I recently talked about the things that I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed on my Instagram stories, and followed up with a poll asking you guys if you’d like a blog post on this topic. Most of you said “HELL YES!”, so here it is!
Who doesn’t feel overwhelmed from time to time? I think it’s becoming more common all the time as the rates of anxiety are on the rise too. Funnily enough, we’re becoming so anxious about all the stuff that we have to do that it actually stops us from getting anything done. Another one of life’s lovely little ironies we could definitely do without!
But all joking aside, it’s a really awful feeling. Sometimes we can’t see the wood for the trees, there’s just too much, and it can paralyse us. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the very knowledge that we’ve loads to do but are getting absolutely nothing done only proves to intensify our anxiety and make us even more overwhelmed and less productive. It’s a vicious circle.
But thankfully there are things we can do to help snap ourselves out of that paralysis and start ticking things off our to do lists at last. Here are the three things that always help me to overcome that feeling of being overwhelmed, and get shit done! Let me know if you give any of them a try, or if you have tips and tricks of your own in the comment section below!
1. The 1:1 Ratio Rule
Prevention is always better than a cure right? The 1:1 Ratio Rule is something I’ve been doing for a while now and it goes a little bit like this. Every time I do one thing that’s relaxing, enjoyable, or just down right indulgent, I make sure I also do one thing that I need to do too.
For example, if I decide I want to stick on the telly once Rosie’s gone to bed and watch some Grace And Frankie, I’ll put on a load of laundry first. If after that first episode I decide I’m going to watch another, I’ll hop up and clear away any dirty dishes in the sink before I do.
Maybe I decide I’d really love a nice long, hot bubble bath with candles and music. I’ll make a deal with myself that I’ll go through my inbox and answer any unanswered emails first. This way, the housework in particular or other things that are regulars on my to do list never get a chance to build up to an overwhelming level.
This isn’t about forcing myself to ‘earn’ relaxing time, or feeling that I don’t deserve to indulge myself unless my entire life is in perfect working order. It’s about giving myself a way to strike a really nice balance between doing nice things for myself today, and doing the things I’ll thank myself for tomorrow. It’s simple, straightforward, and works really really well for me.
2. Review Your To Do List
I find that very often, when I’ve reached the point where I’m feeling really overwhelmed by the amount of stuff on my to do list, it’s often a simple case of overloading myself
A lot of the time, there’ll be things on that list that I don’t actually have to do at all. More often than not they’re there because I feel like I should do them, either because it’s something that everybody’s doing or because other people want me to do them. Neither of those reasons are good enough reasons to do anything. I know this, and yet I still find myself falling into that trap sometimes.
So for me, a great way to combat feeling overwhelmed is to take a look at my list and see what can or can’t be put off. Do I really need to do this today, or can I do it in a few days time, or can I just chose not to do it at all? You’d be surprised how often taking a second look at your list can reveal how much unnecessary stuff you’re piling onto your own plate without even noticing.
3. Check Your Environment
I’m a big believer that our environments hugely affect our moods. This definitely includes our productivity. I recently went through a bout of feeling really overwhelmed and just, not arsed with life. I didn’t feel particularly down or depressed or super anxious. I just had absolutely no motivation to do anything including housework or blog work. Even leaving the house was a drag.
This lasted for well over a week until finally it occurred to me that my apartment was really really cluttered. I live in a very small two bed apartment that clutters up very quickly so I regularly (at least once a month) do a clear out. But on this particular occasion, I couldn’t remember when I had done my last clear out. And as I looked around the apartment properly for the first time in at least a week, it just felt heavy with stuff. A bit like my mood.
So I got to work with black bin bags, clearing out old newspapers and empty glass bottles. I stripped the beds and fired as much laundry as I could into the machine. I watered the plants and I swung open every door and window in the apartment to get a blast of fresh air through the rooms. Within minutes I was already feeling full of energy again.
This made me realise just how much our environments really do affect our productivity and our ability to tackle the day. So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and bogged down in your to do list, why not try filling your home with fresh air, getting a quick spring clean done, even hiring a cleaner for a couple of hours as a once off if you can afford to? If it helps you to tackle your to do list, it’s worth it!