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  • Writer's pictureHaulwen Nicholas

The new year overwhelm

The festive break has allowed you time to switch off and relax. Coming up to it you were probably running full pelt to hit pre-festivities deadlines in work and your personal life. The big festival day comes and if you are one of the lucky ones you aren’t returning to work until January. And that is when it hits. The realisation that there is so much to do, in work and at home. The feeling of overwhelm can seem like you are drowning and you can’t find anything to grab hold of. You become paralysed and it just gets worse. You want a fairy godmother to stop time and you fantasise about what that would look like and how you could finally catch up.

This is me, and was how I felt every new year, and a bit of me still does, but I’ve now taught myself how to pull myself out of the water of my own demands to focus on what’s truly important.

When you look up overwhelm on the internet, often there are lots of hints and tips, but just reading the topic or looking to do the tasks to reduce overwhelm make you feel overwhelmed.

This year my overwhelm has been about all the ideas I have, but some years it’s the to-do-list, or the should-do-list, or the what I didn’t-do-list.

We all react to overwhelm in different ways, and we all need to tackle overwhelm in a way that suits us. Each of us will have different triggers and with it different solutions and we need to find the one that works for us to solve this.

Here are some things to consider to reduce overwhelm for you;

  1. What are your symptoms of overwhelm? - anxiety, depression, tiredness, can all be symptoms but they will be unique to you, but so can addictions - alcohol, drugs, food, spending, etc.

  2. When do you feel overwhelmed? - typical environments , triggers (past trauma can impact this too), people, tasks.

  3. Where do you feel overwhelmed? - in work, school, at home, with certain people.

  4. Who do you become when you feel overwhelmed ? Can you identify a trend in your family about learned behaviour. Who do you think you are letting down?

  5. Why do you feel overwhelmed? What areas of your life? Or all areas?

  6. How does overwhelm impact your life? How have you overcome it in the past?

To help overcome overwhelm you have to first understand it, then you can use strategies to manage it, strategies you can come back to over and over again.

Remember that we have to learn new behaviours and these take time. When you first wrote, read, rode a bike, walked - you had no idea but with practice you were able to learn to use these skills and they became second nature.

The same applies for dealing with how you respond to feeling overwhelmed.

You have to let go of your past - of your fear, hurt, anger and guilt and find the solutions that work for you. But remember that what works for one person won’t work for another.

I find doing mind maps of every aspect that overwhelms me, really helps. I create a visual colourful image and it feels write for me to see my life in this way.

Others take the areas of their life and write lists to break down into bite size chunks (personally this overwhelms me more, even though a mind map is doing a similar thing)

If you are a big picture person going into that level of detail can be stressful so stepping back and seeing the bigger goal can help. Whereas for those who are more detail orientated they need to zoom into the detail to feel less overwhelmed.

Understanding your personality type can help you understand typical reactions for your type and give you practical solutions.

Understanding what energises you and what drains you can help you determine which tasks to focus on first.

Understanding how you view time can help you understand if you are thinking everything needs to be done now or if you can visualise it in the future.

Start with understanding your overwhelm and then you can create your own path out of the overwhelm forest.

Know that you are not alone and you will get through this.

Moonbeams and starlight


The Magical Mojo Coach

Intuitive life coaching with a hint of witchery

If you found this useful, let me know, I am looking to develop a short course on this to help people with overwhelm.

Image: mspont - free from Canva Pro

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