Are you overwhelmed?
Have you ever reached that moment where you feel like the world is on your shoulders? Where life seems just too complicated? If you were a computer would your screen read “DOES NOT COMPUTE”? This is the state of being overwhelmed!
Before we go into the tips of how to conquer overwhelming thoughts and situations, you must first know what you are fighting. To be overwhelmed is to be in a state of defeat… usually mental defeat. Being overwhelmed (as defined by Stan) is being in fear. This is when you’re afraid you’re never going to get it… When you can’t see any way out of your situation… When you start looking around you and life is not what you thought it would be. This is when your business is failing, your house is not in order, and your bills are piling up. These are the things that can be overwhelming.
I want you to know everything will be OK. We all have gotten to that point before. You are not alone. Here’s how you make it through:
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Ps. 55:22 NIV) When I start feeling this way I speak to God and tell Him how I’m feeling. “Lord, I can’t do this without you. I need help right now. I don’t know what’s going on but I need you to lead me. Help me Father!” Those are simple words and straight to the point, but your words don’t need to be complicated for God to hear you.
2. Take a Break
Whatever you’re doing when you get overwhelmed, stop. You need to get yourself under control. Take a little break. Go eat lunch, play with the kids, or get to the park… do something to give yourself a quick break. Once you’re calm you’ll be in a better mental state to attack your circumstances.
3. Get Out of Your Head
Most of the negative emotions come from stacking up the problems in your mind. The situation seems most distressing when you consider the worst-case scenarios happening all at once. The reality of the situation is usually not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. So, get a planner, a notebook, or an app and write down your problems. Then, create a plan of attack. Clearly indicate what you want to accomplish and when. This is your master to-do list. You’ll be surprised how much peace comes from having a well-defined strategy to execute.
4. Know your overload point
A lot of frustration can come from trying to take on too much. Stop it! I know I can only handle 3 chores per day. This is on top of the everyday chores that have to get done. Sometimes I can do more, depending on what else is on my schedule or if I have one of those “supercharged” days. However, I don’t schedule more than that. If I did it would be too much for me and just the look of it would psych me out. Know what you can handle and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Delegate is such a beautiful word. Find someone who can help you. Yes, they may not do it exactly how you would, but if you teach them… they will learn! I let the kids put up their own plates after eating. They wipe down the kitchen table. They even clean their playroom. I ask my husband to pay certain bills if I see I have too much going on and may not get to it. Your goal is to get things done. Delegation allows you to get more done than you can do on your own.
6. Have backups… and backups for your backups
If you are not used to planning your days, you should have back up plans. One of the hardest things for me to do was remembering to look at my to-do list for the day. Whether it was in my planner or on my phone I would always forget. Then, I found a great app that not only allows me to create my to-do list but it also emails me every day to remind me of what I have to do. And, since I check my email at least 6 times a day I can’t miss it. As a second option, I ask my husband to remind me of certain things. The purpose of backups is to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, so don’t use them as an excuse to procrastinate. Don’t ignore the 1st and 2nd reminders just because you have a 3rd plan in place.
7. Be willing to experiment
As you start putting your plan into action you may find that it doesn’t work as well as you thought. That’s okay! Observe and make changes where necessary. You may not get it the first time but stick to it. Once we became a family of five I started my battle with laundry. I used to have 2 laundry days a week, but that wasn’t working anymore. I could not get through everyone’s clothes each week; somebody was always left out on wash day. I tried three different plans of action before I settled on doing 2 loads a day. It was the best plan for me. I wasn’t taking away from other tasks and I could easily accomplish it.
Keep going! You are more than a conqueror (Rom. 8:37). Don’t let fear paralyze you! You will beat this. You just have to plan to win!