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Feeling overwhelmed? 6 practical ways to reclaim control

by James Anderson

From balancing the demands of everyday life, to filtering the constant stream of information from our devices – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed these days. Follow these practical tips from Business Coach and Personal Trainer, James Anderson, to help you reclaim control.

1. Plan

The easiest and fastest way to avoid feeling overwhelmed is to plan your attack of each day, week, month, or year.

Even if you’re currently suffering from “overwhelm” as you read this – the best way out is to plan it.

This means taking your time to plan each day the night before, carefully mapping out the top 3-5 things that “must be done” to make you feel like you’ve won the day.

Overwhelm often results when you’re playing defensively, reacting to events, rather than proactively attacking the key things – that if complete – will likely make everything else feel that much easier.

feeling overwhelmed to-do-list

2. Clean

We’re not saying this one will work for everyone, but cleaning or even tidying away some mess can often help us feel more in control.

During those time when we’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, it’s often the case that our desks, offices, kitchens and living spaces are in a bit of a mess.

So, decluttering and tidying these work/life spaces can feel like a huge win and provides a sense of control and confidence again.

Even if you think you don’t have time – try it. You may often find that in doing so you become far more productive and recoup some valuable time and energy to focus on other important things.

3. Break things down

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the massive amount of information filling our brains every second, often all vying for our immediate attention.

And because we have so many areas in our lives, our mind constantly fatigues as we bounce around from area-to-area without getting much accomplished.

So, try breaking things down by creating sub-lists for each area in your life.

The areas below a good starting point and cover the main areas of daily life.

  • Exercise/Health
  • Fun/Recreation
  • Business/Career
  • Personal Growth/Development
  • Love/Relationships
  • Family
  • Finances

When you’ve mapped out your lists, it’s time to create to-do lists for each of them.

There’s such a huge benefit to having things out of your head and on paper when you’re feeling overwhelmed, as you’re much better able to manage and prioritise the important things and let go of the less important things that often take up far too much mental real estate.

4. Move

Get up and take some time away from what you’re being overwhelmed by and move your body!

Whether it’s running, lifting weights, swimming, walking, yoga, pilates, or even doing something like Zumba – just move.

Moving will help you create some mental space while also also being amazing for your health.

Healthier habits will always create happier lives.

5. Disconnect

Take some time for yourself. It could be 3, 5, 10, 20, or even 60 minutes, but make sure it’s just for you.

This means no people or devices – just you and yourself. You could even combine this with the movement above if you are seriously short on time.

We are constantly connected these days, meaning that we rarely get to spend time by ourselves to restore and recharge.

You may think of this as a selfish act. However, the broader benefits it provides for both yourself and those around you mean acts of self care are always worth prioritising.

Mental Health

6. Ask for help

Lastly, if things are seriously so overwhelming in your life, despite your best efforts – then please don’t be afraid to ask for help.

We often hide our struggles from the world so much so that even those closest to us don’t even know what we’re going through. There is no shame in seeking professional help for any number of reasons.

So, be vulnerable – open up about how you’re feeling. You don’t have to bear the weight of the world on your shoulders alone.

Are you interested in mental health?

Open Colleges offers a Diploma of Counselling which will give you a firm grounding in the principals of mental health. Studying online, you can set your own schedule, completing your studies in your own time and at your own pace.

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