World Mental Health Day: Do you feel overwhelmed way too often?
With my 1:1 coaching clients and also during my group sessions, the most prominent issue that comes up is how overwhelmed, exhausted, tired, and burnt out people are feeling. I call this the “productivity indoctrination” where there is simply “too much to do” and you have the feeling of “can’t stop now” or “have to keep going”. Does this resonate with you? Are you someone who can’t seem to stop “doing?”
I haven’t yet met anyone who hasn’t felt overwhelmed from time to time. This feeling is uncomfortable, and sometimes
totally unpleasant. Most of us also aren’t in touch with ourselves and thus can’t even admit that we are overwhelmed or don’t dare to talk about it. This can leave one feeling even more isolated and alone. We often deny we are overwhelmed because we do not know how to stop this frenzied behaviour that leads to this state. So instead, we do nothing.
This “productivity indoctrination” is drilled into our minds from a young age and the capitalistic agenda of “soldiering on” is fed to us from school. Our friends, family, colleagues, employers and even loved ones do not remind us to stop overextending ourselves as they themselves have been programmed to “keep doing”.
Principally, this pattern occurs in our work life because we are unable to “take a break” but it can extend to our personal and family lives too. Focusing on the tasks you have in hand and the projects you want to complete often begins with good intentions but can easily overwhelm you if you do not train to listen to yourself.
Finishing a project on deadline, designing a new creative, finding new clients to achieve your sales target, training your team, managing daily tasks at your workplace, finding ways to increase your income — are all extremely important — but having a well-adjusted, healthy life, full of balance and pleasantness, is even more important. After all, all that we strive to do is to experience joy in our lives, isn’t it?
It’s time to now take a moment and listen to your body. This stressful pattern that you are used to is telling you something and if you can hear it, it is asking you to change your life! Listen carefully and you will get the message. Once you do, it is going to be easy to recognise the steps you need to take to change this behaviour.
Today, I offer some practical strategies gathered from my personal experience and from my role as a “relaxation coach” for clients who are burnt out. These tactics will diminish feelings of being overwhelmed so that you can refocus with clarity.
#1 - STOP
Completely stop what you are doing for a few moments and take a conscious break. Perhaps take a short walk, call a friend to share what’s going on, find some nature to ground yourself (take off your shoes and socks), spend time in mindful deep breathing or simply sit in stillness to allow meditation to happen. During this time don’t let the “I have so much to do” thoughts come back to you. Instead allow this time to recharge and come back to your tasks with clarity and intensified vigour.
#2 - WRITE
Journaling is one of most powerful
activities you can do to snap out of work fatigue. If you enjoy making lists, then write down the “Most Urgent” things you need to get done. Then make a second list of tasks you can delegate and be open to someone else doing it for you. Make a third list of tasks that you can either outsource or hire someone else to do for you. Writing helps you prioritise your thoughts.
#3 – SAY NO
The most powerful technique to get rid of that sense of feeling overwhelmed is to declutter. Start by leaving WhatsApp groups you don’t get value from, unfollow people on social media whose content doesn’t inspire you. Unsubscribe from needless email and clear your workspace. Remove yourself from places and situations that cause tension. If you want to go further — stop attending meetings where you don’t see value. Learn the art of saying “NO”
#4 – FIND VALUE
Surround yourself ONLY with people who add value to you. If you do not like them, you have no necessity to spend time with them. Even if they are your work colleagues, it’s okay to be professional and deny invitation. Evaluate all your friends and business connections. Stick around the ones that support and honour who you are. You don’t have to share your goals and dreams with everyone. It’ll be prudent of you to do a cost-benefit analysis of every relationship and if someone doesn’t add value to you, why are you even in a relationship with them? This type of discernment will help you find deep satisfaction.
#5 – CHOOSE BALANCE
Consciously choose what is most important in your life. If you want a well-adjusted life, you will have to make changes in your life to allow this to happen. This will take time and planning but it will be well worth the improvement in your life!
Once you decide, then take action TODAY to make a small change in your life! Perhaps sign up for a class you always wanted to attend, study something you always desired to learn, call an old friend who is supportive or work with a relaxation coach who will support and inspire you find balance.
Train yourself to change your thoughts and stop of worrying about what people will think. Recognise yourself as thoroughly capable of reaching your goals. It will be a liberating experience to realise that you don’t have to subscribe to society’s blueprints and that you can write your own script for your life!
Connect with Anjaan across social media @MeditateWithAnjaan