7 Way to Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed
Do you ever have those days where you feel like you just need to sit down with a cup of tea….all day long. Not just your 5 minute break to take a breath but an actual day of ignoring the world and enjoying your safe, cosy spot on the sofa in front of a cheerful episode of Downton Abbey (*spoiler* did you see it?! Just when it was starting to get boring Lord Grantham nearly died!).
I had one of these days on Monday. I just wasn’t myself. I got up and made the bed (which takes about 20 minutes as I insist on having a multi-layer of cushions on top of the duvet which need to be arranged in a specific way and some have to be judo chopped on the top and others have to be square) and I got ready for my day. Armed with a cup of tea I sat down at my desk and opened my emails and as I was going through them it sort of hit me. It was like stage fright. I had anxiety about nothing in particular and at the same time about everything. I couldn't figure it out at first because it happened quite suddenly and I wasn't stressed about anything big just nagging little jobs.
It started with Courier issues, moved onto someone questioning why my products are ‘so expensive’ the realization that I have a big show in a week that I’m not feeling prepared for, touched on Christmas (I pushed that to the back of my mind ASAP!) and the pinnacle was when I saw the BT bill and discovered that we’ve been paying £5 a month for God know how long to watch BT sports that we don’t watch or want. It accumulated into a sort of uncomfortable panic if I’m quite honest. There was a looming feeling that I had so much to do and it would all be time-consuming nonsense. I really don’t want to sit on hold for 45 minutes waiting to speak to BT to presumably be told that we need to call another number and quote a reference and pay a cancellation fee just to stop this stupid £5 a month for something I never asked for. (stupid small print)
Needless to say I wasn’t a very happy bunny. I did take some time to just ignore everything and catch up on being a human not a ‘small-business-machine’ and then I went back to it and it did feel a bit more manageable. So the question is – how do we stop this from happening? How do we avoid getting to that panicked, anxiety ridden stage?
I’ve spent some time thinking about this as I want to avoid it at all costs. Not only was it unpleasant, but it was ultimately a waste of time (I hate wasting time). Time that could have been spent enjoying myself and/or getting stuff done. (I like getting stuff done – I like to tick off the check list, It genuinely makes me happy) I know its not just me. We can all suffer with that overwhelming feeling of SO MUCH STUFF TO DO, not knowing where to start and having a strong urge to bury our heads in the sand so here’s how I reckon we can avoid it –
Know who you can talk to. We all have at least 1 friend who we can vent to. Someone who wont judge and will probably give us some very sound and sensible advice (especially as, most of the time the stuff stressing us out is all very manageable it just feels worse because of the quantity of shitty little jobs). Instead of having a mid-day break down let your trusted, lovely friend know what’s going on. See if they’ve got time to have a chat and talk it through. Friends help.
2. A cup of tea and time to take a breath
For real, how many times a day do you sit down and give yourself time to just breath. My cup of tea is always drunk absent mindedly whilst replying to emails or mid-knit and that’s not OK. Yes, there’s ‘stuff’ to be done but 1 out of my 5 cups ought to be enjoyed and not accompanied with work. Just taking those 10 or 15 minutes to get your head around things really can work wonders – I know this ….so why don’t I do it?! From now on I will give myself a tea break each day.
3. Share the workload
If there is something you can have help with, don’t try to be noble. Knowing when to ask for and when to accept help is something I struggle with for sure. Like many people I feel like it has something to do with failure if you can’t do it all yourself. But we are only human and there’s only so many hours in the day. If someone else is willing to call BT then good god let them! (thanks Alex!)
4. Have a day off!
If you work from home or have your own business or a busy job you will know how hard it is to draw the line and finish work. Days start from when you wake up and finish when you go to bed. There’s always something to do or an email to reply to and it’s so hard to cut that off. I don’t have children and Alex works shifts so is often out at the weekends, so unless we have visitors or go away, I generally work 7 days a week. It is important to stay on top of everything but it’s also important to keep your sanity and have the odd day off.
I’m such a list maker it was bound to come up at somepoint… somewhere on this list I had to mention other lists. The best part of a list really is ticking off all the tasks that you’ve completed. Making a list of all the manageable things that need to be done is great. You can go through it one by one, prioritize each point and get cracking with a clear direction. Somehow it makes it more manageable when it's written down and you can see what needs to be done, take it one step at a time and tick off completed tasks. Katrina from Qtique has been telling me to use Todoist, it’s an app you can get on your devices. It’s a good reminder and you can update it on the go. It also breaks down your tasks into personal, work, shopping, errands and Movies to watch! (you can also add your own categories) be sure to update your email notifications though otherwise they come through daily and thats just more stressfull!
6. Don’t forget it could be worse
I know that’s really annoying because when someone says it your like “I know, but lets wallow in my rubbish day for a while!” but seriously; it could always be worse. Getting into the habbit of smelling the roses and reminding ourselves about all the goodness is a positive way of dealing with tricky times. Yes work was hard for me on Monday but I’m so grateful that I get to do what I love every day. So what, one day is tricky; as soon as those rubbish jobs are dealt with it’ll be bloody great again!
7. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Give yourself a pat on the back. You rock. You’re facing the tough stuff everyday and nailing it. You are allowed the odd day wallowing but hey, lets try to eliminate those completely by not getting to the stage where it’s overwhelming. It’s hard but you will tackle it and you’ll feel great for it! As long as the rewards outweigh the Rubbish it’s worth it right?
A final glance at my Monday situation - We’re still waiting to deal with BT, there doesn’t seem to be a way of cancelling it online but Alex called them on Tuesday and apparently they are going to call back today (I wont hold my breath). But in future I will heed my own advice and follow the 7 steps above. They may be obvious but sometimes you just need reminding (well, I certainly do!)
(P.S - I was strongly considering calling this article - Why is BT charging me £5 a month for Sports I don’t watch? I still think I prefer that title)
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