This week I’m talking about overwhelm and some tips to help you shift out of it when you’re experiencing it as an entrepreneur. This topic was again the most voted for on my Instagram page so thank you to everyone who voted, and if you’re not following me yet – head over to @wellbeingweekly on Instagram and give me a follow so that we can connect and you can also let me know what topics you’d love for me to cover.
So overwhelm. I’ve been really feeling this over the last couple of weeks and have been working on a number of strategies to push through it which I’m going to share. I’ve also got a FREE overwhelm recording that I recorded, to listen to when you are feeling overwhelm as a way to support you and reduce your overwhelming feelings – click below to access.
So I’ve just had this feeling like there isn’t enough time in the day for all of the things I need to do in my businesses, and then when you add basic domestic tasks and self care and exercise it feels all a little bit too much for me. My to do list has been full to the brim and while I’ve been doing a good job at chipping away at things, I’ve still had moments where I’ve felt like I’m taking on too much or I’m not capable of what I’m expecting of myself. And I was thinking about this more prior to doing the podcast and I realised two things that are present when I feel overwhelmed are unrealistic expectations and focusing too much on the ‘big picture’. So let me break those down.
I keep a pretty detailed calender of what I need to get done in my day and that’s mostly so that it’s not stored in my head and is a tactic I have to reduce overwhelm in the first place, however often I can overestimate what I’m able to achieve in a day and I’ll place unrealistic expectations on myself to achieve a certain number of tasks that are just not possible in the amount of time we have in a working day. So If I have a day where lets say I’ve got 10 tasks to complete, but with time permitting I could realistically only achieve six, I place an expectation on myself that I should have achieved more or now I have to shift things to tomorrow and now it feels like I’m not getting things done and leads me to overwhelm myself. Ideally, if I only put the 6 tasks or even less, I would have been able to comfortably achieve them without additional pressure or expectations and be FAR less likely to get into a state of overwhelm – and so one of the tips I’ll be covering is sticking to a realistic amount of tasks in a day which I’ll go over in more detail shortly.
The second point I made was looking too much at the big picture, and what I mean by that is thinking about what I need to achieve over say the next three weeks compared to the next three hours. So for example with Wellbeing Weekly, I have so many plans and ideas that I want to execute and if I think about my goals for the next month it feels automatically overwhelming because there’s a lot of work involved, plus I’m still running my full time business during the day so it’s not the case for me at the moment where I’ve got all day to write out blogs or courses. BUT, the point here is, if I was to just focus on the day in front of me and what I can achieve in that day I know that that one podcast episode or that one social media post is one step closer and one task completed that will add up over time and is SO much easier to get my head around and commit to than thinking about all of the things I want to get done in the next month. And that’s going to bring me to my first tip which is to:
Look at the smaller picture
So I love to use the analogy of a mountain. Let’s say your goal over the next three weeks is to climb a mountain. You know you’re going to have to prepare to climb the mountain with training, breath work etc. You’re going to have to organise clothing, food a tent and so on. You’re going to have to reach certain goals along the way.
So if you think about all of the tiny little details and steps required over the next three weeks to get yourself to the top of that mountain, then wow of course you’re going to feel overwhelmed. But what if you switched this to just focusing on the day at hand. What is required of you on day one of the mountain climb, basically it’s to put one foot in front of the other – focusing on the ground underneath your feet and staying present in the moment so that you can take the next step. The same is true in business or with any big goal or task. Yes there may be many steps involved, but focusing on what you can achieve NOW is going to keep you feeling more level headed, capable and empowered.
By chunking tasks, I mean grouping similar tasks into a certain time period. So for example you might do all of your marketing related tasks for your business on a Monday morning so that everything is set up and planned for the week. Or if you’re running a side hustle you might take every Saturday as your side hustle day where you work on as much as you can outside of your regular job. Or you might make Tuesdays and Thursdays your days for client calls only. I know a lot of podcasters do this where they’ll bulk record episodes or they’ll have a week dedicated to recording podcasts that will give them content for a month or so. I don’t do this myself, because at the moment I’m enjoying talking about topics that pop up for me at the time.
But chunking definitely is a useful strategy to reduce overwhelm because it can help to prevent you from moving from emails, to a blog post, to a website update, to a client call and feeling like you’re jumping all over the place and you can get up for the day and know that ok today is my marketing day so that’s all I’m focused on. So perhaps see if there’s a way you can structure your week where you bulk certain tasks together for a morning or a day and see if that helps to reduce overwhelm or the sense of jumping from different tasks.
Ask yourself why and spend time working on the answer
My next tip is to take some time out to ask yourself WHY you’re feeling overwhelmed and try to identify what the answer or solution is that you’re lacking. Often when we feel overwhelmed, it’s due to a feeling of not knowing what to do or not feeling capable of what’s being asked of you, so by asking yourself what it is that you need is a direct route to being able to identify a solution and shift out of overwhelm. So for example, I had a situation this week where I had two things due at the same time and they were both a priority and I was getting a bit overwhelmed with the time restraints and I just said to myself ok what do I need here and the answer for me was that I needed an extra day to get them done to the standard that I wanted, and so I worked out how to make that happen and was able to shift the deadlines. Asking yourself what you need and what you can do to address that need is one of the fastest ways to shift out of overwhelm because you’re finding a solution to the issue and reducing the pressure or discomfort almost immediately.
Meditation / mindfulness / creating space
I always aim to include this as part of my strategies because I just believe in it so much. Even just taking some time out to breathe deeply can make a huge difference in how you experience your emotions. While it’s great to come up with a solution to overwhelm its also important not to completely bypass it and not process the emotion that’s being triggered. An example here might be someone who is in a social situation that is overwhelming to them and the fast solution to this is to just leave, which they do. Yes this reduces overwhelm, but this is not necessarily a helpful strategy in supporting the person’s ability to push through fear and build their confidence.
So creating space to acknowledge and process the emotion and thoughts that are coming up either through meditation, mindfulness or just taking some quiet alone time can be really useful to calm your body and mind and also gain some insight into why it is that you might be getting overwhelmed and allow an opportunity to come up with some possible solutions.
Talk to someone or write in your journal
I know that this isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially if you don’t feel like you have someone that understands your unique business problems. My partner is obviously my biggest confidant if I’m overwhelmed with business or life outside of business because we share both of those things together, but he is also SUPER logical and an awesome problem solver which is great for me, but it can also be hard sometimes if I’m emotional or just need to vent about feelings. Boy’s aren’t always so great with the feelings. If there’s something going on for me that I can’t really talk to someone about, my go to is writing in my journal because essentially its like talking it out. So I’ll add to this tip that you can also write about it, because with talking or writing its about getting the emotions and thoughts out on the table so that you can make better sense of them, wind down and come up with some potential solutions to reduce the pressure on yourself.
Pick your daily 5
This one comes back to what I was saying earlier with my own example of not putting unrealistic expectations on yourself. So I recommend having your daily 5, which is 5 priority tasks to complete for the day and if you complete them and have more time, then you can add tasks as time permits. Limiting yourself to 5 important and priority tasks will help to reduce the likelihood of overwhelm, because you’re clear on what you need to achieve for the day and have been realistic with the expectations of yourself.
Remind yourself that there is always a solution
I believe that we all have the answers within us and that if we allow ourselves the space to go within and really listen, then we will come up with what we need. This is similar to strategy three where I talked about asking yourself what you need, but the difference here is that you are training your mindset to believe that the answer is within you even if you’re not quite sure what it is yet. This is where taking a break from what you’re doing and having some down time, or going for a walk or doing something different can give you some space to distance yourself from what’s challenging you and encourage a possible solution to come forward.
Listen to something
My final strategy is to listen to something that is inspiring or supportive to help you manage your difficult thoughts and emotions. This might be a motivational video on you tube, some uplifting music, a podcast that is helpful around the feelings or challenges that you’re facing. Listening to something is also a great way to distract your mind from overwhelm and give you an opportunity to calm. I use this strategy quite abit and will find podcasts or youtube videos that are relevant to what’s going on for me and it really helps to pull me out of my head and into a zone where I’m able to solve any of the challenges I’m facing.
This point also brings me to let you know about a free recording I’ve made for dealing with overwhelm. I basically sat down and thought about what I would want to hear when I’m in a state of overwhelm and is something that you can save on your phone and listen to if you’re experiencing stress or overwhelm. I actually have it saved to my phone and have listened to it a couple of times – I don’t know if that’s weird, but its kind of like my sub conscious talking to me so you can get that download for FREE if you sign up to the Wellbeing Weekly Email Tribe and choose to get access to my free resource library and you’ll be able to get it sent to your email. I’ve also developed a little checklist image with all of the strategies from this episode listed out that I’ve attached below, so you can save that to your phone as a reference or pin it to your Pinterest so you have it handy.
I trust that this has been helpful if you’re experiencing any overwhelm at the moment. As always, I’d be so grateful if you could leave a review and subscribe to the podcast to help it grow and reach more women. I’d also love to hear from you so send me a message on Instagram or Facebook @wellbeingweekly or tag me in your screenshots so we can connect!
I’ll catch you for quote of the week on Thursday. Bye everyone!