5 STEPS TO OVERCOME OVERWHELM IN YOUR LIFE
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Remember when you were younger and life was easy going and simple, you didn’t have to worry about your life, money, job, business, relationships because someone else, probably a parent or guardian was doing all the worrying?? Yeah, the good ol’ days!!
One day you wake up from all of that good life and boooom badam boom, life hits you in the face, you have to worry about school, your grades, what to eat, where to work, work deadlines, finances, business, your relationship, when is the beau that the lord has made coming, how to keep the beau when he finally arrives, marriage, children, family, health, community impact, when will I blow? The list goes on and on….
As a student, entrepreneur or working class professional, life gets so busy and overwhelming that you find yourself in a rat race where you are trying to keep up with your goals, dreams and ambitions and it seems like the more you think you have it figured out, the more it appears like nothing is working out as planned. One minute you are determined and focused, the next you are disorganized, disoriented, overwhelmed and unproductive. Let me just leave a disclaimer like my Pastor, Jerry Uchechukwu Eze @jerryeze would say “This message is not for everybody”. This post is not for you if your life is perfect and you don’t get overwhelmed and you are just chilled every time…. good for you and congratulations. But if this message is for you please read on.
Here are 5 easy steps you can take to overcome overwhelm and stay focused and winning at your goals:
Step 1: Take a deep breath and calm down:
The first thing I often times say to people who are panicky around me is “calm down”. Some people get offended by it, others just look at me and say, you have come again. A friend said to me one time, “Can’t you see that I’m worried? you are here telling me to calm down”. The truth is, worrying never solves the problem; in fact it could make it worse, because you could worry and make bad decisions or develop high blood pressure. We breath every day, it is a natural phenomenon and confirmation that you are alive but some of us don’t know how to take deep breaths, and I’m going to teach you how to breathe deeply. Here we go… Simply breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, draw in air and feel it in your lungs, hold it in for 3 seconds, now exhale slowly through your mouth, you can feel the oxygen saturating your body. Feels good right? Yes. Among other benefits, scientists say that when we breathe deeply, we oxygenate the blood which causes our brain to release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that help to reduce stress in the body and produce a calming effect. Being in a calm state of mind will help you to think clearly and critically about your current situation so that you can make the right decisions as it relates to your goals.
Step 2. Find Your Why:
Take out time to think about that goal you are trying to achieve, and ask yourself these questions: Why is this important? How is it relevant to my life? How does it contribute to the woman I have been created to be? How is it relevant to my purpose? How does it take me to my next level? The truth is discovering your why helps you to stay focused. It helps to fuel your passion for success and helps you to give your best to whatever it is you are doing per time.
I remember very clearly how tough and challenging law school was for me, it was one of the most stressful seasons of my life. The stress was almost unbearable but knowing that at the end of it all, if I gave my best, I would in no time be regarded as a minister in the temple of Justice kept me motivated. Knowing that after the stress and hustles, I would become a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, kept me going until I eventually made it and became a lawyer. Was the experience worth it, definitely! So get clarity of your why and focus on it. No matter your why, make sure it makes you happy.
Step 3. Keep a Notepad
One of the best things you can do when trying to organize yourself to achieve your goals is to have a writing material handy, in this case a notepad where you can write down the things that are important to you. I have always been a lover of notepads, journals and diaries, especially beautiful ones; because they help me take note of thoughts, ideas and information that are important to me, that way I don’t miss them. I also use my notepads to plan my week, track my goals, create a to-do-list daily and weekly, this helps me to focus on specific tasks per time. This habit has helped me to achieve amazing results in my life, career and business. This also motivated me to create a personalized planner which I’ll be launching sometime soon.
You can use a notepad to plan, set your goals and create a to-do-list per day or week to help you keep track of your goals and what to focus on.
When planning and setting your goals, ensure that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound). For each goal, itemize the resources you need to help you achieve them. I have a Free Printable Goal Crushing Worksheet you can use. Click here to download it ==> bit.ly/HBNFreeGift
I also advice that you try as much as possible to plan your week on Sunday night or Monday morning just before the week starts. This will help you reflect on the things that are important for the week and focus on them. Importantly, don’t try to do everything at the same time, focus, learn to prioritize your activities and tasks using Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle; that is, identify tasks that are important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important but urgent and not important and not urgent. Using this principle will help you focus on the things that are important to your goals and the ones that are just distractions. Always, always avoid the distractions.
Step 4. Take advantage of Technology
In case you have never heard me say this before, hear ye: Technology is one of the best gifts from God to mankind, take advantage of it, use it. That mobile device you have should be a power tool in your hands. Some of us have smart phones but our lives do not reflect that. With the rise of digital and tech tools, there is so much we can achieve in our various industries using technology…from business to finance, family, work place, church, school, market place, etc. Technology has been saving lives.
These days, access to the internet is becoming affordable, even though not as affordable as we would like, but we are in the league of progressive people in Africa and we will keep pushing till we achieve Internet Access for All. For now, use what you have. It is enough.
Start with the free google tools on your smart phone, like Calendar, Keep, Drive, Duo, Hangout, etc. You can use mobile apps to plan your day, set reminders, automatic responders to your email, plan, schedule and post on your social media, have online meetings with people you are not in the same city or continent with, and so much more; thanks to technology and the internet. So instead of being afraid of technology and the possible evil it can create, think of all the amazing results you can produce using technology.
Step 5. Find Your Happy Place
Sometimes, it’s the environment that causes you to drown in worry, confusion and disarray.
Take some time to scan your environment, what is creating the overwhelm, confusion and negative emotion you feel every now and again? Do you need to relocate? Can you re-create your environment? Maybe you need to let some people who contribute to the worry and negative emotions go, oh yes, sometimes you have to.
Maybe you need more positive, empowering and inspiring people in your space to help keep your fire and passion up! So reflect and review.
Here are some things you can do when you are overwhelmed and you need to recreate your environment: Take a walk, exercise, pray, meditate, try yoga, speak to a loved one, laugh, watch a movie, go dancing, travel, listen to music that you love (Don’t go around listening to heartbreak songs when you are feeling heartbroken, that heart will never be whole).
Essentially, do what makes you happy and protect your happy space by focusing on happy thoughts.
I particularly love how Philippians 4:8 puts it:
Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Which of these steps are you already taking?
What other things do you do to help you when you are feeling overwhelmed?
Please share in the comment section below!