Being overwhelmed does not make you weak. It allows you to ask for help, utilise your conscious mind and embrace your support system.  

There are five common mistakes overwhelmed peopled tend to take. And once you know what mistakes you are making, you can use practical solutions to do a better job at navigating and solving the tasks at hand.  

You don’t take the time to gain control and prioritise your actions 

When you feel overwhelmed, you often get stuck in a reactive mindset. You also end up with endless loops of ‘shoulds’, spending more time and energy thinking the same thoughts over and over again. When you don’t take the time to gain control and prioritise your actions, you avoid thinking about the ideal situation and choosing the best option available.  

The Fix – Take 10, write a list and reset your focus.  

Withdrawing from your community  

When you feel overwhelmed, you can also be drained of your emotional energy. And when you have limited energy left, you tend to miss opportunities to fill your emotional cup. It is an easy option, but not one that is sustainable for long periods of time. Your community, whether it be family, friends or teammates, are key to increasing your emotional energy. 

The Fix - Identify ways you still enjoy connecting with your community even when you’ve got limited emotional energy. 

You aren’t considering your conscious mind as your greatest asset 

Your unconscious, wandering mind is as valuable a tool for solving problems and creative thinking as your focused mind. As professionals, we can often get stuck in the overthinking and overwhelmed stage. Recognising our conscious mind is the first step in utilising one of our greatest assets. 

The Fix - Let your mind naturally drift in helpful ways. Go for a drive, exercise, take a shower or lounge in the sun. Great ideas can come at times when you are not focusing on the solution.  Treating the feeling of being overwhelmed as a weakness There are two main times we feel overwhelmed. One is when we are doing a task, we are unfamiliar with, and two when the tasks are high risk. When presented with either of these two situations, we tend to be more self-critical, we are likely to procrastinate, and our stress levels increase.  

The Fix - It’s important to replace your self-criticism with compassionate self-talk.  

Adding more to your plate 

We have all guilty of this at some stage in our careers. We have become a society of ‘yes’ people who struggle to decline a new project, new opportunity or even just a new task. We stack so much on our plates because we believe each item on there will provide us with something we want in life. More luxury, more fun, more fulfilment, more security.  

The Fix – Learn to focus on what is important to you and know when your plate is nearing its limit. Sometimes you have to put things on ice to achieve your goals, and saying no to things that don’t align with this is critical.   

The first step to not feeling overwhelmed is awareness. By being aware you are doing any one of these five things, you can take steps to change the pattern of behaviour and make it through this busy or challenging time. Small changes build up to big opportunities, so take the time now to reset, refocus and embrace the support system around you.  


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