These past few weeks have been quite a whirlwind. There’s been some fun highs, but there’s also been a whole lot of anxious lows. And for the most part, I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed with life and work in general. (See more about what’s been going down in my October goal-setting post here). As an exercise for myself and anyone reading this, I thought it might be helpful to outline a few healthy ways to cope when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Go for a walk
This is my go-to fix for clearing my head and getting the stress out. A lot of my good ideas and writing topics actually come when I’m out on the trail or taking the dogs for a quick jaunt. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you just want the world to stop spinning for a second, drop what you’re doing, lace up your sneakers and get outside. Even if it’s just for a brisk walk around the block.
Take a day off
I did this the other day and it felt soooo good. A lot of small business owners and creatives might say, “what? I can’t take a day off!” But I’m telling you that you can. And you have to if you want to keep your sanity and stay inspired. Getting burned out is a death wish for creativity and I have an inkling that a lot of businesses don’t survive past the first year because people get burned out and just can’t keep going. So do yourself a favor and actually take a full day off. Even better, take a full day off without any screens.
Listen to an inspirational or motivational podcast
When I’m stuck or feeling burned out and overwhelmed, I love to put my head phones in and turn up a podcast that inspires me. It could be a podcast relevant to my work or it could be something that inspires me in my personal life. Beautiful Anonymous is a incredible for that. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of my 5 favorite business-inspiring podcasts.
Make a list of a few things you can accomplish today that will help you feel productive (and make sure you complete them)
Lists are a lifesaver for me. They (usually) help me not forget anything and they keep me on track with the goals that I set for myself. I LOVE making lists. So even though I usually have a few lists going at once on any given day, when I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious about what I have to get done, I sit down and make a short list of a few easy-to-complete items that I can accomplish today that will make me feel like I’m actually being productive. Items could be anything like ‘write a blog post’, ‘send out 5 pitches’, ‘follow up on 3 pitches’, etc… I try to make sure they are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
Get some zzz’s
More often then not, when I feel like the Universe is just trying to beat me down, it’s because I’m overly tired and need some serious sleep. I usually get to bed at a decent hour, but sometimes I lie awake for hours with thoughts spinning and swirling around my head. Sound familiar? If life feels hard (and I’m sure it is for good reason), do yourself a favor and take a nap or go to bed extra early after treating yourself to a relaxing bath or some gentle stretching to help you fall asleep.
Reach out to your tribe for support and inspiration
This one is hard for me because I for sure have the “I can do it all myself!” attitude. But sometimes we just need help in the form of listening and support. So who is your tribe and how can you ask them for a little bit of love? It could be a family member, a friend, a facebook group, or your mastermind pals. Whoever or whatever it is, utilize them as a support tactic and then make sure you give back when someone else is feeling overwhelmed with their situation.
Change up the scenery
I find myself glued to the couch for days and weeks on end, staring at my computer, trying to make words work. As you can imagine, after a time this completely drains my creativity and inspiration and leaves me thinking thoughts like “what am I even doing?” or “how did I think this could even work?” Aside from talking a walk, a quick solution to these annoying mental judgments is to give yourself a change of scenery. Go to a coffee-shop, sign-up for a few days a month at a co-working space, try housesitting (my favorite travel hack of all time!), or go visit friends and family if you can take your work with you. A change of scenery does wonders for the mind.
Are you overwhelmed because you’re added too much to your plate? If so, just say ‘no’. Do it and you’re instantly feel better.
Remove the unnecessary distractions in your life
The news, facebook, instagram, family drama, friend’s breakup… there are so many distractions out there and it’s way too easy to get sucked into them (ahem, Facebook). Doing so, can lead to major overwhelm and anxiety. So do yourself a favor and cut out the ones that really aren’t serving you well. I know there are many distractions out there that aren’t so easily cut loose, but there are many others that are. Close unnecessary tabs in your browsers, break up with friends who are draining, drop the projects that give you major hell, and give yourself permission to simplify your life.