Breaking Free from the Overwhelm

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It’s no surprise that today we feel more stress, more anxiety and more overwhelmed than ever before. In today’s 24 hour news cycle we’re exposed to all the horrible things going on in the world at all times. If we miss it on the news, we’ll see it online, get a text about it, and see it in the newspaper the next day.

That feeling of overwhelm doesn’t just come from worrying about what’s happening in the world, it also comes from work and meeting deadlines, being over scheduled at work and with family. We’re busy, we need a break, but we still have things to do.

Most of us can’t just up and drop everything. We can’t just move to a remote island and forget about all of our responsibilities, but we can organize our time better and accomplish what needs to be done. It’s just a matter of breaking free from the overwhelm.

When you’re overwhelmed it’s just about impossible to get anything accomplished. Whether it’s a week’s worth of laundry you just didn’t get to or it’s that report you’ve been putting off for weeks, the best way to accomplish the task is to actually begin it.

It sounds too simple and too simplistic, but we get stuck because we don’t know where to begin. By beginning, we have no choice but to just work through it and figure it out.

One of the best ways to get started is to break down the big task into smaller tasks. If you’ve been putting off your preparing your taxes you might feel completely overwhelmed as the due date quickly approaches. Whether you’re preparing them yourself or you’ve got someone else doing them for you still need to get things organized. If you’ve put it off all year long you’ve got a big task ahead of you. The good news is the big task can be broken up into the smaller tasks that aren’t as overwhelming.

In the taxes example you might break it down into several different tasks – collecting receipts, determining your income and tallying up expenditures. Each of those tasks might need to be further broken down. Whatever you do, there’s always a way to break the task down into more basic and less overwhelming steps.

Determine which ones need to happen first and which tasks need to be done to complete the bigger task. Breaking down the big job into much smaller and more manageable jobs, you’ll find the process starts to fall into place and isn’t as scary as originally believed. Most things aren’t as bad as we perceive them to be, it’s the getting started, or not knowing where to start, that is scary.

When you are faced with a new and overwhelming job, project of task – instead of letting anxiety take hold of your head remain in the moment and start at the beginning. Remind yourself that even if you make a mistake, it can be fixed and that taking the first step will lead to the second step, third step and pretty soon you’ll have completed that thing that felt impossible.

We can’t shrug off our responsibilities, but we can make them a little easier to manage by breaking them down into more manageable steps. And how wonderful it feels to complete something that seemed nearly impossible.

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