“I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be… whelmed?” Ahhhh, classic ’90s teen movie quote (points to anyone who can name that flick).
Although I don’t even know the answer to that though-provoking piece of pop culture history, I do know that the feeling of being overwhelmed is very real. The past couple of months since I got back from our trip to Australia have been a continuous up and down roller coaster for me – planning a wedding, travelling for work, doing my taxes, applying for Damien’s permanent residency…. all whilst keeping my brand afloat, managing a business and planning my next big project, That Renegade Girl. It was just SO MUCH all at once. And instead of tackling it head on, I just got more and more overwhelmed by the constant running thoughts of everything I needed to get done… and I just avoided it. That tactic didn’t last long, and soon enough, the weight of it all came crashing down. I got irritated and snappy with the people closest to me, I couldn’t sleep at night and I lost the joy in what I do for a living.
What I’ve learned after a few tearful breakdowns, is that I actually have control over most of these overwhelming feelings – that although there are many factors in our lives that aren’t so easy to deal with (the pain of losing a loved one, the exhaustion of having a new baby, etc.), there are plenty that I’m able to change just by stepping back, taking a breather and looking at things from an outside perspective.
Over the past three weeks, I’ve been focusing on how to manage these feelings of being completely overwhelmed, and what I can do to keep them from resurfacing every time life gets busy or throws a curveball my way. Here are five habits I’ve formed that have made a huge difference in both my mental state and physical state (stress ain’t good for the skin, boo boo).
1) Give your calendar some room to breathe.
One of the main reasons we start to feel overwhelmed with life is because we try to be everything to everyone. We pack our schedules to the brim, squeezing in meetings, coffee dates, events and projects until our days are back-to-back from dusk ’til dawn. I found this was something I struggled with the most because of the nature of my job – a huge part of it is to network and be visible. But because of this, I wasn’t getting anything done – my to-do list just kept growing each time I said ‘yes’ to something. So, I started practicing the art of saying ‘no’ – saying ‘no’ to events, saying ‘no’ to coffee meet-ups, saying ‘no’ to new projects. And by making that simple change, by taking control of my time, I suddenly found myself with a much more flexible schedule and even days that were completely void of promises to other people.