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6 Ways to Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed in your Busy Life


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Becoming overwhelmed is difficult to avoid, with all of the goals, aspirations and dreams alongside the anxieties, fears and struggles of modern life. How often does it feel like there is so much to do but not enough hours in the day? If we continually feel like this, it is very easy for stress to creep up on us and then completely shut us down for days, maybe even weeks at a time.

Ways to avoid becoming overwhelmed

To avoid burning the candle at both ends and becoming an overwhelmed mess, there are 6 steps that you should take to avoid ever arriving at that stage.

Learn the difficult art of doing nothing

You might think that I am crazy suggesting that doing nothing is a solution to all of the things that you have to do but hear me out a sec. When was the last time you truly did nothing? I’m not talking about that time you were waiting in line and scrolled through Twitter. Or that time you wandered around the house deciding what you were going to eat for dinner. I’m talking about actual nothing. The sit in your chair and stare at the wall type.

When we finally switch off, it is common for all of our repressed thoughts to rush in at once. This is perfectly normal. Once those thoughts are done bouncing around our brain, we are left with a void of real clarity and tranquillity. A place where we can clearly see what is bothering us and what can be fixed. Once your mind is relatively free from mindless rumination, you take an important step to avoid becoming overwhelmed in your life.

Create a morning ritual

Another great step to avoid becoming overwhelmed is to create a morning ritual. It doesn’t matter how small or large, how normal or weird it is, as long as you have one. Whether you choose to stretch after you brush your teeth or brainstorm some creative ideas with your coffee; if you have a morning ritual, your life will seem (and be) significantly less cluttered.

When you take that first sip of delightful coffee each morning, your brain and body know it’s time to work. When you finish brushing your teeth, your legs are already getting excited for some stretching. If you know exactly what you need to do, you are much less likely to get overwhelmed in the chaos of unpredictability.

Scrap the to-do list, make an ‘I did’ list

Here’s the thing: I actually really like to-do lists. A bit like the morning ritual, they help me to know exactly what I should do and if I begin procrastinating on a task, I know that I need to cut it out to get the rest of the things ticked off. However, to avoid becoming overwhelmed at stressful times, I often scrap the to-do list and create an ‘I did’ list. Every task that I complete that day, no matter how menial, gets added to the list.

If I took the bins out, that gets written down. If I took the time to enjoy my food, chuck that in there too. At the end of the day, I have a fantastic, confidence-boosting list that reminds me how much I actually accomplish each day. There are no things left unticked that can sometimes irk me; simply all of the things that got done. From there, I can rest easy.

Know what activities help you to reset

Everyone has activities that help them to relax but not everyone recognizes them instantly. It is important to know what activities help you to reset and avoid becoming overwhelmed. Some of mine are reading a book, taking a 10-minute stroll, 10-minutes of meditation, getting a glass of water or simply interacting with another human being. If work is piling up or my mind feels a bit cloudy, these are some great things that help me to clear the muddy waters and get back to feeling my best. What are your reset activities?

Avoid becoming overwhelmed by changing your environment

I don’t know how you spend the vast majority of your life, but what I can guess is that you spend large parts of your day in more or less the same place. Whether that be at your desk, in the same warehouse, at the same cash desk, whatever. Most of these things can’t be changed for long periods of time.

One thing that can be really beneficial for avoiding overwhelm though is to change your environment, no matter how briefly. That might be taking a walk on your lunch break, relaxing in a different room of the house or changing the people that you spend time with. If you begin to feel life piling a bit too heavily on top of you at any point, a brief change in the environment can often be the relieving reset that you need.

Be clear about your priorities

This final point relates quite closely to some of the previous points and manages to tie them up quite nicely. The feeling of overwhelm often comes from not having your priorities straight. It is that nauseous feeling of knowing that you were meant to be making more time to see your mother but are once again browsing the internet for new-garden inspiration. With so many things going on in your busy life, it can be really tough to fit everything in if you don’t have priorities set.

One of the best things to do about this is to set your priorities for the day. Ask yourself: what is one activity/task that, if I completed it and nothing else, would leave me fairly satisfied with my day? There you have your number one priority and a great way to avoid becoming overwhelmed with all of the smaller tasks that often get in the way.

About the Author

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About Anas Alaoui

Anas Alaoui

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