A 3-Step Approach for Reducing Overwhelm

The feeling of overwhelm is particularly prevalent amongst working women. We’re often juggling work commitments with family commitments, friends, our health and fitness… and maybe even throwing in a hobby or two in the mix if we’re lucky. We get pulled in so many directions it can often feel as though our heads are spinning.

The key to managing overwhelm is having a range of strategies in your skillset. Ones you can resort to when you feel the levels of overwhelm rising and threatening to burst the banks.

Action Steps

This simple approach is for the times when your head starts spinning with overwhelm and the stress hormones start to kick in.

In order not to load you up with a list of steps you won’t ever remember, I’ve cut this right down to a very doable 3. Commit these steps to memory as your overwhelm toolkit and use them as needed.

1. Breathe. Deeply. Really Deeply. This will quickly drop your stress hormones and, as a result, slow your feelings of stress and bring calm in the midst of the storm.

2. Narrow your focus to the present moment. Not everything on your list needs to be completed today, this week, or ever. Stop worrying about what you could do, should do, must do etc. Come back to ‘right now’.

3. Ask yourself this question: Of all the things I have to do, what one thing will help tomorrow to be easier than today? Do that thing.

Repeat this process as needed.

Before you know it, your level of overwhelm will have subsided and you’ll be back to feeling on top of things again.

When could you use this 3-Step approach in your life at the moment?

A Low-Cost Way To Refresh Your Body & Mind

Put your hand up if you remember the last time you stopped. Actually stopped. Stopped everything you were doing and took some time to just be. Is it a stretch to remember?

You are not alone.

With so many societal pressures these days, it can be a challenge to take time to stop, relax, recharge and reflect about our own lives. How are we going? How are we feeling? Are we living a life that makes us happy?

A practice that really helps with this, and which is a great way to refresh body and mind, is to take regular time for solitude.

Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It can sometimes be unfairly associated with negative connotations such as loneliness, isolation or seclusion. Yet, solitude can be a powerfully positive thing. It can be a wonderful time of stillness, quiet and refreshment.

It’s an opportunity to be self-focused, just for a while. Not for selfish reasons but for self-care. Solitude is also a time to focus on what you ‘want’ to do – not what you ‘have’ to do. To concern ourselves with our own self, and block out everyone and everything else – just for a while.

Sounds good, huh?

Action Steps

If taking time out for solitude feels incredibly luxurious, that’s a great sign that you need some of it soon! :)

Here’s how to get started…

1. Start small
The smallest dedication of time is all it takes to start. The positive effects of solitude can be borne from the smallest amount of time. Start with 10 minutes and build from there. Most of us can find 10 minutes when we really try. Is it at lunchtime? A quiet pause on the way home? An evening walk perhaps?

2. Enjoy the moment
Drop the guilt. Ignore that nagging voice in the back of your mind, reminding you of your to do list. It can all wait. Just immerse yourself in the precious space you’ve created for yourself. You’ll feel happier and be more productive after you refresh your body and mind.

We can all benefit from making regular time for self care. When could you make some time for solitude this week?

Limiting the Effects of Toxic People on Your Wellbeing

We’re often reminded of the importance of limiting harmful toxins for our body. There are warning labels on certain foods, documentaries made, and even cleanse diets to rid our body of harmful toxins. Should we not enforce such warnings when it comes to the people we surround ourselves with?

Toxic people can wear down your mental and emotional wellbeing in the same way that a steady stream of junk food can throw your body out of sync.

You’ll no doubt be familiar with the traits of toxic people. Their behaviour is predominately negative. They are generally critical, self-absorbed and often create drama around them. They’re the people you feel a sense of dread rise up from your feet to your heart when you see them.

Sound familiar?

If so, the key is in how you manage these relationships. It’s often not possible to avoid these people completely or to expel them from our lives – particularly at work and particularly as we move into the festive season.

The most effective way is to limit the amount of time and energy that you put to the interactions, so that their negative energy doesn’t adversely affect your positive mood, energy and attitude.

Action Steps

1. Limit how often and how long
Set limits on how much time you spend with them. If your time is an obligation you can’t avoid, try to shorten the duration and frequency of your interactions.

2. Limit your emotional engagement
This may be difficult but do try to not take on their energy and opinions. Listen politely but keep an emotional distance to preserve your values and opinions.

3. Limit the interactions if they turn negative
Negativity can breed negativity so set boundaries and stick to them. If they try to engage you in negative behaviours such as gossiping or complaining, try to limit the interaction and exit the situation at your earliest opportunity.

Caring for your mental and emotional wellbeing involves many of the same principles as caring for your physical wellbeing – including limiting unhealthy influences.

Who comes to mind first when you think of ‘toxic people’? What steps might you take to limit the effects of that person on your wellbeing?


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5 Habits of Highly Stressed People (and What to Do Instead)

Out of 10, how stressed do you feel at the moment? I hope it’s a low number! If it’s not, today’s tip is designed to help you.

Often we spend time learning about new activities and habits that lead to wellbeing, yet we remain blind to the habits we have that promote stress instead. I hope this helps you to make some positive shifts towards greater health, wellbeing and resilience to stress!

5 Habits of Highly Stressed People (and What to Do Instead)

As humans, we’ often do things we know we shouldn’t do. Yet it can feel like we are helpless to stop.

Why?

One answer is stress.

When we’re under high levels of stress, we act out of instinct and/or habit – as opposed to knowledge. This is because it’s a faster decision that is made from within our mid-brain rather than our higher order thinking brain.

For many people, there are some go-to habits we resort to in times of stress. They give us quick energy and help us to feel like we’re tackling our challenges. Yet, these habits also eliminate vital elements that can actually reduce our stress levels.

Counterproductive right?

Action Steps

Here are some of the counterproductive habits of highly stressed people – and what to do instead. See which resonate for you and your life…

  1.    Regularly eating unhealthy foods and/or skipping meals 

When we’re stressed, our bodies need greater nourishment for energy, stamina and resilience. Not junk food, or worse yet, no food at all. We crave the energy of fat, starch and sugar yet they only give short term gain, long term problems. Try to choose natural, wholesome, healthy foods instead – at least most of the time. :)

  1. Skimping on sleep

Sleep is essential for a healthy and balanced body and mind, yet stress often leads us to go to bed later, get up earlier and sleep poorly. Adequate sleep resets your brain and repairs any damage in your body caused by stress. Don’t shortchange yourself!

  1. Withdrawing from people

When we’re stressed, we can become so task focused that we reduce interactions with people – even supportive people. Withdrawing from people can leave you feeling isolated which can contribute to even higher stress levels. Make an effort to interact even when you don’t feel like it – it’ll boost your happy hormones (which offset stress hormones).

  1. Not getting enough physical activity

A healthy body is a happy body. Our bodies are built to move. The more you move, the more you’ll clear out those stress hormones and reach a better sense of calm and balance.

  1. Falling into Superhero Syndrome

Yep, it’s a thing. Superhero Syndrome is characterised by thinking that you’re the only one who can do something. As a result, you run yourself ragged and can end up miserable. If you recognise this in your behaviour, try to delegate and accept help even when you don’t want to.

What are you doing at the moment that is enhancing your stress rather than your wellbeing?

Choose one thing and make a positive change. Then enjoy the difference it makes to how you feel!