Nothing can make you feel more out of control that when you’re overwhelmed. It’s a terrible, suffocating feeling; a feeling that kidnaps your mind and holds it for ransom until your seemingly never-ending to-do list has off-loaded some of it’s cargo. It can hit quickly in the form of bad news, when things are literally beyond your control, or it can be a slow-build until before you know it, you’re a frantic, frazzled mess. Even if you can keep your demeanour cucumber-cool on the outside, on the inside, you are in a state of panic.
As an already anxious person, becoming overwhelmed doesn’t take much for me. I’ll often make simple problems much bigger than what they really are and once you chuck a few in at once, they fester in the confines on my mind until I’m at a point where I don’t even know where to start and everything just feels too hard. It’s an ugly feeling that has a ripple effect on my whole life.
There are plenty of things you can do to ease the feeling of overwhelm, but the game-changer for me has been getting up early. Like, really early. As a person who functions much better at night time, becoming a ‘morning person’ has been a bit of a struggle, but I’m seriously much better for it. I recently read a book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod (I know, self-help city is my new postcode) and it has inspired me to utilise the peace and quiet of the morning and grab my day by the balls while everyone else is snoozing. So at 5.30am, my alarm goes off and I drag my half-comatose butt out of bed.
It starts my days off calmer and I feel like I’m ahead of the game before the starting gun has even sounded.
It seems like such a little thing, but it makes SUCH a difference. I’m able to get showered and ready for the day, make lunches and pack school bags, tidy the house and lay out uniforms without any distractions. If I’m super quick, I even have some time to sit down and write or attempt a little meditation. By the time I have to go and wake the kids up, I’m 100% awake and organised and can focus on them, rather than running around looking for missing school shoes and trying to break up fights while putting on mascara. It starts my days off calmer and I feel like I’m ahead of the game before the starting gun has even sounded. I’m even considering pushing the alarm back to 5am so I can get a bit of exercise in too.
The great thing is, you can make your morning whatever you want it to be. If you don’t have children, or prefer to get all the lunches and stuff done the night before, you can spend this time focusing on yourself. You can meditate, journal, plan out your day, get into the office early (in the hope of leaving early), or just enjoy a cup of tea in peace and quiet. No distractions, just your own time to sit and think. Of course, if you’re a new mum with a baby who gets up 738 times during the night, I say GET THE SLEEP and get it while you can. There’s plenty of time for early mornings when they’re older, so be kind to yourself.
So if you’re an easily-overwhelmed ball of nerves like me, seriously consider trying to set that alarm early. The first five minutes are not pretty and it is a challenge to try and go to bed earlier when you’re naturally a bit of a night owl, but give it a go. Just for a week. If there’s anything I’ve learnt from this, it’s that organisation is like kryptonite to an overwhelmed mind, so resist the urge to hit Snooze and you’ll be feeling like the most super version of yourself in no time.
Here, Monty and the very clever Robyn Butler spoke about getting overwhelmed and how they deal with it: