Often I can find myself with what feels like a day of endless tasks.  The pressure mounts and I wonder how I will ever get it all done.  This is an issue anyone can come across from the stay at home parent who feels overloaded with all the chores, the kids, the daily scheduling and trying to fit in time for themselves all the way to the busy workaholic who has a workload so full it’s enough to make anyone’s eyes water.

Whilst I can’t  offer a complete solution, I have come up with a list of my 5 top tips in managing overwhelm.  These are the things I do when I feel lost in a mountain of tasks and doing them helps me to recalibrate and refocus on where my energy is actually needed.

  1. Take some time out.

Whilst this may seem counterproductive. Taking that time out to just breathe and re-balance will allow for fresh ideas and renewed efforts to follow.  This might be as simple as having a cuppa away from the desk space.  Just step away for a while and leave what needs done where it is, physically and mentally.  Just be with yourself for a while, perhaps even doing something you enjoy, something that fills your mental cup back up.

  1. Prioritise

What are your immediate tasks?  Define which tasks are extra steps that you’ve created on your own.  Does the hoovering really need to be done today? 

It is so easy for us to make the list bigger than it really needs to be, finding all the really small insignificant things and adding them to the already full plate.  Find out what those things are that can wait for another day.  Focus on the areas that really are first priority and if the day allows then you can fit in some of the smaller stuff.  Simply put, don’t sweat the small stuff.

  1. Go for a walk

Change your scenery even if its just for 20 minutes. The fresh air and change of scene will re-energise you.  Allowing for creativity to flow.

This is such an important step.  Quite often when we are busy the first thing we drop is the exercise.  Our bodies need movement and fresh air is good for you.  Going for a walk changes the stimulus’ around us, it allows good endorphins to be released in the body which is what helps to improve mood.  Its a bit of self care that really needs to be a priority.   Who knows whilst at one with nature you may even come up with a solution or an idea that will be useful.  When you come back to the tasks at hand you will feel re-energised and ready to deal with the rest of the day.  

     4. Stop the auto cue in your mind.

We all know how easily we can dramatize something.  Making it seem bigger than it really is.  Remind yourself that those big scary things you think will happen if you don’t do x by the deadline, that you created, probably won’t happen.  There is always something you can put to the side, delay or make simpler.  For example; you don’t need to cook a roast dinner change it to something simpler like beans on toast.  When you learn to stop the negative self talk and focus on the positives you will find the task far more enjoyable.  Rather than thinking if I don’t get this assignment done by today, I’m going to be in trouble to when I finish this assignment I will feel pleased with my achievement and that will free up my time to enjoy doing x afterwards.

    5. Ask for help.

Sometimes even just talking to a friend can help you evaluate the situation. They may be able to help you prioritise or break things down into easier chunks.  Delegating tasks where you can.  Ok so your 8-year-old probably shouldn’t be cooking tea on their own but they could help with smaller things or do things with you, why not make it a challenge a game or stick some music on and bop away whilst doing the housework.

So that’s my 5 top tips.  I hope that they are useful to you and help you manage those days of overwhelm a little easier.  Remember to keep yourself hydrated and to eat nutritious foods to keep your mind and body healthy to cope with extra stress.  You are important too, so remember to look after you too.