At some point, we have all felt like we were at our breaking point.
Task upon task, project upon project, had piled up on us. We had too much to do with too little time to complete it all.
We became stressed and frustrated. We seemed to become bitter about everything. We lashed out at those around us. And at the same time, we felt down about ourselves.
We were overwhelmed.
It this day and age, feeling overwhelmed is all too common. For some, it has become a way of life. They cannot remember when they did not feel like their plates were beyond full.
So what are we to do when these moments hit us? Here are five suggestions:
- Pause. I know, this sounds counterintuitive. You have a lot to do, and the last thing you think you need is a break in activity. But you do. You need to take some time think clearly, to let the fog settle a little. If you are at the office, you may need to walk outside for a few minutes. Just take some time to get away from everything.
- Pray. While you are getting away from everything, talk to God. Pray for wisdom and guidance. Pray for peace. Also, ask God to reveal whether or not your busyness is a symptom of something wrong in your spiritual life. Are you chasing and putting your hope in “success” instead of Him? Sometimes, we are a victim of our own pursuits.
- Prioritize. Determine what tasks or projects are most important. Put them on a list in order of importance. If you are looking for a simple, to-do list app for your phone, I recommend Clear. I use it on a regular basis.
- Pick where you can slack off. This point will drive perfectionists crazy. We are often overwhelmed because we want to do everything flawlessly. But this is not always necessary. Often, there are items that just need to be completed in an acceptable manner. Find those items and slack off on the effort a little. They are probably the ones on the lower end of your prioritized task list. For those moments when you are totally overwhelmed, a little slacking off may keep your sanity.
- Part with projects. Ask someone for assistance. Or maybe, have someone watch your kids for a few hours while you get some things done. Whatever you need, ask for help. You might be surprised that someone may take care of a project (or a few kids) for you. Too often we struggle with our stress in isolation. Let someone know your need.
We all get overwhelmed.
Sometimes, it is our own doing. We say “yes” too much. Or we find ourselves chasing a false god.
Sometimes, it is out of our control. A collision of unfortunate event occurred. Or we suddenly got slammed at work.
Pause. Pray. Prioritize. Pick where you can slack off. Part with projects.
And for those who are currently overwhelmed, I hope this season passes quickly for you.