August in Ibiza was a stress inducing sweat for many. You’ve been working like a dog, with no hire cars or taxis in sight apart from the ones you’ve been stuck behind. You’ve been queuing into town, clubs, toilets, and out again, sweating your bits off and constantly mopping that brow/top lip. And just when the tourists leave your best buddies turn up ‘for the best month of all’ to test your juggling skills a few more times. It can be hard work smiling all summer.
I have coped with August 2015 better than ever before, but when a missed appointment leads to tears I know I’m approaching overwhelm. Overwhelm used to be my middle name. Too many things to do and not enough Esther’s to do them; rushing around on 50 missions plus day to day things going wrong and sending me into overdrive. If there’s any hint of anxiety when you wake up, or that slight feeling of dread when you look at your to do list, you’ll be familiar with overwhelm.
When you’re on the edge it’s easy to fall off, whether you’re pushed by a big avalanche or a small rolling rock. It’s all relative to your inner world. If overwhelm is starting to feel like the uninvited guest who keeps on visiting, try these tips to avoid it. Some may seem so obvious you may laugh and shake your head. But until you actually start doing them, I reserve the right to point them out.
- Get outdoors. When you’re feeling overwhelmed at the desk of despair, get out in nature and breathe in the views. Even if it’s raining! Your energetic vibration automatically rises in Nature, and there’s nothing you can do but feel better.
- Don’t beat yourself up. We’ve become so used to having a mental go at ourselves that it’s the natural knee jerk reaction. But it only leads to more overwhelm; now you’re being mean to yourself as well as your neighbour!?
- Repeat the mantra, “I have all the time in the world, to do everything I need,” as life coach and nutritionist Hilary Easlea told me http://www.livingessentials.co.uk/. This is a new perspective instead of reaffirming how little time there and increasing your panic. Even if it doesn’t feel true, persevere.
- Breathe. We often forget the effect of a few simple deep breaths when we are getting all agitated. It brings you out of your overwhelmed head and back into your body.
- “If you don’t work for the fire brigade, it can wait. Work and managers-under-pressure put us under stress to get stuff done yesterday. The saying goes: ‘Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,’ but if it’s not worth seriously stressing about, stuff it.
- The flip side of waiting is action. Things tend to get bigger and scarier in our minds, so just make that phone call you’ve been putting off and you’ll feel better. Even if you don’t get the desired result, you moved the situation forward. Only your gut feeling can tell you whether to wait or take action.
- Work on your connection with your intuition. Listen to some guided meditations or simply take time to be still. When you start listening to and acting on your inner voice, you make better decisions, feel calmer, and are less likely to fall into overwhelm.
- Make time for yourself, especially when you feel you don’t have any. Fifteen minutes to write in your journal or do some yoga every day is essential. Not having any you time is partly why you do feel overwhelmed.
- Learn to say no to extra demands; tasks that don’t feel quite right for you and dinners you don’t want to go to, or things that take too much time that you don’t have. If you don’t set boundaries people can’t help taking the piss.
- Limit the amount of incoming messages or at least their notifications on your phone. Otherwise I can start to feel bombarded with WhatsApp, FB messages, texts, calls, and emails all flying my way.
- Check into your email account or FB at certain times rather than having them running in the background and producing more things to respond to. It’s not rocket science. But I bet you don’t always do it.
- Be grateful. Think about something positive to get your head out of overwhelm mode. Search for something good and be genuinely thankful for it. Imagine yourself doing something you love and be grateful.
- Re-frame your reactions. It’s the way you look at something that gives it the negative spin. I missed the appointment I’d been looking forward to all week, but I got more time to finish this post with less rushing around.
- Ask for help when you need it. This applies to co-workers as well as God, the Universe, Source Energy, Mother Nature or whatever you believe is pulling the shots out there. But don’t forget to show some gratitude first.
- Stop rushing around, both in life and in cyber space. Don’t feel like you have to squeeze in another meeting or answer messages immediately. There is absolutely no reason to be whatsapping and driving.
- Don’t attempt to keep appointments in your head. Make a list, prioritise, hatch a plan, and try to stick to it.
- Practise mindfulness and only do one thing at a time. Absorb yourself fully in that rather than multi-tasking, or you’ll end up doing 5 things at once. Check out Cindy Ritmeester for mindfulness tips and courses.
- Mentally project yourself to a place of natural beauty if you can’t get out for another hour, as you vibes will be lifted this way too.
- Use the force. Creatively visualise yourself as that calm, centred person you always wanted to be, dealing with issues in a cool, relaxed manner, sailing gently through your to do list, guided by your intuition.
- Don’t underestimate sleeping and eating. And decreasing any narcotics consumption 🙂