But let's all be adults about it, OK? You're reading this, so you have your head on straight. But you've felt overwhelmed. I get it. I've been there.
So let's all admit that we get overwhelmed. Then you can finally examine the causes, and fix it.
Here are seven things I did that pulled me out from under the crushing feeling of overwhelm. I hope it helps you.
1. Admit to yourself that you can't do it alone.
I know this sounds simple. But you're type A. You fix things. You get it done. You win the award, launch the company and raise a family.
It's what you've done your whole life. You pulled the all-nighters, and people copied from you. Not the other way around.
So it's painful to admit it, but you have to. You can't do it alone.
Get it? Good. Let's keep going ...
2. Change your pattern.
The old way of doing things needs to stop. You can't tell the boss "I got this" anymore. Your responsibilities have grown. Or you're the boss now. So you can't just take on the project. You have a team to look after. So break the pattern.
Best way to do this is to track yourself for a week. Don't do it during the week -- because who the hell has time for that?
At the end of the week, look back. Ask yourself how you spent your time. Now ask yourself what you can do better? Where can you find efficiencies?
I recently moved my entire agency to a remote work force. That meant that I had to switch gyms. It saved me 30-40 minutes driving. That doesn't seem like a lot of time to many people.
But to me, it means my sanity. Sanity wins.
3. Say you're sorry.
This one may be more about me than you. But hear me out.
When I'm overwhelmed, I tend to destroy everything and everyone in my path. The first step to recovery of my relationships (at home an in the office) is to ask for forgiveness.
Maybe it's not just me?
4. Step back and examine why you're doing what you're doing.
Sometimes our behavior makes perfect sense. Other times, we're raving lunatics. I understand that pressure gets to you, but let's examine whey we're doing the things we're doing that are making us crazed. Is this project that important?
Will taking a break destroy our company; make you lose your job etc. Grade the urgency of the project from 1 to 10 (bear with me). I know you're saying that all projects you touch are a 10. But that's not the case. Sometimes, yes, mostly, not.
If you get anything lower than a 10, deescalate, and then read number 5 ...
Maybe the feelings of overwhelm is your body and mind finally syncing up to scream - "get out!". Sometime you're in the wrong situation. You may be at a job that's not playing into your skill set.
Or worse, you may have started a business that you're just not that into.
I did this once. Every day I had a stomachache. I thought it's what entrepreneurs all feel like. I was wrong. When I finally left, the joy I felt at my next company shocked me.
Sometimes you need to blow it all up and just start over.
6. Do something different.
Anything really. What you shouldn't do it lay in bed all day. Get out of the house, run some errands. Call an old friend. Reconnect yourself to the real world.
Not only does it help you feel as if you're moving forward, it will help you gain a firm sense of perspective. The world still moves forward. Life still continues on. You may feel stuck, but getting out into the moving world will help you break the inertia of overwhelm.
I tend to listen to business audiobooks only. Once, when I was feeling overwhelmed and a bit stuck, I took a friends advice and listened to the audiobook "Ready Player One."
My brain loved me for it. I would look forward to my car and train rides every day. The escape, and break from my normal pattern, was energizing.
7. Stay aware of what got you there the first time, so you never go back.
Find your triggers. Did you say "yes" too many times? Were you trying to impress a boss? Did you look at the wrong problems to solve as an entrepreneur? Are there people you can hire to help? Can you focus on other things to get that well deserved promotion?
If you can identify the first steps that started you on your slipper slope into overwhelming despair. Good.
If not, try to pay attention next time.
Let's wrap this up:
Feeling overwhelmed can happen in the simplest moments. We trick ourselves into thinking everything is life or death. The recent death of my Father has added perspective and distance from my day-to-day work activities.
You don't need to experience a death in your family to gain perspective. Ask yourself about the practicality of driving yourself insane over an email that you need to send. Your own personal mental health depends upon it.
Our mental health not only affects us. It impacts our spouses, our families and our children. Change your priorities. Reel in your commitments.
Set the standard for mental health in your life, your business, and your home.
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