From overwhelmed to calm

by Dandy

We are all powerful people.  But powerful people have their limits.  How is your power being weakened throughout the days, weeks, months as we lead our professional, home, and personal lives?  There are aspects of our lives that can be creative, happy, and engaging in the right setting, but all too frequently we find ourselves overwhelmed and doubting our abilities.

We certainly all know the feelings of being overwhelmed and over extended.  Of having to put our time and energy into the frustrations of life.  In a state of being over extended we may find that our personal relationships are suffering.  We may find ourselves uninspired to connect in meaningful ways with our loved ones.  For some of us may find our jobs have become our primary relationship and our job has become an unforgiving taskmaster.

Health can suffer.  We may find ourselves unable to fall asleep or stay asleep with the nagging worries we have.  Unhealthy eating or not eating enough, our bodies become lethargic and weakened.  Purposeful exercise feels like it would be a luxury.  We are in a state of overwhelm when…

*Our shoulders feel the weight of the world on them.

* We wake up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts of worry.

*  We don’t look forward to doing what once brought us great happiness.

*  We find ourselves thinking if we only worked harder or did better than we could make it all work out.

Different choices need to be made when we are overwhelmed.  The following strategy will be able to help identify and get out of the over extendedness and prevent it from happing again.

  Know Your Limits

We must be able to recognize when we are over extended.  So many of us have been fighting and pushing for so long that we see it as normal.  Everyone of us has signs that let us know we’ve hit our limit and those signs are present before we are overwhelmed.  This is the line between being happily busy and productive to being overwhelmed.  To discover our limits we need to think back to a time to when we were happily busy and productive…functioning, not stressed.  What were we doing?  How were we doing it?  Discovering our limits requires an inner journey to discover how we want the rhythm of our life to happen.  By knowing our limits we can avoid or notice it more quickly and be able to correct it sooner.

  Change Priorities

When in the state of overwhelm there is a different way of prioritizing  that supports us, it is a mindset of crisis intervention, so to speak.  Rather than looking at the most important items and plugging away, look to complete the easiest.  So the project that can be done the fastest and easiest.

  Focus On the Inner Journey

Being overwhelmed is a state of mind.  Thoughts such as, “how am I going to get all of this done?” and “I don’t have any time for me anymore.”  Feelings of anxiety, frustration, and fatigue are telling us that we are running on fumes.  We must be mindful of filling ourselves up, with creativity, positivity, joy, and vitality.  This is our fuel.  When we recognize that our positive emotions are depleting, we must give ourselves the time and attention necessary to bring balance back into our lives.

  Restful Days

Just as our bodies need recharging, so do our minds.  This requires rest on a regular basis.  This means taking a day out of every week where the focus is on rest.  The rest of our days are already filled up with work, school, laundry, and grocery shopping.  A day of rest requires a different sort of energy… one of calmness, recharging, relaxing, and fun.  By taking this one day a week for ourselves, we are supported in keeping our creativity high and the ability to meet whatever presents itself to us in a positive manner.

Make the choice to choose a strategy that will have you transforming feelings of being over extended into feelings of calmness.  Know that you deserve it.

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41 Responses to “From overwhelmed to calm”

  1. Hi Dandy,

    Great ideas, and I like your approach to have a strategy in place. I’ve found the number one thing that makes a difference for me is to know my limits — and then speak up and not be afraid to say no to someone. But when I find myself already stuck with too much on my plate, I’ve learned it helps to: renegotiate the due date, reassess and modify the deliverable, or ask for and enlist help to get something completed.

    We get what we tolerate, so I’m learning to change old habits and choose a more balanced lifestyle. Thanks for the inspiration! :~)

    Sue

    • Hi Sue,
      Thanks for adding that. It can be tough to find a balance, but it is worth the effort it takes. We need to do it for ourselves. I’m so glad you are able to take care of yourself in a sometimes really hectic world. Thanks for the great comment Sue! Take care!

  2. Dandy,

    Thank you so much for putting together this post. It is so common for people, me included to get so overwhelmed by tasks that we have placed before ourselves. I have put so much on my plate at one time that I couldn’t hold on it and dropped it on the floor. I spent weeks trying to clean up the mess I made only to do the same thing all over again. Now I do my best using a personal planner to keep my life managable and keep random thoughts out of my head. The system I use allows me to download my thoughts into a trusted source and gives me peace of mind to accomplish things anytime I have some free time. We have to take care of ourselves because that is the one thing no one else can do for us. Learn from my experience. Please don’t put too much on your plate. Great post Dandy. Great post! I needed this.

    • Hi Frank,
      You are most welcome. I hope it helps people. Finding balance can sometimes be really challenging. It is such a hectic world. Sometimes way to faced paced. We can’t do everything & we aren’t meant to. Taking care of ourselves and putting our well-being on our list of priorites is the way to start finding a blance.

  3. I am curiious Dandy…do you make time to go fly fishing during a busy day?

    Just a bit of time of quiet and fresh air on a lunch break works wonders. Look at all the office workers walking in there running shoes on their lunch break.

    As I surf fish in the evening after a busy and physical day of work the arrival of surfers, swimmers, runners, walkers, dog walkers, and people in meditation become present to transpose what was a busy work day into a celebration of life!

    And when we do have that one day off…if one just wants to do nothing but lay around with no real purpose…there should not be any (!guilt!) about this…

    Hang Loose!

    Thanks Dandy!

    • Hi Rand,
      Yes, I do make time to go fishing or do something outside. There is something so very restorative about being out in nature. It is soul food in the truest sense. I usually work 6 days a week and that one day off I do find myself laying around the house and no, there is no guilt felt during these times. Thanks so much for your great comment Rand. I always look forward to your insightful comments! Take good care!

  4. Yes Dandy we should all remember to take that one day off. i have found that when my life is in balance I don’t feel overwhelmed. The way that I keep in balance is God first, Family second and Work third. When i keep them in this order I am good to go. I do like to take that one day off and sometimes even take a nap in the middle of it. I work to live, not live to work.
    As you say, “Focus On the Inner Journey”
    thank you Dandy for taking the time to tell us to enjoy life and not let it overwhelm us.
    Hugs to you,
    Debbie

    • Hi Debbie!
      It’s always so nice to hear from you and I couldn’t agree with you more. Once we have those priorites in place we find ourselves with alot more peace. Hugs right back at ya!

  5. From overwhelmed to calm! What a transition. What a powerful transition that when made can spark immediate change with in us. There are days when things are just too heavy. Work is TRYING to pin me down…I have obligations to fulfill but don’t have the time to do it…and the list goes on. During these times, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and it sure does happen to me. What I have to remind myself is that I’m human – instinctively flawed, but able to withstand all that is placed in front of me. This doesn’t mean I can do all that is in front of me immediately, but I can in time.

    Great post Dandy – Thank you so much for the ammunition for the transition.

    • Hi Jk!
      Your way of thinking of things sounds so very healthy. We don’t have to do everything all at once. No body can be superman and that’s ok. Trusting ourselves to withstand all that is placed in front of ourselves means accepting our capablities and strengths. Thanks so much for the awesome comment Jk! Take care!

  6. Hey Dandy,

    This was completely brillant & you are talented at what you do. I agree with you in the sense that i always feel overwhelmed. I always feel like there’s more i could be doing, because whenever I;’m resting another person up taking another step closer to the destination I’m trying to reach. For that very reason I will never take a day off. I wouldn’t sleep if it were physically possible, but just like anyone else I have my limits and i can only go without sleep for so long. The funny thing is that ‘m ALWAYS trying to push my limits. Really and honestly that’s what I believe in. It’s like its programmed in my head. If I stayed up till 3am the other night, then tonight I have to push myself until 4am. At the end all i want to be able to say is that i really gave my all.

    Just my 2 cents.

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    • Thanks William. Your motivation is so inspiring. I’ve no doubt at all that you will reach your destination. Pushing our limits is great. It lets us know just how much strength we possess. Thanks for the great comment William! God Bless!

  7. Hey Dandy, great read about a very integral topic in our society.

    In this day and age, where we must have more and more, and ‘enough’ is never enough, we regularly feel overwhelmed on a daily basis. We just can’t seem to find any chance to stop and slow down!

    I used to feel this way, trying to balance ‘getting it done’ with ‘letting it happen’. I can’t say I’ve susses it out, because I haven’t yet. But I’m learning more and more on the path, especially with goals. Do we need goals or can we just let things happen? I used to have goals, but they were arduous goals and I never reached them. Then I tried having no goals in an attempt to be more zen-like, but that didn’t quite work either.

    Now, I do this: I allocate a certain amount of time to a project or area that I want to work on. Let’s say 60 minutes. I do as much as I can within that 60 minutes towards completing that goal. If I reach the goal, I’ll relax for the remainder of that allotted time as a ‘reward’. If I don’t reach the goal, then I set it aside until tomorrow to finish it. I won’t let it carry over onto my next goal, unless its an important and quickly needed deadline.

    Hope I’ve provided some value here :-)

    • Hi Stuart!
      I love your stradegy. I can see how it would encourage concentration in giving ourselves a set time limit. I also like that you give yourself permission to finish it tomorow if it doesn’t get all done. We have to be flexable with our time. Thanks so much for sharing Stuart! Take care!

  8. Hi Dandy,

    We all experience worry, anxiety and feel overwhelmed from time to time. The key is to become aware when we are overwhelmed, then taking the necessary steps to calms ourselves and relax. Acts such as meditation, for example, can help us to relax and achieve inner peace. The more we focus on clearing our minds and relaxing, the better for us. Great post Dandy. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Hi Dia!
      I’m so glad you mentioned meditation. Meditation has been around for thousands of years, so obviously it works. It has changed peoples lives and has made people happier. It is a wonderful path to travel down. Thanks so much for adding that Dia! God Bless!

  9. Hi Dandy,
    You’re absolutely right, we can overextend ourselves in trying to be all that we can be. I try to pace myself and do what I can in the moment knowing that if something doesn’t get done, there is always tomorrow, and it’s ok. I also take lots of restful days, like you suggested. Sometimes i think that I even may take too many restful days, if that’s possible, like a 3-week digital break. :)
    Thanks for the wonderful tips. Loving blessings

    • Hi Andrea!
      Your stradegy for calmness sounds great. I don’t think there is too much restful days. A 3-week digital break sounds amazing. Thanks so much for sharing Andrea! I love hearing from you. Take good care!

  10. Boy did I do overwhelm like a master once Dandy. I was riddled with anxiety like a cheese with holes because I pressed on and on further and further into a world and a person I didn’t want, all the time surpressing and squeezing the life out of the existence and guy I did want. I think to find calm we need to know it’s OK to take our foot off the accelerator pedal of life, to take a rest stop to get R&R – Refelction and Reaction. Regular stop periods to catch our breath (and even take some proper ones for once) helped me realise I was chasing my tail and decided to get off the hamster wheel and get back to what I wanted and who I was. After all if you are naturally you, overwhelm and exhausted chaos don’t come with it. Clue: If you’ve got them, then you ain’t you! Slow it up, take a look around and within, and then you’ll find an oasis that will never run dry. Delish!!

    • Thanks for sharing this John. I’m so glad you found a path that leads to mindfullness and self-care. I’m glad you find yourself worthy of well-being and happiness. You deserve so much better than the hamster wheel. I hope others reading this post will come to realize they deserve well-being too. You’re terrific John!

  11. Empowering advice, Dandy. A simple tip a powerful businessman once gave me when I was starting out: Other peoples urgency’s are not my urgency’s. Successful achievers know that there is no such thing as time — only priorities. Living an empowered existence requires being crystal clear on what is important.

    • Hi Rob. Thanks for that. It’s all about what we choose to do with our priorites. Peace will come from placing them in the right spot! Take care Rob!

  12. Being LDS, I’ve always had the opportunity to rest on Sunday. It’s a great way to recharge your batteries, stay away from work, and take some time to serve others. It’s amazing to see what it does for you in the other days of the week.

    Love your thoughts here Rob. Another person’s urgency isn’t your own urgency. Incredible advice from that wise business man. Knowing exactly what your priorities and goals are, is the first step towards productivity.

    • Hi Christian,
      Thanks so much for visiting my blog. You are right recharging our batteries on a Sunday is the way to go. I appreciate your comment and hope to hear from you again! Take good care!
      ~Dandy

  13. Yes, I’ve been pretty close to my limits lately. Last weekend I took your advice (in advance) and had a day of rest. I stayed in my pyjamas all day and just read and watched TV. It was lovely.

    • Hi Galen! I’m so glad you had a day of rest. It’s amazing how restorative just one day can be. It’s important to remind ourselves to just slow down. Thanks so much Galen!

  14. Hi Dandy,

    I certainly know what it is like to feel overwhelmed by the number of things that require my attention. As a result, I have little energy or focus more the tasks at hand because my attention is so divided. It is no surprise that when I am overwhelmed, I usually end up doing a poor job of things. As you rightly point out, everything suffers when we are overwhelmed.

    I love the points that you have brought up to deal with overwhelm. As you rightly point out it is about choices. We need to make different choices to go from overwhelmed to calm. I particularly like know your limits because it reminds me to realize there is only so much I can do. The solution is to break down all I can do into manageable bits so that I can handle them better at my own time and place.

    Restful days are also very important for me. By reading good books or comics, I allow my mind to relax and my imagination to soar and get uplifted by inspirational stories. In so doing, I get recharged and come back to my tasks with new ideas and enthusiasm.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

    • Hi Irving,
      I’m glad you liked this post. It can be so difficult to find a balance between all that needs to be done and still take care of ourselves too. Having a stradegy in place can help us manage the madness. We need to give ourselves a break every now and then. When we come back recharged we can do amazing things. Thanks so much Irving!

  15. that’s quite an important topic Dandy
    i liked the simple and direct approach you used prescribe the solution
    keep it up and keep in touch dear :)

  16. Dandy: I thought this was such a great post and great advice. We do need to be aware of what we are doing and make certain we aren’t getting caught up in the whirlwind of life. It is just never a great thing when we feel overwhelmed. Really loved the list. Thanks for passing it along.

    • Hey Sibyl!
      I’m glad you like it. It’s not always so easy to escape the whirlwind of life, but being aware of our true needs, taking the time we need for ourselves will help us to lead happier lives. Take care Sibyl!

  17. Hi Dandy!

    Nice post! We all know and have experienced being overwhelmed. I’m usually pretty good at managing stress, but when my shoulders are practically touching my ears and I can’t sleep due to the anxiety of thinking there is something I could be doing instead of sleep that’s when I take a time out.

    I wish I could schedule bi-weekly massages for this stuff, but until I start making the BIG bucks I like to sit outside and stare off into the distance or at the clouds and breathe deeply. Slow deep breaths usually do the trick for me. Rest is essential to healthy living and it’s important we don’t forget that!

    Thanks for this

  18. Dandy,

    A very excellent post! Why? Because it’s so useful, and full of ready to use advice. That’s what I like about your articles. You discuss a topic, but you don’t stop with talk, you give actionable advice!

    Great job Dandy!

  19. I’m always amazed by how much changing a metaphor or mindset or frame of mind changes the game.

    We can bear the weight like Atlas, or we can shrug.

  20. How coincidental that you should be writing a post that matches my current experience. A household situation threatened to upset my work-life balance one week ago. I knew that I won’t be able to focus on my work. For a while, I was feeling the panic over the possibility of getting overwhelmed. And then, I realized that it was best to change my frame of mind. I decided to “ride” with the challenge that came up. And I have been dealing with things much more calmly since. While the situation has not improved, I am even beginning to enjoy myself :-)

  21. Hi Dandy, you have hit quite a timely message here! And to be honest, I have recently found myself suffering from pure exhaustion. We have to be careful. It can be easy to overextend ourselves and that is exactly what I have done. It’s not that I don’t love what I do during the day, and it’s not that I love blogging. But I have found that my schedule has changed and I just somehow lost the energy to keep my rapid pace going. I’ve had to slow it down a bit in the recent weeks. Thanks for putting a title to it and words to describe it.

  22. We very true we are all powerful people. We all do have limits. But I think we should be as unlimited as possible n push the barrier of where we go. Because we can always go further!

  23. Dandy, Not sure you are reading comments still, but if you are, know that you are missed. I hope you are all right and just taking a break in line with what you said in this post. –Galen

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