November 17, 2022

How do I start when I’m overwhelmed?

I don’t know about you, but when I’m overwhelmed it feels impossible to focus and just do one thing at a time which almost always makes the problem feel worse.  So where do you even start?


Stop and breathe.  Meditation is really important, especially when you feel like you don’t have time for it.  Even if you only do it for three minutes.  Put your phone/laptop way, step away from our desk/kids/spouse/coworkers and breathe in and out.  This will help you slow down your nervous system which is essential in order to focus.  If your body is dysregulated, thinking clearly is nearly impossible.

Don’t pretend it isn’t there.

Don’t pretend you aren’t anxious/angry/afraid.  When we pretend or avoid, those things tend to make themselves bigger so that we can’t avoid them.  If you are anxious, close your eyes, breath slowly for 90 seconds and ask what the anxiety needs.  If it needs water, reassurance, a completed task to ask for help whatever the thing it wants, check in and see if you can do that.  

There are times this is not possible, particularly when it wants clarity or information that is not available or when you want someone else to do something.  It’s ok to acknowledge that you wish you could have something that is simply not available in this moment.  

What is the next most right thing?

If I can’t have the thing I believe will give me relief, what is the next most right thing/action?  What can I do to take care of myself in this moment?  Maybe you do need to get water, go for a walk, etc.  Or perhaps the most right thing is to send the email you have been avoiding.  After you give yourself a moment to breathe and be sincerely curious about your own needs, give yourself the opportunity to allow the next most right thing.  

Do it again.

I will often hear from people that they tried something once and it didn’t work so they didn’t do it again.  That is a bit like saying, I went to the gym once and I didn’t leave with a 6-pack so there is no point in going back.  When we are really facing something difficult, we will likely need to take several moments to breathe.  At first, I would encourage you to do it for at least three minutes, three times per day.  This will give you a mini reset multiple times through the day to refocus and help to soothe your nervous system.  And before you think to yourself that you don’t have time, how many minutes to do you waste on social media a day?

The more practice your body gets at soothing, the easier it will be and the more quickly you will feel relief.  My challenge to you is to do it again and again.  Unfortunately, there is not a quick fix to real and lasting change.  In fact, the golden rule of change is that it is difficult.  If it were easy, no one would be stressed.

This is hard AND you can do it.

As always, I’m here.  If you are ready to work on having the life you want, call me and let’s get started!

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