For a majority of people nowadays, life bears stark resemblance to a house of cards. Most of us are teetering along unsteadily, just managing to hold up the sky-high list of stressors and commitments. No wonder life feels overwhelming at times. Sometimes, it seems that if we just add one more card to the pile, the entire mess will come crashing down. And believe me, the feeling is not good. It is not worth living that way, yet it is all so normal for most of us because we are used to putting up with it. We are really exhausted.
So, do you feel that life is overwhelming and impossible? I know that and I can really hear you. Our personal journeys and experiences may be different, but I can empathize. And I know you are sick of hearing phrases, like ‘be positive’ or ‘it will all work out’. You may be giving everything you can but still results are not as good as you expect them to be. You are worn out, and really need that great hug or probably a bubble bath and most of all just want to get there already. Here are a few useful approaches that can help you or your loved ones turn down the dial on “overwhelm”:
Start Taking Good Care of Yourself
When you find yourself in a situation where taking a step forward pushes you five steps back, take time out for self-care. This ‘turning your life around’ stuff is not easy, so be nice and good to yourself. Relax and get yourself into a bubble bath, read a nice fiction book, take a power nap or just go out on a date with a good friend. Nurturing and indulging yourself every step of the way will help you in developing more resilience at an amazing pace. Soon you will feel that even 10 steps back are a minor misstep and you will pop right back up ready to move ahead.
Never Stop Trying
Take timeouts and relax when you need to, but never give up or succumb. Making serious changes in your life often entails rewiring your brain, getting out of what is comfortable and known, taking a sledgehammer to various, or even all, parts of your life, and altering your ecology, to name just a few things.
I will mention it again, this turning your life around stuff is not easy. Not even a little bit! It may seem simple in theory but it is insanely hard in reality. You probably do not have memories of the days you used to fall when you were first attempting to walk. But you do get the message I am trying to convey. It is all about patience, practice, perseverance and resilience. You may even have a complete meltdown, but do not quit trying. Most people achieve their dreams, and so can you.
Don’t Do it all Yourself
Always get the requisite support, whether it involves crying to your best friend, or engaging a mentor, coach or counselor. Do not hesitate to join a community or a program, ask for assistance when you require it, or read books by authors who have been in your situation. Life overwhelms everyone, so you are not going through this alone. There are people who have successfully made their way out of challenging situations and have written books and articles about how you can do it as well.
Take maximum advantage of the reservoir of experience and knowledge you have at your disposal and get appropriate support. Although you can do it on your own, there is nothing wrong with seeking help and getting to your destination sooner rather than later. Mentors, books, counselors, coaches and communities are all important, and they are out there so put them to good use.
Don’t get Mad
Especially at me, as I am going to repeat that clichéd phrase stay positive. I realize how irritating it can be, as I was not a fan of that statement. However, if you want to change your life you will have to change your mind set. Don’t get mad and stubborn. There is a reason why people say clichéd things and that is because they are hugely transformational and have the potential of changing your outlook on life. More importantly, these things are true and they work only if you are committed.
Learn to Say No
This simple habit of saying no, diplomatically and graciously, can be a real lifesaver in many situations. Most people who regularly feel overwhelmed simply fail to set reasonable boundaries and limits for themselves and commit to more than they can reasonably achieve. Don’t just say yes whenever someone requests you for a favor. Instead think about it carefully and only commit when you know you will be able to honor the commitment.