Episode 21 – How To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed


Do you often feel overwhelmed with life and everything you have going on? In this episode we discuss what is really the cause of you feeling overwhelmed and how you can overcome it so that you can be more confident, organized in your daily life, productive, and feel better.

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Show Summary:

I hear a lot of women today talk about how overwhelmed they are with their life.  And believe me, I’ve been there too.  We are overwhelmed by our homes, our jobs, our kids activities, our church callings.  Everything is just so overwhelming.

So if we think about the The Model that I taught in Episode 17  The FEELING of overwhelm would go in the F line.  And as we know, our feelings are caused by our thoughts.  Now, lets think about what kind of THOUGHTS bring on the FEELINGS of overwhelm.

Thoughts like “I don’t have enough time” “There is too much to do” “I can’t get it all done” “I’m not capable of all this” are usually some of the thoughts that bring up the feeling of OVERWHELM

And when we are overwhelmed, what do we do? What is the A line (the action line) of our model? I would say for most people the feeling of OVERWHELM brings INACTION.  When we feel overwhelmed, we don’t do anything or we do something to AVOID doing what actually needs to get done (like watch netflix or scroll Instagram) am I right???  

And when we do this, what is our R line in the model? Our result?  We don’t get anything done and now we have LESS time because we sat around and drank our diet coke while scrolling instagram for way too long!

Do you see how thinking those thoughts actually made things worse?

I like to say that OVERWHELM is an indulgent thought.  Now think about what indulgent means.  Mr. Webster defines indulge as “taking unrestrained pleasure in, to yield to the desire of, or to treat with excessive leniency, generosity, or consideration”

So in being “overwhelmed” we are taking an unrestrained pleasure in, yielding to the desire of,  and treating with excessive leniency the thoughts that we entertain so that we don’t actually have to do what needs to be done.

So how do we not feel overwhelmed?

I know, as wives and mothers we have so much on our plates.  Sometimes it is more than we can physically do.  But that is where taking control of our thinking comes into play.

I want you to think back to Podcast 18 on Setting Goals.  We talked about having 6 areas of our life (mental, physical, social, spiritual, family, and work) and having a VALUE statement for each area, and then making long term goals, short term goals, and breaking it down to daily tasks.  Doing this gives us a way to prioritize what is truly important in our lives.  This also makes things more ORGANIZED in our mind.

When we know what we value, we can more easily organize our time and our tasks by what is truly important.

If our mind isn’t organized, we will never be able to organize our lives.

We have to get things straight in our brain first.  Internal organization creates external organization.

Now one thing you may not know about me, is that I LOVE to organize.  Organization is something that comes really easy to me and its something that I love to do and I’m really good at.

So when I am organizing a drawer or a closet or a room, I first take everything out, sort through things, get rid of all the unwanted and unneeded items, and then put things back in an orderly fashion by categories.  Everything has a home.

The same is true with our minds.  You need to examine your thoughts.  Sort through them. (memories, subconscious thoughts, judgements, negative self-talk, positive self-talk, plans, gratitude, etc.) Get rid of the unwanted and unneeded thoughts, and decide what you want to keep.  Is there any new thoughts you want to add in there?  Make sure its something you really want and have a place for.

When I am at the store, say Target, there are ALWAYS a ton of cute home decor items I really want to buy.  I could easily go and spend a few hundred dollars buying cute things for my house and then get home and have NO WHERE to put them.  So when I do purchase something, I am very deliberate about it.  I think through and decide beforehand exactly where its going to go, and possibly what I am going to get rid of so that there is room for this in my life.

The same goes with my thoughts.  I am deliberate about what I am choosing to think.  Each thought is chosen for a reason that will get me closer to my goals and aligns with my values.

So bringing this back to OVERWHELM – I am going to purposely choose thoughts about my life and about my tasks at hand that don’t bring me into overwhelm.  I don’t want room for those kinds of thoughts in my brain.  I want to deliberately choose thoughts that will make me feel confident, empowered, and able to take on whatever life throws at me.

So when you have a lot on your plate and your thoughts naturally go to “This is too much” or “I can’t handle this”  I want you to just notice what your brain is doing.  It’s doing its job.  It’s trying to protect you.  Thank you brain.  But then deliberately choose to think different thoughts.  

Now some thoughts you might want to try on when those overwhelming thoughts creep in are 

“I can totally handle this”

“I have exactly the amount of time I need to get things done”

“I am capable and I’ve got this”

These thoughts make me feel confident and able and then my mind is clear and I am able to find solutions and get things done.  Sometimes that means reprioritizing tasks for another day, finding someone to help me, or being compassionate with myself that I am doing the best I can and if I don’t get everything done, that is OK!

So yesterday was a day that I was running from one thing to the next.  I had to get the kids off to school, then I had coaching sessions with my clients, I recorded an interview for another podcast, my daughter had a doctors appointment, I had a coaching call with my coach, my son had a music lesson, I needed to go to the grocery store and fix dinner, and then another daughter had a double-header for softball.  I could have chosen to be overwhelmed with everything, but instead I chose to believe I could get everything done, no problem.  Well guess what, by the time I got home from the grocery store to fix dinner it was almost time to leave for softball.  The dinner I had planned was scratched, we threw something else together, and were on our merry way.  It was a great day, even though it was so busy.  And I could have been so overwhelmed and really not done a whole lot if I had chosen to indulge in that emotion.  But I organized my mind, organized my day, chose empowering thoughts, and it all worked out, even if dinner didn’t go exactly as planned.

So relating this to marriage.  We often blame a lot of our overwhelm on our spouses for not doing their fair share.  We expect them to know what our needs our, to pick up some of the slack, and when they don’t, we are hurt and use it as evidence that they don’t love us or they don’t care about us, because if they did they would see what we need and do it.

I want to encourage you to DROP the expectations.  Absolutely communicate your requests to your spouse, but do NOT make them not doing something mean ANYTHING about you.  

“Honey, I am running late, would you please start dinner”

“I have a lot going on today, could you run Johnny to soccer practice this evening”

But you can NOT expect them to see your needs and do it if you do not COMMUNICATE with them.  And even if you do communicate with them and they don’t do it or they can’t do it, it’s still not about YOU.  It’s about them.  Maybe they aren’t doing a good job communicating what is on THEIR plate.  Maybe they are feeling overwhelmed with all of their own responsibilities.  Be understanding that each person is doing THEIR best in that moment, even if their best isn’t great.  We are all human, and we all need a little compassion and understanding.

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