Being a new mum and running a business at the same time, I find myself dealing with overwhelm more and more.  Between navigating the ever-changing demands of my little one, and thinking about all the exciting things coming up for Well & Truly, it can often feel too much for my poor brain!  At this point, had I been in the Harry Potter universe, I’d have asked Dumbledore to borrow the pensieve and siphoned off a few pesky thoughts. However, much to the perpetual disappointment of my 11-year-old self, we are not in the Harry Potter universe, so instead I had to take a more structured approach. 

This approach works for any moment of overwhelm, whether it’s caused by work, life or a combination. It follows a few simple steps and hopefully frees up some headspace as well as giving you a moment to step back and prioritise. 

  1. Take a few deep, calming breaths to move out of your stress response state.

  2. Write down everything on your mental and practical plates. Separate these into two lists (there might be overlap) so you can see what you actually have to do and what’s just in your head.  Often we expend a lot of mental energy thinking about something we need to do in 2-3 weeks time. 

  3. Look at your practical plate. Is there anything you can delegate? Is there anything that actually isn’t at all urgent? Make a plan for each item and then write a shorter list of your priorities at the bottom. 

  4. Look at your mental plate. Are there any concerns/worries that you can deal with practically? Are there any that it’d be helpful to talk through? Are there things you can consciously ‘park’ for a while? If you tend towards anxiety and find this hard to do, it might be the time to consider coaching or therapy.

  5. Make a mini list of the things you should really be focusing on, combining your practical priorities and concerns that truly matter right now.

  6. Try to find some time for healthy distraction / self-care. When we’re overwhelmed, it can be tempting to go into overdrive trying to get things done. However, this is likely to burn us out and lead to a bit of a downward spiral. After you go through the ‘plates’ exercise, schedule an hour in the next couple of days to really take care of yourself, however that looks for you. It could be a workout, or something more indulgent like a massage.

Hopefully these steps will be something you can come back to whenever life threatens to overwhelm you. It never hurts to pause, take a breath, step back and assess, whatever is going on. If you feel like you’d benefit from more support, our 1:1 coaching might be for you. Book a call for a free initial consultation over Zoom.