Beat the Beast of Overwhelm Back in its Cage

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the things on your list – like they are a 10-ton gorilla who has all the intention in the world of sitting on you at any second?

If you do, you are not alone and just to make you feel better about this 10-ton beast, I would offer the following:

Overwhelm is a habit just like being super calm is a habit. Without getting into the science of it all, let me say that whatever you practice over and over will become automatic. Including saying and doing things that indicate you are overwhelmed (big sighs, eye rolling, complaining, etc.) or saying and doing things that keep you calm in the face of many things that all seem like emergencies right this second.

What should you do if you find yourself eye to eye with your gorilla? Try on the following tips.

  • Investigate the exact facts of your situation. Do you really have 1 million emails to read? Or is it 12? Do you have 1000 things to do before you leave for the day? Or is it 4? Do you have 10,000 cupcakes to bake for your kid’s class or is it 32?
  • Chunk down your to do list into bite sized pieces. What needs to get done and what are the deadlines?

Important note(s) about your list:

  1. You are unauthorized to add things to your list just to fill up the page.
  2. Take one step at a time.
  3. Keep going.
  4. Give yourself a specific task with an unreasonable deadline. If you have exactly 20 minutes to get something done, done it shall be in 20 minutes.

Just like our imaginary 10-ton gorilla, YOU are a powerhouse of strength, agility, grace and fortitude. YOU are as unmovable as that gorilla if you decide to be and by decide, I mean harness your mind, commit to your task, move distractions out of the way and put the beast back in its cage.

If you will use the two tips listed above, you will find yourself with time on your hands (that’s a whole other conversation), calm and peace like a lovely shawl, and the ability to be present with the people you love.

Why did I include the important notes about your list?

First, from experience, I felt I needed to fill up the page so no one thought I was lazy. When in truth, the laundry and the automatic things really didn’t need to go on my list so I could tell everyone I had 1000 things to do. I was creating my own overwhelm hell.

Second, I would lose focus not just taking one step at a time. I would think ten steps ahead and become paralyzed with fear – and my gorilla would sit on me.

Lastly, I overestimated the amount of time I thought I needed to do things – not that projects don’t take time and often more than we think, but I started from a place of overwhelm, created so much unnecessary stress and drama around all my projects and tried to manhandle my days (and my family) so I had the huge chunks of time I thought I needed. I really only needed my kids to watch a movie or play outside while I FOCUSED and get the thing I needed to get done – done in less than a couple of hours.

My mission is to help people use their words, gifts, time, energy and ability to do the things they love. I know the first obstacle is always ourselves and when we use our words against ourselves, the battle gets worse. If we know (with clarity) what we need to do, take off the extra fluff of drama and exaggeration, and get to the first step – we are on our way to peace, freedom and all sorts of other goodies that come with taking on our lives.

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