What is stress? And how do you cure overwhelm?

Stress and OverwhelmAll of us at some time or another have had the experience of too much to do and the feeling that there’s not going to be enough time to do it.  Or perhaps this is a regular feeling.  All of us experience this at some point and it’s an uncomfortable and stressful feeling.  And what is stress?  Is it anxiety; feeling anxious?  Is it a feeling of powerlessness?  Or is it a buzz of living on the edge? When something feels unpleasant, we are drawn to fix it and that leads to the question What causes “overwhelm”?

What causes us to become overwhelmed?

For me personally, it’s that sinking feeling.  I’ve reached my limits and now I’m in out of control.  It’s the fear that everything is of the highest priority, of the utmost importance and key things are going to be forgotten.  I feel like I am drowning, submerged, buried, stretched too far.  Do these words sound familiar?

Five warning signs of overwhelm stress

1. Constantly worrying.  Having things swimming around in your head with a system, a list or something to provide clarity.
2. Lack of confidence, direction or clarity around the next step.
3. Not completing tasks in the time that you anticipate.
4. Taking on too much.
5. Juggling too many things, a lack of focus.  The moment your work load starts to increase your stress levels is an indication that you are on a path to overwhelm.  Take time to re-evaluate.  JUST STOP!!!

Consider the following in a moment of evaluation:

1.  “Chunk it up”. This is a term to trump card your task.  Raise it up a level.  So what that means is, ask your self “Why am I doing this task?” Then ask again “And why is that important?” Then ask again “And why is that important” so you end up with key categories of “why”.  What’s the main objective here?  What’s the big picture?
2.  Are those tasks grouped into those higher reasons?
3.  Put the list in order of priority including the baby steps.
4.  Take out the wish list things.  Make sure you have lists that can be placed elsewhere “Research, Reference, Waiting on, To File”.
5.  Create a list for the day that is more than achievable rather than reaching for a goal in a hope and a prayer.  Better to under promise to yourself than over promise.
What makes you feel overwhelmed? What helps you deal with it? Please share your insights and ideas by posting in the comments below. 

Ps. If you want to beat overwhelm and you’re a busy working woman, I want to invite you to my free group which is just for Busy Working Women owning their lives. Join us here.

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About the Author:

Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a time management strategist and stress management practitioner based in Alice Springs, Australia.  She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing.  She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things.

She is on a mission is to become the no.1 resource to help people unclutter the chaos and break free from the shackles of overwhelm so that they wake each day inspired and motivated to work in peak performance and to live on purpose. Barbara is known around Australia for her training, coaching, online programmes, webinars and as a guest speaker.

Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships.