5 Tips to Overcome Overwhelm Daily
Ugh!!! I hate feeling overwhelmed. In fact, some days I am the queen of overwhelm. True story. I take on way too much. I hate to say no. There is so much I want and need to do so I roll up my sleeves and get it done…most of the time…usually after a mini melt down and a bitch session about having so much to do. Sound familiar? Do you experience overwhelm? Most of us do to some degree therefore I am excited to share what I have learned, along with strategies I developed, to overcome overwhelm.
You know I love to share. I share my weekly nutrition plan with you through Follow Nutrition Tammy each week in order to avoid the “what do I eat” overwhelm. But, if you are overwhelmed with work, kids, family, and laundry…dinner time becomes another factor that contributes to overwhelm.
You know what I mean…ugh! I have so much to do…just pick up a pizza on the way home. Been there…done that…countless times. Unfortunately, when I finish eating my pizza I get pissed at myself because now I am overwhelmed with belly bloat. And, eating processed food makes me feel tired and unproductive which leads to me sitting on the couch obsessing about what I have to get done.
Let me explain why I am so overwhelmed. I am a nutritionist working on growing my business in a new direction. I am not expert in running a business therefore I signed up for a two month business mentoring program that takes up a lot of time that I don’t have.
I am a college professor…at four different colleges and universities.
I teach yoga…which I must admit is my favorite thing in the world to do because I get to escape for at least 75 minutes.
Lastly, and the thing I am most proud of, is I am completing my PhD in Nutrition. I am conducting my statistical analysis for my dissertation…yes, the words statistical analysis makes my body cringe and I immediately feel overwhelm.
A full time job, running a new business, yoga instructor, PhD student, and mom to three very needy dogs creates overwhelm in my life. You with me?
When individuals feel overwhelm, they are likely to step away from the “things” causing overwhelm leading to sh*t not getting done. I HATE when I don’t get things done because I will lie in bed thinking about all the things I have to do. And, mamma needs her sleep!!!
My reprieve? Healthy food, yoga, and my sweet husband. These are the tools I use to overcome overwhelm. Let’s chat about them.
My 5 Tips to Overcome Overwhelm
Get out of the weeds. Do you ever feel you are neck deep and can’t make your way out. Does your cup runneth over…and not in a good way? Get the heck out of there! The best way to overcome overwhelm is to devise a plan so that you are not overburdened with projects.
I learned this tip from Marie Forleo, the business coaching program I am enrolled in. I recently started doing this simple task and it has been super helpful. At the beginning of the week I jot down what I need to do and schedule it in my calendar. I figure out how much time each task will take and schedule it in my calendar. I even set alarms so I start and begin my tasks on-time.
I place the most important tasks to be completed first thing in the morning. It is a good idea to determine your top 3 priorities of the day and get started on them right away. Don’t forget to schedule time to exercise, shop and prepare dinner, and time to check e-mails. Yes…I schedule time to check e-mails. I will tell you more about that in the next step.
Let’s summarize! Sunday night, take a few minutes to strategize your week. Write down your non-negotiable items that must get done and schedule time in your calendar, just as you would an appointment. Schedule time for tasks, work-outs, and to shop and prepare healthy meals.
Turn off notifications. What did we do before we were notified about every Crate and Barrel sale, weather alert, and where your cousin checked in for dinner. Do you really need to be notified of every little thing that is happening? How did we manage?
WE DID. We managed just fine without notifications. And we were better off before we became so connected. Why do we feel the need to check our e-mails or Facebook status every moment of the day? Think about it…you do not need to know every time you receive an e-mail. And, most of the time it is a solicitation. Do yourself a favor…unsubscribe from lists that don’t serve you. Stay strong my friend…don’t get sucked in.
We are constantly connected and research has shown that being “connected” all the time leads to lack of sleep, decrease productivity, and increased levels of anxiety. Yep, after I get sucked into the Facebook trance…you know the trance…head hung down, eyes fixated on the screen, maybe a bit of drool coming out of the corner of your mouth. I go into freak-out mode because I realize how much time I just wasted.
We have become a nation addicted to social media. There is actually a term for it, it is cleverly called “social media addiction” and there are programs to help individuals overcome internet addiction. Oh my, what has this world come to!
It is not good for your health nor will it help you complete your tasks. The only thing social media is good for is making you less productive. I am not saying you have to give up Facebook and Instagram cold-turkey. Nope, not at all. I don’t know what I would do without my daily fix of baby goats…but, I limit my usage and schedule time to check e-mails and social status updates.
Social media is a huge part of how I market and run my business. I have to be on social media throughout the day. I have to check e-mails. But, I get my work done and move on. So should you, my friend. Determine how much time you need to catch up with the world, schedule it, and disconnect when your time is up. Set a timer! Do it for your kiddos too…they spend way too much time online.
To summarize: Limit how much time you are being sucked-into social media. Schedule time to check e-mails. Turn off notifications so you are not distracted while working on other tasks. This may seem a bit extreme but you will thank me later when you have completed all your tasks for the day.
Turn Projects into Tasks. Projects are big and require time to complete. Just the word itself is overwhelming. You know when someone says “I have a project for you” …ugh, makes me shutter. I dread those words because I know it will take time.
A simple trick is to turn your project into manageable tasks. Break it down. For example, renovate the guest bathroom is a huge project. But, picking out new tile, painting the bathroom, installing a new facet, and hanging a towel rack are smaller tasks that you can easily handle to accomplish your bathroom renovation.
Let’s take a look at another example, lose 10 pounds. Weight loss is a project and can be overwhelming for most. So, let’s break it down into smaller, realistic tasks.
Week 1: Start the day with a big glass of water and bowl of fruit. Go for a walk around the block each night after dinner.
Week 2: Replace your lunch sandwich with a lettuce wrap. Integrate interval training on your nightly walk. Walk for 90 seconds, then do a 30 second jog, followed by a 90 second brisk walk, 30 second jog, etc.
Week 3: Make breakfast and lunch plant based meals and include 5 ounces of lean protein and 2 cups of veggies at dinner. Increase your jogging pace to a steady run.
Having defined tasks, such as the ones listed above, will promote weight loss. But if you just start with “lose 10 pounds” you may feel overwhelmed because you don’t know where to start and how to accomplish the project.
Step Outside of the Box. You wake up in the morning inside of a box (your bedroom) which is inside of a larger box (your house). You then go to work in a mobile box (your vehicle) and drive yourself to another box (you work space). All these boxes may stifle your creativity and create overwhelm. Step outside of the box. Literally.
Go for a walk. Work outside. Move your work space if you can throughout the day. Some days I will go to a coffee shop, some days I work at my kitchen island, other days I sit outside. A change of scenery is good! Especially on a beautiful day. The sunlight, fresh air, and sounds of birds chirping really does a body good and helps the creative juices flow.
Fuel Your Body with Food
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. The right foods, in the right amount, fuels to body. Essential fatty acids are brain food. Fiber helps keep you feeling fuller longer. Protein makes you feel satisfied. Fruits provide vitamins and are a great afternoon pick-me-up. Herbal mint tea is a source of aromatherapy providing a calming effect and may aid digestion. Need more convincing??? No problem…
Omega 3 fatty acids, found in salmon, flaxseeds, and walntus, have been shown to improve memory and mental clarity. Antioxidants found in berries help boost memory and protect the body from diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Have a mid-day sweet tooth? No worries…dark chocolate improves concentration by providing a small amount of caffeine making you feel energized and focused. Avocados increase blood flow to wake up brain cells and give you an overall boost.
Brown rice contains fiber, magnesium and B vitamins. B vitamins are responsible for converting food energy (calories) into usable energy known as ATP. Magnesium helps regulate sleep cycles and you know you need your beauty rest to get things done! I can go on and on…and I will!
Don’t forget water. Hydrate throughout the day. The body is made up of 70% water and even the slightest amount of water loss (dehydration) results in fatigue and decrease concentration. A word of advice…don’t reach for a cocktail at the end of a long day. Alcohol decreases mental performance and affects hydration status. Save the adult beverages for the weekend once you have had a productive week.
There you have it my friends. It is truly amazing how these simple strategies can result in improved productivity to help you overcome overwhelm. And, remember that overwhelm is a choice. We choose to take on too many tasks, we choose to avoid the gym, we attempt to multitask, we consume unhealthy foods and sugary drinks. We choose these things which ultimately promote overwhelm. The choice is yours…
Take it one step at a time. Implement one new strategy per week and see how it works for you. For me, scheduling my day and eating healthy are my life savers. If I don’t do these steps I am in complete overwhelm. Do yourself a favor…give it a try. What do you have to lose? Except overwhelm 😉