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March 21, 2019 | Brenda Price
There are times in life when things are just too much. Kids want this, job wants more, husband needs this, wife can't do that, church needs more of your time, too many things pulling you in too many different directions. So what can you do to keep yourself from having an emotional breakdown or blowing up in ways that can casue damage to you and your family?
Here are some highlights from an article I found "10 Ways to Keep from Feeling Overwhelmed" on Crosswalk.com:
1. Let it go.
Just let it go. There are few matters that are worth losing sleep over. And there are few things that can’t wait until tomorrow. Or next week. Or even longer. Your health is more important than holding onto what is stressing you out.
If you supervise others, practice the art of delegation and allow others to share the load. Know what you do best and hand off the rest to others who can do those jobs better than you. You are only one person. Cut the drama by cutting your schedule.
2. Sleep on it.
That’s great advice when it comes to not only important decision-making, but to anything that might overwhelm you, such as responding to an accusatory email or angry voice message, or committing to one more task that will leave you overextended.
Studies show that the brain actually processes situations more thoroughly while you sleep.
Sleeping on it is the breather that will help you gain perspective and cool the heat of your emotions so you don’t overcommit.
3. Commit to the three E's.
I call them the Essential E’s: Eat right, exercise regularly, and embrace sleep.
When you eat right, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep, you can be at the top of your game and cope so much better when the drama of life hits. When we are emotionally spent, it’s usually because we are physically and nutritionally spent as well.
4. Stay out of it.
We often start feeling overwhelmed when we’ve extended ourselves a little too far when it comes to helping others. It’s called enabling – or “rescuing” – and women are great at it. But just because something happens in your sphere of influence doesn’t mean you are the one to run to the rescue and fix it. Just because you are made aware of something doesn’t mean God is assigning it to you. Much drama – and feelings of anxiety – can be avoided when you get in the habit of running your schedule past God first. It looks like this: 1) Stop; 2) Seek God’s guidance; and 3) Stay out of it unless God gives you a clear indication to step into it.
We often reverse that. We think I will do this unless God stops me. If you’re already overscheduled, think this way instead: The answer is no unless God says “go.”
5. Trust God to control what you can't.
My friend, Donna, learned recently that the more she rests and trusts, the more God goes to bat for her. She had just learned of her mother’s sudden death in a car accident and felt the pull to leave her business to travel and be with her family and help make final arrangements. But although her heart was saying You need to go, her head was saying It’s a busy month, you can’t leave… you have to be here to keep things running smoothly. In the midst of the mental battle, she listened closely for God’s voice: Trust Me. Go do what you need to do.
Donna left her business in the hands of capable people and trusted God with the rest. When she returned a month later, she discovered her business experienced its highest grossing month on record!
6. Stop trying to please everyone.
I’m sure at one point you knew clearly who the priority people were in your life. But that can get fuzzy when we are trying to please too many people, which is often the case when we begin to feel overwhelmed.
So stop being a people-pleaser and realize who matter the most in your life. Who are the people who will cry the most at your funeral? Put them first.
7. Pray it through.
When you start to feel overwhelmed, talk to God about it. Just giving Him your concerns will help usher peace into your life and give you a little more clarity. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand…” (NLT).
Praying quiets your soul, clears your mind, and teaches you to leave your concerns with God, who is better at taking care of them anyway.
8. Get outdoors.
There is something therapeutic about getting outdoors, breathing the fresh air, and noticing the beauty of creation (even if it’s just some trees that line the sidewalk outside your office building).
Getting out into nature reminds us that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it”(Psalm 24:1) and it makes us realize that the petty things of this earth that overwhelm us don’t really matter in the scope of eternity.
9. Reduce the clutter.
Do you realize that just by cleaning off your desk, getting rid of too many clothes in your closet, or clearing the kitchen counter can help you feel less overwhelmed? Everyone needs a clean, clear space to think, work and exist. Where is yours?
When there is less clutter, there are less choices to make and less time spent trying to find things that get lost in the mess.
10. Go off the grid.
Imagine spending a whole day (or maybe even a week!) being inaccessible – no internet, no interruptions, no demands. Just you and the quiet. You can try it in smaller chunks – like for an hour or two a day – if that’s what it takes to ease your anxiety.
The world won’t stop if you do. You’ll just get the rest you need so you can perform better when you return to your desk, computer, or cellphone. Rediscover quiet and recollect your thoughts.
We often believe that we must respond to every request, every email, and every text or voice message immediately. That not only leaves us feeling overwhelmed, but it trains others to expect us to be at their beck and call. Practice the art of being inaccessible (so you can quietly reflect) and trust God that when you take the time to rest He won’t punish you for it by making you miss important opportunities.