Do you ever feel overwhelmed?

It’s been one of those weeks, you know the ones where you run around like a headless chicken without actually getting very much done.

Do you ever do that?

I want to share with you something that I have had to do this week to re-adjust my stress levels.

It’s pretty simple and is really important so that I can function and deliver the things that I really need to get done for my clients and for my family.

It was quite early in the week when I realised I was in trouble, I was hanging out some washing quickly because I had precisely 3 minutes before I needed to leave. If I got it done right now that would be one more thing off my to-do list and that would help right?

I rushed out of the door and as I got in the car I had to take a couple of deep breaths. Because if I didn’t slow down a bit I wasn’t going to do a very good job for my client when I got there!

I realised that I hadn’t stopped all day, I had a to-do list as long as my arm and the next day was looking pretty similar if I didn’t have a word with myself right now….

So I am going to share with you what I did to get back on track.

Overwhelm - Bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something.

Overwhelm is such a great word isn’t it? And it totally sums up how I have been feeling, do you ever feel that you are drowning under a mass of things you need to do?

I see this a lot with clients too, they desperately want to fit in exercise because they know it will make them feel better but the reality of everything that needs to be done means that it feels like another thing on the to-do list.

It’s easy to get buried under the pressure of everything we need to do so here are a few tips to help – think of it as a spade to dig yourself out if you like!

Take Time

The one thing you think you don’t have when you are experiencing overwhelm is the one thing you actually need. It is also the simplest thing you can do.

Take some time – it sounds counterproductive but to move forward you actually need to stop and re-group. Doing this will help you focus and take control. It’s a must because what you are probably feeling is that you have no control and life has taken over.

Taking just five minutes could actually be the most productive thing you have done all day, here is what to do with your five minutes:

  • Have critical look at your to-do list and be ruthless. Cross off anything that you can either pass to someone else or that is not really urgent. Try to group things on your list into these categories: Things that are urgent and really important - these are the things to focus on now. Things that are urgent but not important to you - they need to be done but are probably more important to someone else so they can wait or be given to someone else to do. Things that are important to you but not urgent – these may not need to be done right now so put some time aside when you can give them your focus and you have crossed the urgent stuff off the list. Things that are not important or urgent – these can be crossed right off the list right now!

  • Pick three things. This is really important because right now you need to focus. Pick the top three things that you can actually get done today. I do this every day and it really works. You may well get around to doing more but picking just three will help you feel in control and when you complete them by the end of the day you will feel some accomplishment.

Exercise and Relax!

When you feel overwhelmed your body is in stress mode. When you are in stress mode your body is preparing for that most primitive of responses – to fight or flight.

The body is clever enough to recognise danger and to make all your blood rush to the muscles ready to fight or run away.

The body is not clever enough to understand that the stress you are feeling is not going to result in you running or fighting so you need to re-set the bodies response. You need to use the adrenaline that your body is producing or you will probably find that you are in stress response for a long time. This results in tense muscles, poor digestion and the exhaustion of being ‘ready for action’ all the time.

Exercise can really help, that exercise can be long or short if you only have 10 minutes that is enough. It can be hard core or nice and gentle it just needs to get your body moving. Once you have done this your body will be able to relax by producing some endorphins which will simply make you feel good!

Look after yourself

Sleep is so overlooked, we need sleep to function optimally, ask yourself if you are getting enough sleep every night?

The amount of sleep you need will vary from person to person, you may only need 6 hours, for me I am horrible on anything less than 8!

Find your optimum amount and stick to it, try where possible to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time every day.

Eating well and getting plenty of rest makes sense on so many levels, we all know that when we do it right we feel better so make sure that you do.

Being prepared with food and taking time out to prepare a meal can be one of the things on your to do list that gets dropped. Keep your fridge and cupboards stocked with healthy food that can be thrown together quickly.

Try making just one of those 3 things you commit to each day about you.

One little thing every day that is all about looking after yourself can make such a difference.

Today I’m having a soak in the bath, because I know that will help me relax.

What will you do?

Now, where did I put that bubble bath?

Kirsty xx

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