Feeling Overwhelmed doesn’t have to be a Way of Life
“Everything is too much for me and yet I do nothing”. Is this how you have been feeling but couldn’t put it into words? You, along with many others, may be experiencing the combination effect of overwhelm and procrastination. It is time to re-visit the ways that I use to get myself going again. Acknowledgment, self-discovery, changing energy and revisiting life balance are good places to start.
When can overwhelm occur?
Overwhelm can occur when the causes are quite clear, for example, illness, divorce, moving house or an extreme weather event. Isolation due to where you live or physical incapacity is also a recognized cause. The Covid-19 pandemic has emerged as another cause of overwhelm, especially in communities that are living in lockdown for extended periods. Not everyone is affected, but feeling overwhelmed and the resultant procrastination creep is a common outcome for entire neighborhoods living in lockdown.
I’ve come to realize that the biggest excitement in my day is watching the daily address by a government official, telling us the numbers of new cases we have had for the previous 24 hours. My next biggest excitement is planning what I’m going to watch on TV that night.
I can’t even go to my local supermarket for an outing now to buy the necessities of daily life, as there are no ‘Covid clean’ supermarkets within my 5km lockdown radius. Chemists, bakeries, and deli’s are just about the same. Click and collect is my option for home delivery.
In fact, leaving the house is not something I want to do. Going for a walk around my area is not what I want to do. The walking tracks are full with people walking. I don’t really want to be coming across strangers that may have the virus. There are young people in hospitals and Intensive Care Units who are fighting this virus. I know my body isn’t fit and strong enough to fight this virus, so I need to isolate and look after myself, both physically and mentally
Procrastination creeps in
It is obvious I’m not going out as I didn’t want to see strangers, so considered I was looking after myself, but this wasn’t really the truth! I wasn’t looking after myself at all. What I hadn’t realised is that procrastination had crept into my life, in a big way! I had even dropped out of a weekly group meeting I had been attending for years. I’m speaking to very few people each week, and certainly not anyone on a personal or social nature.
The combination of overwhelm and procrastination
Living just stops. No wonder I have no motivation to do anything, no desire to get up and go. This is not good for me or anyone living the same way as me during these times. This is how mental health slides downhill.
Ways to change the Overwhelming Feeling and Procrastination
The first thing is to realize what is happening, acknowledge it, and be ok with what has happened. Overwhelm is ok. It brought about procrastination which served me to stay safe. It kept me from going out, kept me safe from catching this virus.
I am responsible for my own life. I caused all the overwhelm and procrastination myself. I am the person who has isolated myself. No one has done this to me, I’ve done it to myself and only I can change it. I just need to want to change my own life. Yes, I need to WANT it enough that I make it a priority in my life to change what I have been doing which has led to procrastination.
Acknowledgment and Self Discovery- AGAIN!
I think I have been down this road before. Is this sounding familiar for you too? I have to acknowledge that this was not the first time in my life that overwhelm and procrastination has happened for me. With the twists and turns in our lives it will probably be an ongoing battle throughout the rest of my life. I may need to re-visit this again and again and again and continually look at how I can change again.
The best thing that I have learnt over the years, from all the self-discovery I have done on myself, is that each time I catch myself sliding and going into overwhelm or procrastination, I can stop it. It absolutely gets faster and faster to bring myself out and change what is happening. I even wrote a blog on this last year, Ways to Think through Lockdown. So, now it is time to change what I do again.
Change the Energy
The next thing I need to do is change my energy, my focus, and make these changes happen. Harness the Power of Intention. It is amazing what opens up when you change your emphasis on life especially when your motivation is on something different.
Here is what happened for me this week; I agreed to take on the responsibility of running a fortnightly women’s circle so it doesn’t close down. I have organized a dinner catch-up for school friends and with a metaphysics class tonight, my calendar is looking better this week and there are now things to look forward to, but only this week.
Tweak the Life Balance
I need to update what I am doing across my life on a permanent basis. Looking at a Life Balance Wheel is a great start. It shows what things need to change in my life, not just for this week, but all the time
Practical ways to Change Energy and Tweak Life Balance
Zoom is a great tool, which I use to keep in touch with others. I use it all the time and offer it to others so we can catch up and have a decent amount of time without the pressure of being timed out.
Facebook has been my biggest tool. I have connected with the girls in my year at school, joined groups with others who have common interests. Events on facebook let us know what events are happening even on zoom, there are interesting things happening all the time we can join.
Meetup and Eventbrite is a great place to find like-minded people who have similar interests, a lot of functions are now fully online and streaming platforms are used to connect people. There are all sorts of social groups in all the cities you can join.
Create your own social group and make a regular catch-up. Last year I had drinks on zoom each Friday night, it was a great social night and such fun, if you don’t know anyone doing this that you can join, create your own with a group of friends. You may be surprised how many places you previously frequented or social groups that are now running events online, such as the Comedy Club, Ted Talks and Rotary, you will find assorts of events. Find a free or cheap online exercise or yoga class, join a meditation class, there are free or cheap paid ones online, google and you will find them.
I’m sure I am not alone in the feelings of overwhelm or procrastination that I am having. Certainly, I am not the only person who has isolated so well they have accidentally damaged their own mental health. I get going again using acknowledgment, self-discovery, changing my energy, and revisiting life balance. Whatever has brought you to your feelings of overwhelm, consider this. Get out of your own way and google things you are interested in. You will be amazed at what Google will tell you. Remember you are the only one who can change your life, take the chance and go for it.
Disclaimer: This article outlines general information only. If you have deeper concerns regarding your mental health our resources page may be useful