What to do when big changes make you feel overwhelmed.
As is the case with many of my blog posts, the topic this week is very autobiographical! I've mentioned before that I knew 2018 was going to be a year of change for me (which I've welcomed and totally brought upon myself btw), but sometimes it feels like I'm drowning in it! I'm not gonna lie!
Bizarrely it almost seems that overwhelm is becoming my normal, because I keep putting myself in the middle of it voluntarily! I remember when I moved house from Ireland to England while pregnant, then I threw in looking for (and moving into) a studio space, in between exhibiting at two massive trade shows in Birmingham and London too 😳 And now I find myself just having moved house, deciding to move out of my studio and pack my excess stock, going full-time on my business and finishing up with my most fave design retainer client, all while having my Irish mother-in-law flying over to stay 😂 A standard week in the life of Kerry! (Oh and just to ice the cake, it's been 29ºC here for like eight weeks and I totally peak at about 22ºC, so I'm legit melting!) Ha!
Anyway, in essence, it just feels like there's a lot on my plate – you get my vibe 😁
But there are a few go-to strategies I use that really do help me to level out and keep my perspective when by rights, I probably should be rocking back and forth in a quiet corner on my own muttering 'gbhesdksojdihudsb'! 😁 So just in case you feel like you're drowning in a sea of overwhelm too, all in the cause of change, then I've got you boo!
#1: Ask for help
I put this first as I know you, and I know this is the one you're gonna avoid the most! Mainly because you just prefer to do everything yourself, and I feel you, but remember, you're feeling overwhelmed because you're tryna do it all yourself! It's a strategy that's obviously not working so well for you right now, so accept that you're a singular human, and share the load a bit please! Even if it's just getting a bit of help putting a load of washing on while you crack on – it really does help! Family, friend or partner – none of them want to see you at breaking point from stress, so lean on them a little and maybe even flip the situation in your head. If they were at the peak of overwhelm from having a bunch of plates spinning simultaneously, wouldn't you hope that they'd ask you for help rather than crumble under the stress of it all?
And if your overwhelm is through change in your business, then still – ask for help! If you don't have a team to lean on, there are beautiful creations in the world called VAs (virtual assistants) who are there to help you with anything you could possibly need. Google them, speak to them, and feel the weight instantly lift.
#2: Take a time-out
An absolute essential – you've gotta remove yourself from the physical presence of the overwhelm, to give yourself any kinda chance to step up and overcome it. You've gotta take the step of distancing yourself from it to get some real-life perspective, and allow yourself to see that the world is still revolving, despite the fact that you feel it might not be!
So whether that's a physical time-out (simply leaving the office, home or wherever you're feeling the pressure) where you take a walk outside, or grab some food, or generally just change your scenery; whether that's an emotional time-out where you make an effort to catch up with friends and talk about their lives or go get lost in a book; or whether that's an exercisical time-out (new word!) where you go have a run, a swim, a dance class to physically thrash out the overwhelm. They all work, and a combo of all three is an triple-threat-overwhelm-buster! 🙌
#3: List like a pro!
Nothing's more overwhelming than a big, phat cloud of to-dos hanging over your head. All you can feel is the weight of that cloud and all you have to do, and all you can see is the grey-ness of the cloud and that there's no light in sight! So break it down and slice it up into the list of all lists that ever was! 😊
Splurge out everything that's whirring in that cloud of to-dos and write. it. all. down. Y'see, when you can visibly see everything there is to do, it brings you an immediate sense of relief that you can now see it, tangibly. And then when you can see it all tangibly, you're able to begin to make educated guesses on which are priorities and which order they need to happen in. Then before you know it, you're no longer overwhelmed, but you're kicking ass ticking to-dos off that list and shrinking that cloud to see sunny skies! (So many analogies today!) 😂
#4: Stop it and tidy up
I might be showing my age here but I used to freaking love this cartoon back in the 80s. But it's also super-relevant to mention here because stopping whatever is overwhelming you and cleaning or tidying something else is like a superfuel in overcoming overwhelm.
It can be something full-on like cleaning your bathroom, or it could be something smaller like cleaning your deskspace – either way, experiencing that instant 'success story' (in that you managed to take something from unclean to clean, or untidy to tidy) gives you instant gratification and a sense of reward to spur you on for making more success stories of your bigger and mightier tasks. It's all about momentum innit.
#5: Step back
...and see the bigger picture. You're working toward a big change honey, and as overwhelming as the process and the journey can be at times, remind yourself that change is a positive thing. It makes you feel challenged, it makes you feel alive, and it makes things interesting!
When you're particularly caught up in the thick of the stresses of change, try and visualise the best possible outcome from the fruits of your labour. What's the prize you have your eye on? Now visualise that you have the prize. Envisage yourself in a clear picture of the glory ahead once you've got your head around the guts of right now. You've totally 100% got this babycakes. So go get it 💪
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below if you try any of my strategies and you feel they help you out of your vat of overwhelm. A girl loves a bit of feedback! 😁
Until next weekend pookachu 💋