluttering your room, or filling up your gas tank, or feeding your dog. Be it whatever, be present with yourself as you are doing it, and be proud of yourself for doing it. Stop thinking ahead so much! Stand in the present, doing the task and realizing how many little intricacies is takes to perform that task. You made progress today! You did something today!! If nothing else, you did this one thing and you did it well! Be proud of yourself, you DID something. Regardless if you think it has any far reaching impact, be friggin’ PROUD. That feeling of pride will inspire further progress. Don’t shit on the little things, they matter. Let the little mundane tasks of life lift you and help you out of the stillness.

 

3. Write down, on paper (not your phone), 3 things you are grateful for in your life.

The art of gratitude is immensely powerful, and only brings to it bigger and better things. It can be anything — you can be grateful that you had a good cup of coffee today, or you can be grateful for a good childhood memory that fluttered through your consciousness, or it can be larger things, like having a roof over your head, or a clean pair of underwear to wear. Just be grateful!

 

4. Write down how you want to feel and then FEEL it.

This can be short or this can be a huge list. How do you want to feel? Happy? Successful? Rich? Healthy? Vibrant? Loved? Beautiful?  Then, take 2 minutes and imagine yourself feeling all of those things you want to feel. Let every cell in your body feel those feelings. I dare you! Chances are you’ll be feeling a lot better after you do this. PLUS (if you subscribe to this way of thinking), you are letting the universe know how you want to feel and in an effort to balance that equilibrium, the universe will deliver that which you need to justify feeling that way! Pretty cool huh?

 

5. Choose the smallest thing on your list that’s overwhelming you, and do it.

Whether it’s making the title for project, writing the intro, making your first smoothie, going for a walk around the block as a kick off to healthier living or calling that person you’ve been putting off calling, write down that you have to do it, do it, and then CHECK it off your list. Because you just started progress my friend. And bit by bit, you will get it done. And the good thing is, you will feel productive and that feeling, as well as all of the other wonderful feelings that  you’ve just accumulated, will LIFT you out of the apathetic stillness we started from.

 

I know it’s a hard thing to step away from sometimes, this overwhelming stillness. I was just there, and will be there again. A time and a place for everything I say, but just keep moving forward and don’t get too caught up in your own head.

These are a few of the many tools you can use to lift and propel yourself into a better state.

The world is waiting so be on your way!

 

(Header image by Matthew Henry)