How to Stop Overwhelming Yourself
Keep it Simple
These last few weeks I’ve been feeling intense, heavy energy. Maybe it’s partly the pressures of the holiday season closing in, maybe it’s partly the melancholy I feel every December – or maybe it’s something bigger and beyond me – like how complicated and overwhelming we’ve designed our lives to be.
If you’re feeling a similar heaviness in your energy that is showing up as feeling fatigued, less motivated than usual, maybe not sleeping well at night – and you know you’re not coming down with something – it could be that you’re sensitive to the collective feelings of overwhelm and sensing the heavier energy too.
So, what to do with those feelings of chaos? Simplify!
If your to-do list is impossibly lengthy, or the social pressures of gatherings and festivities have you feeling stressed, or you’re coping with grief and heightened holiday emotions, it may be time to simplify and pare down where possible to help lift your energy. Buy, where do you start?
Here are four ways to help you overcome the overwhelm.
1. Decline engagements where you can.
Be honest. Tell the host that you’re not feeling great (you don’t have to be physically sick to feel rotten!) and that you’ll get together with her when you feel better. Be truthful that you have too much on your plate and can’t risk overdoing it at this time.
This kind of self-preservation simplification is critical to keeping your energy balanced. And it’s not selfish, it’s you being authentic. It seems scary at first, to purge your calendar of what you don’t feel up to, but after you’ve done it, it’s liberating. You’ll feel the weight of those commitments lift off your shoulders, leaving space for energetic expansion so that you can still do those things you must do, or want to do, with less tension.
Designate duty vs. non-essential.
You want to feel motivated, excited, optimistic, and purposeful, right? Well, it’s super difficult to feel that way when you’re bogged down with (possibly non-essential) obligations.
What are you doing because it feels like you’re obliged to? Make a list of what you feel you have to do in the next 10 days – things you feel are compulsory, but you are dreading.
Now, consider each one. Is it truly essential? If not, scratch it off immediately! If it is necessary, do you have to be the one to do it?
Can you delegate to someone else? Can you maybe pay someone else to do it? Can you postpone? If not, what can do to make the obligation feel less forced and dreadful? How can you reward yourself for managing the task or what could make it less of an energy-drain? If you were a seven year old, how would you bribe yourself to get it done more cheerfully?
“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” – Marie Kondo
3. Don’t make things harder than they need to be.
Overwhelm is a sure sign that you’ve taken on too much. That your expectations are unrealistic and that you’re probably unnecessarily adding to your own stress. You know in your gut that the satisfaction or results that will come from all of that busyness is not worth the energy-suck. But you do it anyway. Stop that!
“Expectations are premeditated resentments.” – Anonymous
You are not a complete failure if you didn’t carve your own ice sculpture for the holiday party and your table is not Martha Stewart perfect! Relax and refocus your energy on your priorities, which are probably creating special moments and happy memories, not winning awards with your cookies.
4. Unravel the mental knots.
And finally, if you genuinely decide there isn’t much you can do to untangle the chaos in your life right now, then at the very least, commit to less overthinking. Resolve to be as present and mindful as you possibly can each day, to simply do the best that you can with the energy that you have.
Set the intention to keep an eye out for ways to simplify your tasks and obligatory situations and not allow yourself to overanalyze, compare, guilt, complain, or otherwise drag your mood even lower.
This too shall pass.
I feel like there will be a general energy lift in the collective after the new year gets rolling. The tensions, overwhelm, and high emotions of the holiday season will dissolve away, and we can take the opportunity to reevaluate, reset, and further simplify our priorities in the coming months.
And lastly, if you’re feeling the heaviness, you’re not alone. I feel you sister! And many others do as well. In general, it’s women who tend to take on the brunt of expectations and emotional pressures. Breathe… these overwhelming feelings too shall pass.
Wishing you a simpler week chock full of clarity and cheer. – Marlene
If you’ve been feeling a little lost, stuck, and feeling like your emotions are all over the place and you’re searching for how to create a life of heart-centered, calm, joy, and purposeful living, I invite you to join me in my program – Your Time to Thrive.
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