What do you do with ‘overwhelm’?

You haven’t heard from me as regularly lately, partly due to travel, and mostly because I allowed myself to get overwhelmed by the commitments I took on.

Overwhelm is not my ideal state.

So this is a letter to me from me.

May not apply to you right now…but I’d be curious if you can relate.

Soooo….here goes:

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So…you’re overwhelmed?

Yeah…I get it.

Too much to do…too little time to do it.

Why?

What happens if you don’t do all that ‘stuff’ you think you need to do?

And what happens when you keep feeling overwhelmed?

You get farther and farther behind because you’re stuck.

You feel tired.

You just want to sleep.

You start to feel unworthy, incapable.

Pretty soon all you can see is how incapable you are of doing anything, and now your overwhelm grows into anxious despairing thoughts.

Too much to bear and too painful to face, you attempt drowning the thoughts with whatever distraction you can get your hands on…

Food and information (email, Facebook, etc.) are your go-to distractions of choice.

Any others?

Are you aware of what you’re doing?

But of course distraction only compounds the negativity and leads to self-criticism.

So how do you stop this vicious cycle?

You know all the right things to do to stop it…but why do you feel incapable of doing any of them.

Do you really know how to stop the cycle?

I know what has worked hundreds of times in the past…it’s the routine…the small, simple self-care, and self-love that gets you back to feeling great:

Go for a run.

Meditate.

Write your thoughts, feelings, and plans.

Express gratitude.

Reflect in the mirror, remember who you are.

So why are you resisting those things when you know they work so well?

Is it because there appears to be a mountain of ‘tasks’ in front of you and not enough time to do it all?

If you spend an hour or two taking care of yourself the day is half gone and you won’t have enough time to do all the other things that seem so important.

A tough spot for sure.

But if you don’t take care of yourself, you often lack energy and love for your work and end up dazed most of the day stuck and distracted.

Overwhelm is a big challenge with feeling desire to serve in big ways.

It can so quickly go from loving, passionate service, to the scales tipping when there’s suddenly more to do than humanly possible and it turns what was joyful into drudgery.

Odd phenomenon.

Well…what are you going to do?

What I know works every single time.

The simple things.

Stop. Breathe. Meditate for 5-10 minutes. Write out a list of everything I want or feel I need to do. Including my highest priorities, my relationship with 1- God, 2- myself, and 3- my family.

Then order the entire list by priority.

Then focus, shut off all possible distraction, and forget about everything else except the #1 highest priority until it is done.

Then move to the next in line.

What other course is there?

It’s impossible to focus energy on 2 things at once.

So the only logical thing is to get clear on a list of priorities, and focus 100% of my energy on them in their specific order.

And figure out who I can delegate other things to if possible.

Beyond that just let go and trust God to work out the details…because I can only do what I can do…but experience has shown that God makes things happen in ways I could never imagine.

There is peace in clear prioritizing.

Then just ‘let go and let God’ as the saying goes.

OK, go.

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That’s it for now…time to get moving.

I’m done with overwhelm. Time to make today amazing…

…you with me?

-Aaron

 

……….

Aaron Kennard
Chief Life Lover, Truly Amazing Life Inc.

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