Ordinary People Helping Ordinary People in Extraordinary circumstances!

Tips to help avoid Overwhelm

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More than any other year, 2020 has been a particularly difficult year for us all in terms of, not only our own families and the regular issues we may be facing, but on top of that we have a constant barrage of negative news stories. At times it may seem like we are overwhelmed and we might begin to wonder if we can possibly cope with all of this??

Without re-telling any negative stories, we need to find a way to manage and deal with this feeling of overwhelm, particularly in relation to keeping our own family afloat. Here’s one simple illustration which may help us to understand what is going on in our minds. Just think about your kettle coming to the boil. The steam builds up until it reaches boiling point, then it must be released in some way, otherwise it boils over. So either the switch is turned off automatically, or we switch it off, so that it doesn’t boil dry.

So working with this analogy – we have to recognise when we are getting to “boiling point” and find out if there are ways that we can flip the switch before the kettle boils dry. So what can we do?

Accept that we are feeling anxious

It seems like such a simple thing but learning to accept and admit that we are feeling anxious is a positive step in the first place. Most of us feel anxious or stressed, particularly in situations where we have no control or we cannot determine the outcome. No-one is superhuman !

Change your multi-tasking mind set

Have you ever felt you are doing too many things at once?? Most of us will know that feeling of panic as we try to complete everything we have to do by a specific date. However, its good to remember that not everything has to be done right here, right now. Accomplishing one or two tasks a day “WELL”, can make all the difference to that feeling of overwhelm.

Focus on the here and now

This may sound easier said than done – as we all have a tendency for our minds to race ahead of us into the future. But why does that old saying keep getting repeated over and over again, “one day at a time”? Humans have always had the tendency to let their minds plot and plan ahead – it seems ingrained. But often when we do that, we forget to focus on the here and now – and we miss lots of opportunities to stop and smell the roses – here – right now! And sometimes, the thing we were stressing over doesn’t always happen – or at least not in the way we expected.

Take some action that you would enjoy

Often, when we are feeling overwhelmed, we forget that life should have some joy in it. If your life has become so overwhelming, it’s time to do at least one thing for yourself today. Give yourself permission to have a long hot bath, read a book, listen to your favourite music or whatever you enjoy – that you’ve forgotten about recently. But pay attention to how it makes you feel afterwards, and tap into that sensation. Perhaps you might just repeat it again sometime soon – especially when you are feeling overwhelmed.

It sometimes can seem like an oversimplification to share tips like these – especially if your life has become completely overwhelming, but often it is the simple little things that we put into place ourselves that can give us a tiny little bit of control – and that in turn lessens the overwhelm. So try one thing today – and keep it simple. Flip the switch before the kettle boils dry.

Author: Families in Trauma and Recovery

"Ordinary People helping Ordinary People" . We are a peer led, lived experience organisation looking for ways to support others who may need a helping hand.

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