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How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

June 14, 2021

Let’s talk about feeling overwhelmed.

I hear so many women say they feel overwhelmed, feel exhausted, and wish they just had more time to get everything done.

If you’re anything like me these sentences have been on repeat for you throughout most of your adult life so they feel very familiar to you. 

Feeling Overwhelmed and Getting Caught in the Overwhelm Spin Cycle

I felt trapped by the overwhelm cycle throughout my 30’s and it was one of the most difficult life seasons I’ve been through so far.

  • My mind was like a machine working non-stop and I felt exhausted and anxious.
  • I wasn’t sleeping well, I was irritable, and my patience was almost non-existent.
  • My feelings of frustration were growing and I was annoyed with my husband and quick to snap at my daughter.
  • Some changes were on the horizon in my career and I wanted all the answers to magically come to me immediately.
  • And to top it off, I hated my body and was trying every new quick fix diet to change what I saw in the mirror. (Hate’s a strong word, I know, but it’s honestly how I felt.) 
  • I felt unsettled in every area of my life and desperately wanted more.

Instead of looking inside, I was looking outside myself and wanting everyone and everything around me to change.

Knowing what I know now I can look back and see that I created that painful situation for myself. 

I was causing my feelings of overwhelm because of what I was thinking.

What Causes Me to Feel Overwhelmed?

Did you know that overwhelm is actually created by our thoughts?

When we feel overwhelmed we often don’t decide.  We spin in indecision and we give in to feeling overwhelmed.  But feeling overwhelmed is never helpful. This is different than most other emotions that are helpful when we feel and process them.  Overwhelm is an indulgent emotion that keeps us spinning within it.

Think about it. When you feel overwhelmed you’re often paralyzed by everything you have to do or all the things that are going on in your life. Instead of calmly and confidently choosing the next best step and doing that one thing, you overthink things, add more to your to-do list, try to do everything at once, consume more information trying to do it just right, or choose to do something else that feels better and distracts you but doesn’t actually help solve the problem. So you end up exactly where you started. And you still feel overwhelmed.

4 Steps to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

When you get into the overwhelm trap, here are a 4 steps to take to move yourself into a more productive space.

  1. Choose how you want to feel on purpose. 
    • Do you want to feel confident, certain, calm, capable, or even excited?
  2. What could you think that would help you feel this feeling?
    • Make sure it’s something that you can actually believe. This might sound something like this:
      • “I will just start with this.”
      • “Just for today…” 
      • “I will focus on one thing at a time.”
      • “I can start this before I know everything.”
      • “This doesn’t have to be done perfectly. Done is better than perfect.”
    • Related: 10 Signs You Might Be a Perfectionist (Blog Post)
  3. Write that thought down and remind yourself of it regularly.
  4. Then do the thing you’ve said you would do.

Choose How You Want to Feel on Purpose

Think of all the emotions available to you.  Consider going to your favorite restaurant and having a menu with every emotion. Which would you purposely choose?

Remember, overwhelm is always an option. When you choose to feel overwhelmed you’re choosing to stay in a place of inaction.  You’re creating the feeling of overwhelm by what you’re thinking. Noticing your thoughts and choosing to think something else instead moves you out of the “overwhelm spin cycle” and into action.

One Final Note!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and you’d like more help with this, email me at hello@katrinaklooster.com and schedule a free 60 minute discovery call. I’d love to help you learn how to stop spinning in feelings of overwhelm and start doing what you say you want to do.

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