Do you have that overwhelmed feeling? The next time you feel overwhelmed by life, do this one thing and get control of your life.
Recently, I was experiencing a familiar overwhelmed feeling. The one driven by life with a never-ending to-do list that included sports schedules of two pre-teen children, two dogs, running a business, and being the only caretaker of my household.
Naturally, like most women, I had a running list of things I “needed” to accomplish in my head. It was nearing 8 pm and I was a long way from crossing off at least half of my list.
Then one of my children reminded me (or sprung it on me for the first time?) that they needed to bring drinks for the school party tomorrow. Seriously, how could I handle one more thing?
Is this you?
When I look up overwhelmed, I find:
- drowned beneath a huge mass
- completely defeated
- given too much of themselves
Maybe it’s the stresses of:
- or most likely a combination of multiple things that have you feeling completely overwhelmed with no idea of what do to next.
who’s to blame?
Often when we’re overwhelmed by life it’s because of the stresses we put on our own life.
- The demands we put on ourselves.
- Demands we place on our children.
- What we think “has” to get done.
When things aren’t going according to our plan or when everything is out of control and we feel like we can’t handle one more thing, the fault usually lies within ourselves.
Sometimes it’s outside forces: bills are due, our boss puts a last-minute deadline on our desk, or our child suddenly becomes sick.
Overwhelmed by Life? Do This One Thing.
That evening as I reminded I needed to buy drinks for a school party tomorrow, instead of yelling and refusing, I sat very still (and alone) for about five minutes.
I considered the following question:
What 3 things absolutely have to get done tonight?
Burn, shred, tear up the former to-do list. The new list is revolved around these criteria – what 3 things if done tonight will erase my overwhelm?
The answer was simple.
1. I still needed to feed my kids dinner.
2. Now, a run to the store was necessary for the school party.
3. And I had to shower.
That was it. I didn’t have to read. I didn’t have to work out. I didn’t have to send that email or respond to that text. If I could only pick three things, those were the most pressing three.
Be Gentle With Yourself
The next morning during my quiet time, before the house woke up, I was determined not to have another day like yesterday. My to-do list that was undone from yesterday felt like it was being taped onto today in some kind of sci-fi movie way.
Before I could get too stressed, I decided to break my day up and ask myself what 3 things needed to be done just this morning?
I didn’t even try to look at the afternoon or evening yet. If I do, then I’ve just made a huge to-do list. When afternoon comes I’ll evaluate that list then.
Of course, I don’t always break every day up into threes and ask myself the top three. Thankfully, life is gentle enough that we don’t feel overwhelmed 100% of the time.
Generally, we go through waves.
The next overwhelm wave you ride, try asking yourself this one question: what 3 things must I do to erase my overwhelm?
Then just do those 3 things.
If you get the 3 things done and feel like moving forward, you can try it. But don’t be surprised if that stresses you out.
Sometimes, we need to do less so we have the energy for the days we don’t even know are coming.