Shelley J Whitehead

How to stop overwhelm

11 August, 2023

As a relationship coach, I work with individuals and couples in making changes in their lives, focusing on relationship skills and resources. I am always encouraging people to embrace change and allow themselves to evolve and grow.

However, there are times in life when it’s really important to take a step back, to ensure that you don’t slip into overwhelm.

‘Overwhelm’ means you are trying to take on too much. It’s the body’s mechanism for sending a message that we need to slow down. If you do find yourself feeling like it’s all a bit much, then listen to that feeling. Good self-care means keeping things in balance.

Three techniques to avoid overwhelm

There are three lovely and simple techniques I use with my coachees to help them slow down and become more embodied again, when it all feels too much and when they feel like they are slipping into overwhelm.

  1. Remind yourself not to judge your feelings. You wouldn’t berate yourself for feeling thirsty – you would (hopefully) instead simply allow yourself to quench the thirst by rehydrating. Any feeling of any kind should be treated in the same way. So if you feel overwhelmed, instead of passing judgement of any kind (and perhaps translating this into feeling impatient with yourself/ ashamed of your humanness/ despair that things will never get better… and so on), take the time to explore the feeling. Ask yourself the question we covered earlier: ‘How can I take good care of myself today?’
  2. Write out a list of everything that you are feeling afraid of; stressed or anxious about; or anything you don’t have enough time for. Sometimes the act of just putting it down on paper can really help.
  3. Allow yourself some time to zone out. Do whatever feels relaxing to you and whatever enables you to switch off that whirring mind of yours. Relaxation is not a waste of time – it is a very important part of self-care. Remember to be kind to yourself. You are on an important journey. Sometimes journeys take time.

I did exactly this today – I drove into the countryside to meet a girlfriend for breakfast. I bought myself a gift, called a friend and now I have capacity for recording videos!

Why is avoiding overwhelm important?

Avoiding overwhelm is crucial for maintaining overall well-being and productivity.

When we’re overwhelmed, our stress levels skyrocket, leading to burnout and reduced mental clarity. It becomes challenging to make sound decisions and prioritise tasks effectively. Emotionally, overwhelm can lead to anxiety and a sense of helplessness.

Taking proactive steps to prevent overwhelm, such as tuning in to your feelings; writing things out and allowing yourself time out, allows us to maintain a healthier work-life balance.

By staying mindful of our limits and focusing on self-care, we can cultivate resilience and better handle life’s challenges. Remember, it’s okay to pause, breathe, and regroup to ensure a more balanced and fulfilling life journey.

If you have found this helpful, please remember to like, share and subscribe to my channel for more videos with tools and tips on developing a better relationship with yourself and with others.

Shelley J Whitehead
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