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5 questions for when you’re feeling overwhelmed

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When we’re overwhelmed, the last thing we want to do is sit down and spend precious time contemplating our overwhelm. There’s too much to do! But when we’re feeling constantly overwhelmed, it’s a good sign that our life needs an overhaul. Sometimes it’s little tweaks that make all the difference and other times it requires a lot of effort. But either way, you can’t fix your overwhelm until you get to the root of it.

Here are five important questions to contemplate when you’re feeling overwhelmed. If this is you right now, get out a pen and notebook and answer these questions.

Are you prioritizing what matters most?

Be mindful of where you’re spending your time. Maybe this means you literally keep a log of what you’re spending your time doing throughout the day. Keep track in a notebook of what you’re doing in 15-minute increments, how often you’re aimlessly browsing social media sites and how often you lose your focus throughout the day. Are you spending your time the way that you want to be? What would your ideal day look like?

You may know what the top priorities are in your life, but is that where you’re actually focusing your attention? Sometimes we have to get real with ourselves. It’s not always pretty to see that we’re spending hours upon hours scrolling Facebook. But once we acknowledge that we’re not spending time how we want to, we can start altering our habits and replacing them with better ones.

Can you eliminate some tasks?

Write down everything that you need to do. This might be an overwhelmingly long list, but it’s likely that not everything is urgent.

First, circle the three most important tasks. Then go through the rest and evaluate by asking yourself:

  1. Are there any of these tasks that can wait?
  2. Is there someone else who could do this better?
  3. Are there any of these tasks that I can eliminate completely?

Perhaps there is a family member who can take this off your plate or maybe you can get food delivered to save you grocery shopping time. Are there things that you’re doing only because you feel obligated? Start figuring out how to get them off your plate. It might require a hard conversation, but it’s worth it if it can eliminate some of your stress.

What tools can you use to help you focus?

If you’re struggling with getting distracted by too many tasks, create some systems to help improve your focus on one thing at a time.

Some great apps for finding focus:

Focus, website blocker for Mac
Headspace or Calm, timed meditations
Tide, sleep sounds focus timer
Trello or Evernote, organization platform for making lists

Are you taking care of yourself?

Are your needs being met? Take a look at how you’re living and assess whether you’re prioritizing self-care. When we’re stressed out, self-care tends to take the backseat. Taking time to workout and feel our best isn’t necessarily No. 1 on our to-do list. But when we decide to put ourselves first, we’re able to give that much more to our relationships and work.

Is there anyone who can help you out?

Oftentimes we feel like we have to handle everything ourselves, but there are so many people who can support us in whatever way we need. Sometimes it really is as simple as asking. Find the right people to help you and create a plan that makes your life a little less stressful. Remember that you’re only one person and you’re human. It’s okay to need help.

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