4 Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
I’ve been going through my old blog posts on my gluten free blog, in preparation for closing that website down later this year. Like reading an old journal, it can be both enlightening and embarrassing at the same time. It’s really fascinating for me to see the changes I’ve gone through spiritually, psychologically, philosophically, and even physically.
One of the reasons – although there are many more – that I’m taking the blog down is that I no longer agree with many of my earlier posts, which were written during my calorie and carb counting days of working at Jenny Craig. But even in my most weight and food obsessed posts, behind all the diet craziness, I’ve found some little gems of wisdom, like this one:
When you’re at a loss, go back to basics.
When I wrote the original post, I was talking about weight loss and following dietary exchanges. But the advice holds true for anything you’re struggling with. The idea is that when you’re dealing with something and can’t seem to figure it out, look at what you KNOW works for you, get your foundation set with that, and then go from there.
For example, when I start to feel overwhelmed and like I’m veering off my happy little path, I like to write down the things that make me feel centered and healthy. I make a list of things like:
- 10 minute breathing breaks.
- Meditation and guided visualization.
- Plenty of sleep!
- Cleaning my home so that I don’t feel overwhelmed by my space.
- Making sure I’m eating enough and not getting low blood sugar.
Then I look at my week ahead and find ways to incorporate as many of my centering activities in as I can. For me, that usually means spending a little time writing to-do lists, prioritizing by importance, and making a schedule. Maybe it means skipping House reruns on Netflix that week and going to bed an hour earlier. Maybe it means I decide to put something else on the back burner so that I can get in an hour of yoga or painting during Jamie’s nap, because I know my head will feel more clear afterwards. Maybe it means walking home from work in silence rather than getting information overload with podcasts (because I’m a podcast junkie). Maybe it means going to the grocery store and stocking up on freezer meals so that I can get a break from cooking.
Whatever it is, sometimes all it takes is going back to those activities that you know keep you grounded, and after a few days, you’re able to look at your situation with clear eyes and come up with a path forward.
So here are a few questions you can ask yourself if you’re feeling overwhelmed, confused, or struggling with something.
1. What’s the situation that you’re struggling with? Write down everything you can think of, as if you were talking with a therapist. Just get it all out on paper. Sometimes the simple act of writing it out can help you come up with answers.
2. If you were to go back to basics in this situation, what do you know for sure works for you? Write a list of everything that helps keep you centered.
3. How can you incorporate more of the items from #2 into your week? Find a way to incorporate at least one of those items into your week (bonus points if you can do more!).
4. Re-evaluate the situation after a few days or a week of going back to basics. When you do what you know works, how does the situation feel different?