Friday, 6 January 2012

Overwhelmed? – Carve a staircase out of a wall!

Overwhelmed? Maybe it’s that you actually are taking on too much for you to handle!
People with anxiety and depression often find themselves feeling overwhelmed with the demands of daily life. If getting up in the morning, going to the washroom and cleaning yourself up, brushing your hair, getting dressed and all that before making your lunch, etc. and going to work is tiring enough, how about when you think about the projects you need to or should be doing? It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you are piling many things on top of your plate when it is already full of life’s daily routines!
Feeling overwhelmed is disempowering – you feel useless, and can’t focus on any task. The end result? Lying on the couch or in bed all day in defeat. Feeling even worse because you couldn’t get something done.

A good thing to practice when you are feeling strong emotions is to stand back and examine whether they are appropriate for the situation. If you are feeling enraged, does the situation really warrant that much anger? What about when you are scared or fearful – are you really in trouble? Likely not so. But when you are overwhelmed, trust that you are overwhelmed. If things seem too much for you to handle, they are. This is one feeling that doesn’t lie to you.
Tasks that should be simple or trivial may seem impossible because you are feeling overwhelmed. This adds to your inner-negativity (“I’m a failure! I can’t even do this simple task!”) and lands you back in bed with the covers pulled up.

But don’t give up; just start seeing the problem/situation/task in a different way. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, the most important thing for people with depression and anxiety, and anyone really, to be doing when attempting to take on projects is to break them down into manageable parts: chunking! (See Step 3 of Staying motivated when discouraged)

By carving staircases out of walls we can overcome any issue! By this I mean breaking larger tasks and projects into smaller goals.

Often you’ll find that once you get started you can keep the motivation, as you see your success building!

There is also the possibility of being overwhelmed by multiple, smaller goals flitting through our minds. Maybe we have to clean the house, make dinner, do homework, go grocery shopping, finish that laundry and then take the cat to the vet and the kids to daycare...
That’s a lot of things to think about at once!

People are only able to effectively (and sanely!) focus on one thing at a time. We will feel overwhelmed when we overload our thought-circuits with too many things. The best thing to do in this case is to pile all our worries and thoughts onto one side (clear a little working space, if you will) and focus on one thing. It is helpful to write a list of tasks, and check them as you go – so that they are no longer in your mind.

                                   Tip: When overwhelmed: Simplify! One thing at a time!

What does this mean for those of us who are feeling well? We can always take a lesson from our emotions: scale back when feeling overwhelmed. Always remember to focus on one thing at a time, and soon you will feel more capable! Try to come up with a saying or motivational statement to remind yourself to scale back when feeling overwhelmed!

                                                                        Conquer on!

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