When feelings of overwhelm creep into your daily life, do you ignore them and just keep pushing through your day? If you’re like me, and many of my clients, you do. But, if we don’t recognize overwhelm as the warning sign it is, we can end up crashing.
Our daily routine and habits give us our comfort zone, and perhaps a false sense of being in control. They can keep us from realizing that we really DO need to tend to our stress. And, we can, therefore, miss a rich opportunity for improvement to ultimately impact our health and well-being.
Until….. a crisis hits, and feelings of overwhelm are an understatement.
The reality check of a crisis can really push us to the limit, as we are drawn into survival mode, with its own set of dynamics. It forces us to re-examine our priorities. Unless we value our wellbeing enough to prepare in advance….. without hitting the wall first…..
Our recent snowstorm here in the Northeast was a great opportunity for me to appreciate all I’ve gained in my ability to handle the tough stuff, as well as discover that, well, let’s just say….. I still have a little work to do……
My home can quickly become inaccessible in poor weather. That’s bad enough, without also considering: a dairy herd, barns, equipment, two homes (father-in-law next door), and a nearly-96 legally blind grandfather living alone 20 minutes away. Add in: being a one-person business with no paid time off, and no way to recoup lost client time.
My husband and his aging dad run the farm. I mostly watch, encourage, and empathize, occasionally handling the dumb end of a shovel, or trying to look imposing while running around waving my arms and yelling (usually to chase cows, sometimes to flag down one of the guys … marginally effective at either). But, when there’s a crisis, I’m often called upon to “girl-up”.
Back to the snowfall, and overwhelm.
It seems like everything needs to be done at once in the morning. Starting stubborn diesel tractors. Creating access for the milk truck to pick up our milk (luckily – every other day). Plowing space in the field to spread manure. Clearing the manure collection area for the wagon and tractor. Breaking free the frozen barn cleaner. Clearing the barnyard so the cows can go out so the guys can clean the barn, or exit in an emergency. Monitoring roof loads.
In the meantime, water bowls must be thawed so the cows can drink (equivalent of a bathtub of water a day), and silos unfrozen and cleared so feed can be put out. Then, birthing happens…..
Waiting patiently are the houses, roofs, vents and chimneys, driveways, etc. Not to mention, access to, and fueling of, the outdoor wood furnace. If lucky, we find our vehicles and clear them off. All while praying we don’t have an emergency or breakdown……
Not done. I still need to check on my grandfather and his home (as well as other family), cancel and re-schedule appointments, hope my office is still accessible and intact, and remember to eat, drink, bathe, sleep, etc…… Get my drift? Yes, a pun.
Overwhelm. Where do I begin dealing?
Better question: where do you begin?
Here are 5 tips I find useful, and share with my clients, for dealing with overwhelm:
- Notice how you’re feeling, and tend to your self-care first. You’re no good to anyone if, well, you’re no good. Right?
- Be present and mindful, “in the moment” to stay focused, clear, and open to what you really need to know. Listen to your heart, and gut. Then, you’re more likely to notice important changes, and respond appropriately.
- Prioritize calmly, objectively, yet intuitively. Obviously, a crisis necessitates different prioritizing than daily stress management. Remember, knowing your values is key in setting priorities that keep stress under control, and get you through a crisis. Let your heart and mind partner-up.
- Break tasks into smaller steps, focusing on what you’re doing, not on what else is still waiting for you. Acknowledge your progress and stamina along the way.
- Find a silver lining. Some joy, accomplishment, awareness, experience. Try to have fun, and appreciate something or someone…..
I find times of overwhelm are excellent opportunities to remember what is REALLY important to me. It’s a time to bolster my self-care, be in the moment, acknowledge myself for the small things, find pleasure and joy in the simple things, feel connected to something Greater, and be grateful.
One thing that stands out for me, too, in a crisis, is pulling together in community. Nothing is more heartwarming to me than seeing everyone do and BE their best to help each other and make the world go ’round. How about you?
Needing support in times of overwhelm, or managing stress? Apply today for a complimentary Discovery Session. We’ll hop on the phone for about 30-40 minutes and get you on your way! Talk with you soon!