Tag Archives: feeling overwhelmed

overwhelmed and frustrated

‘Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”  Pope John XXIII

More and more people are overwhelmed by all the things they have to do.   There is a list and another list and lists that have long been buried.   Lists upon lists of things to do and they all seem important and necessary to do.   It creates a sense of overwhelm and lower energy to do the work.    How do you move beyond the feeling of being overwhelmed?

The first step is to define and list all the things that are important to you, things you value and list them in the order of importance to you.    What is the most important thing?   Is it money, relationships, career, spirituality, family, health, personal development or something else?    Do you know what you value, what you place first in your life?    What are you placing first in your life?

If you value relationships and spend very little time growing those relationships there will always be a tug towards the values you hold and over time that tug will grow into more than just a tug.    When you are living in a way that doesn’t align with your values it is easy to get overwhelmed, frustrated and upset.

What steps can you take to overcome the frustration of being overwhelmed?

1. Write down all the things that are you feel need to be done. All of them, small or large.

2. How important are those things?  Do they need attention immediately, in a day or two, or longer (a week or a month).

3. Rewrite the list and put those things in the categorized of immediate, soon, and later.

4. Estimate how long it will take to do the “immediate” tasks.  Minutes, hours, or days.

5.  Which one is the most important of the immediate tasks to complete now.

6. Do it and get it done.

7. Now, how much time do you have left today to complete those “immediate things”?     Will you be able to complete these tasks?

8. What can be re-negotiated?   What can you do last?

9. Take a break … 10 minutes, refocus, re-energize, take in some deep breaths.   Relax

10. Start on the next most important task.

Now 10 steps may seem like a lot of tasks to do to just whittle down the immediate list to something that is manageable  and that is because it allows you to focus on what is the most important right now.   Work on lowering the stress by getting things done.  Little things create a win and may give you the energy to tackle a bigger item.   Keep moving forward through the list.   If you get all the immediate tasks done, work on something that is coming up.   Prioritize that list and do what you can.  Keep removing things off of the list.

It may take some time to shrink the list down but applying effort each day, doing what you can will help reduce that feeling of overwhelm.

If you can’t get it all done yourself, see who you can find that can help you.  Is there a friend that could spend a couple of yours shrinking your list.  Is there an employee that could take a few of the tasks.   Distribute the workload if it is more than what you can do alone.

If the work was given to you by someone else see if you can reschedule some of the work.  Get some help so that you don’t get too far behind.

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
Henry David Thoreau


“Feel like I’m riding on a chartered plane of broken hearted pain. Turbulence is constant my pilot has gone insane.”   J. Cole


Events of life that pull us  in one direction and then in another.  Sometimes you’re under the water frantically fighting to reach the surface.   Gasping for air you take in a deep breath and feeling lucky to have that breath.   The heart is beating wildly as a surge of adrenoline courses through the arteries as you feel relief and fear at the same time.   In those moments of great stress the body responds and responds quickly.   There is very little if any thought on what needs to take place in the moment only that something has to take place so that you can get air in the lungs again.  

Stress in moments of real danger is built into the fight or flight response that everyone experiences at some point in their life.   The body naturally takes over when there is no time to “think” about what should happen.   Right or wrong the brain does what ever it can to stay alive.  

That  kind of overwhelming stress is important in those life or death situations.   In every day life that feeling of stress does not serve you.   Stress and the associated hormones rob you of  the life you desire.   Stress creates tension, poor eating habits,  lack of sleep, and an unhealthly lifestyle.   Just look around you and look at the people you say moving through life.   What do you see?   Do you see people who are not getting enough sleep?   Do you see people who have eating disorders and who have unhealthy lifestyles?   What part of those life styles are due to the stress of life?

Over the years things happen and they created a sense of stress.  Left unresolved those stresses are carried around with you every day.   Those stresses form a stress baseline from which you operate.  You can add to the baseline stresses (habit stresses perhaps) and overtime that baseline stress goes up.   More stress but not enough stress that is causes a lot of problems.   Maybe there are just a few more headaches than there were before and maybe there are some unexplained pains.   Perhaps there are some tighter than normal muscles but nothing that can’t be dealt with.   The pain isn’t chronic it just shows up once in a while.  

Then comes the visit by someone and you desire to please them by inviting them to your home.   This disrupts your daily patterns and adds some stress knowing that you have entertain this guest, feed them and do things that are outside of your normal daily routines.   A couple of days and it isn’t too bad.   A few hours less of sleep, the normal exercise program is put on hold and there is just a bit more extra eating and celebrating.    A few more days pass by and the guest entertainment activities are cutting into other things you really enjoy to do.  You’re losing more sleep and you’re less energetic than you were before.   Now, work is becoming a bit more challenging with less sleep and the engagement level is declining.   A rush order comes in and you’re the person that is called to handle it.   Less sleep, more work, and  at a time  you feel you should be entertaining your guest.   The pressure to get the work done is annoying, the work is more difficult and you feel tension building up.   You want to get home and you’re working later.   You make a few mistakes and correct them … time is going by and you’re falling behind.   The muscles tighten up, the stomach gets upset and you’re uttering words that aren’t a normal part of your vocabulary.   You’re experiencing stress.   Now you’re a bit angry … tired and hungry as well.     You finally get out of work …

As you rush out of the building to the car you take a glance at your watch and see that you’re just about two hours later than usual.   The burning sensation in the stomach grows just a little bit and you race out of the parking lot.   One red light, another one and another one.   You’re tired of waiting … and you make some quick moves in and out of traffic maybe exceeding the speed limit a bit.    A quick glance in the rear view mirror and you notice some bright lights flashing.   As a well trained driver you pull over to the side of the road to let the police car pass and it follows you to the side of the road.   Great … more stress.    Add to that moving violation that fact that the insurance has lapsed and is out of date … more stress.

It doesn’t take much to create a scenario where stress starts to compound and it brings you above your threshold that you can bear.   All it will take is one word from anyone and a fusillade of unfriendly speech will cascade into their face.  

Now the stress has exceeded the normal threshold and in a sustained state starts to bring about more severe stress complications producing  sadness, grief, increased anger or  withdrawal.  

Where is your stress level?   How are you dealing with your stress?