Once again, I am feeling overwhelmed. The house is a mess. I am behind on what feels like a million things, which makes me want to hide somewhere and eat some chocolate. I just want life to run more smoothly and not feel like I have too much to do ALL THE TIME. Anybody else feel like that? I want to stop feeling overwhelmed, once and for all.
My Stop Feeling Overwhelmed Plan
So I have decided to go on a mission. I am going to systematically go through my life and figure out the best way for me to eliminate what is making me overwhelmed. As I do this, I am going to share my methods and solutions with you. So you can stop feeling overwhelmed, too!
Step 1: Purging the Mental Overwhelm
The first step to stop feeling overwhelmed is to get it all out there. Most of my feelings of overwhelm come from me trying to keep a mental tally of everything I am responsible for in my life. So my first task is to sort out what is overwhelming me.
To get started, let’s make 3 lists. (Yep, I am a list person.) Before you even write a single thing down though, think about where would be the best place to keep your list so it doesn’t get lost. A physical paper hung up on the fridge? A digital version on your phone or laptop? Confession, I absolutely despise keeping track of papers, so my lists are almost always kept on my phone or computer. Less clutter, in my opinion. But make sure you do what works for you. If you find out one way doesn’t work, try another way. The important thing is to find a system that work for you.
Free Printable to Help You Get Organized
If you like pretty printables, I created one that walks you through the steps I created to help you stop feeling overwhelmed. Fill out the form below to get it.
List 1: Things I Do Well
First, let’s make a Things I Do Well List. This is a list of things you are handling well in your life. (Wash dishes every day, get clothes ready the night before, use a budget, etc.) This lists is going to help to remind yourself that you are doing many things already that reduce your feelings of overwhelm. It may be hard to think of these things because you automatically do them, but make sure you write a few down.
List 2: What Overwhelms Me
Next, let’s make our What Overwhelms Me List. (Money issues, paperwork, clutter, grocery shopping/cooking, etc.) Just write for a few minutes and try to focus on the top offenders causing you the most overwhelm.
List 3: My Expectations and Worries
Let’s make a third list of worries or expectations that you or somebody else is placing on you. My Expectations and Worries List might include: wanting my house to look picture perfect at all times, making sure my children eat a well-balanced meal including fruits and vegetables at each meal, etc. Often times when we write or say our expectations out loud, we begin to see how unrealistic some of them are.
As much as I would love to think I can control certain situations, I am going to admit, it would take ridiculous amount of time and effort to keep my entire house looking picture perfect at all times. A more realistic thought is that a more organized and cleaner house would help me feel less stressed. Although that is very general, we’ll get more specific later. Now I can move “an unorganized and messy house” over to my What Overwhelms Me List.
Instead of writing each list one at a time, I actually ended up writing things down on each list as something came to mind. Take a few minutes to jot down what comes to mind. You are going to hang on to these lists, and when you think of something, just add it to the list.
If you are struggling to come up with a list or just feel stuck, take a look at the list of life areas: money, household management/chores, marriage, relationships, parenting, work, and time management. Try to pick 2 or 3 of these that are really stressing you right now, then try to get a little more specific with what issues are overwhelming you.
Step 2: Focus on What Overwhelms You Most
Keep all of your lists. Now take a look at your What Overwhelms Me List. Try to pick 2 or 3 things that are stressing you out the most. You are going to focus on these 3 things for the next few weeks. Try to find solutions for only these items. Proceed with the rest of the stuff like normal, you will get to them. Trying to make too many changes at once creates adds to your feelings of overwhelm and limits your chances of success. You want to stop feeling overwhelmed, not add more to it.
We are trying to make manageable small changes in the areas that overwhelm us the most. The idea is that you come up with ways to tackle your most overwhelming issues and try these solutions out until it becomes a way of life. Then you can move on to the next most overwhelming issue in your life. By tackling only a few at a time, it becomes easier to make changes and helps you stop feeling overwhelmed.
Step 3: Create a Realistic Solution
Two areas of my life I would like to manage better and stop feeling overwhelmed about are money and time management. I am going to focus on these two areas first. Next, I am going to get more specific on each of these areas.
Here is what it might look like:
I am overwhelmed about money. I am tired of not knowing where all of our money is going and not feeling like we have enough money. Although we have a budget, we have not been using it in the best way.
I know that creating a monthly budget and following it is the best way to handle our money. I also know I actually feel better and more in control of our money when I use a budget. I also feel like I have more money, and the idea that budgets are constraining is just a myth. (Here is my guide to creating a budget.)
Why haven’t I been implementing this solution already?
I know that we should be creating budgets as a couple, but that hasn’t been happening. We have been trying to work on the budget once the kids are asleep, but we end up not working on it because we feel too tired at that point to do it. Let’s make time on the weekends, during the day, to work on our budget instead. I will suggest to my husband we find a good time where we can work on our budget each weekend. Sometimes we will be just tracking expenses or making adjustments. If we do it every weekend, it will only take 15 minutes most weekends, but a little longer when we create next month’s budget.
Now, I have a very specific plan to implement to help me feel less overwhelmed with money. I will work on that for a few weeks. Next I need to examine my feelings of overwhelm around time management. Once I have a solution there, I will work on that for a few weeks. Once I feel these solutions are both in place, I am going to pick two more items from my What Overwhelms Me List.
Take it One Step at a Time
Your goal is to break up that What Overwhelms Me List into manageable pieces, so you don’t try to solve everything at once. Which is what I tend to do. Also, it is easier to make a couple small changes at a time. Over time the small changes will add up to big change that will help you stop feeling overwhelmed.
If we start to feel overwhelmed again, which we probably will, we can go hide together and eat some chocolate. And then we will try again tomorrow.