Operating In Overwhelm

May 09, 2024

Have you gotten the "how are you" question lately and just don't have the time or energy to list out how you actually are or the capacity to think of all the things to assess if you are actually ok in each of those areas?  Yeah, I can relate.

So, you just say, "fine" or "great" and reciprocate with a "how are you?" when they reply with the same falsehood.  

The fact is that most of us work in overwhelm.  A 2023 Gallop Poll found that 49% of the US is completely overwhelmed most days and our kids with their under construction brains are even more so.  So how can we find our way through in a positive and productive way?

There are 3 lists I want you to do and this can take as little as 5 minutes a day and give back to you in return hours of life and years of thriving.  I know it sounds crazy, but it is true because the more we are trying to carry, the more weighed down we are and we can not operate at our best at that level.

There is a short video of a man running with no weight and then progressively more and more weight that I saw recently.  At first it is ok and not too bad, but then more and more gets added until it is too much and he is barely moving.  That is exactly what it feels like when more and more tasks, decisions, pressures, situations and conflicts are being added to your plate.

So, what are these lists?

1. Make a list of everything in your brain to get it out!  It can feel like a boulder on your shoulders to carry so much or even poison in you that needs to be let out.  Just write it down and no one needs to see these lists but you.

2. Make a list of the things that ground you and make those a priority.  If you do not do what is best for you, especially at the beginning of the day, you can not pour out in your work, your family, your passions or on others.  Things like movement, reading, quiet time, a hobby, prayer, scripture, meditation, a walk are all great examples of this.

3. Make a list of everything you have to get done and triage them in order of importance from need to want.  I know it can feel like it is, but not everything is imperative!  Time sensitive things go first, value driven things are next (if you don't know your values yet, check out this list by Brene Brown and whittle it down to your top 3 and siphon your life through them) and then the wants go next.  Once it is all out there on paper it is so much less intimidating than all of these things running into one another in your head.

Now you have it all in front of you.  You have the poison out, the weight off, a clear vision of what needs done and how to set yourself up for success to do it! 

Then... just do the next right thing.  All any of us can do is the best we can do.

Follow these 3 simple steps for every overwhelm in your life from the tall to the small so you can get through, create space for freedom and go to bed knowing you did your best and, best of all, go to bed without the weight of a thousand to do's.

When you get into the practice of doing this for yourself you can show up better AND get more accomplished and... teach your child to do the same.  As simple as 1-2-3 !


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