Overwhelmed feels like a lot of things.
It feels stressful. It feels exhausting. Indecisive. Immobilizing. Chaotic. Discombobulating...
When you're overwhelmed it can seem impossible to do even the simplest task, let alone think straight.
Everything is too much.
It can be helpful to have some tricks up your sleeve for when everything becomes too much, so I want to offer some strategies to play with the next time you're feeling overwhelmed.
1. Take micro-steps.
Break it down, ridiculously small. Remember, no one needs to know that your thought process consists of micro-steps like this. When even making a cup of tea becomes too much, talk yourself through it, one micro-step at a time:
First I will turn the kettle on.
Now I will open the cupboard.
Now I will choose a mug.
Now I will choose a (calming) tea. (I recommend tulsi, lavender, chamomile, and passionflower)
Now I will pour the hot water.
Now I will sit quietly as my tea steeps.
2. Practice the 5-4-3-2-1 sensory technique.
The 5-4-3-2-1 technique grounds you in your senses and the present moment, while interrupting spinning thoughts and negative internal dialogue. This technique is especially effective for acute overwhelm and panic attacks. It requires you to simply sit and notice:
Five things you can see.
Four things you can feel.
Three things you can hear.
Two things you can smell.
One thing you can taste.
3. Tidy your immediate physical space.
A quick cleanup to create order in your physical space makes you feel productive while calming your nervous system.