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Wabi Blog

Why You're Feeling Overwhelmed (And What To Do)

The Sunday Scaries just hit different in 2020.

There are a lot of circumstances contributing to making us feel overwhelmed. For me, some of these include feeling:

  • Uncertainty about being able to make future travel and social plans due to COVID-19 related restrictions. (As of this writing, the NFL hasn’t communicated fan plans for the 2020-21 season. Baseball delays I can handle but not being able to cheer on the Pack would lead to a new level of devastation.)

  • Worry I will get dirty looks/shamed if I decide not to wear a mask when 8 months pregnant in 89 degree weather.

  • Swamped with a seemingly endless to-do list at work.

  • Scared of the unknowns of labor and delivery and anxious about dealing with postpartum depression.

  • Pressure to keep up my go-go-go manner (despite being pregnant,), which often results in me feeling depleted. For example,

On Sunday night before falling asleep I was reading the book my doctor’s office gave me. I got to the labor and delivery section. It was at the end of a weekend filled with fun: playing sports and enjoying dinners with small groups of family and friends. But, I was feeling exhausted and reading this chapter increased my fears about the upcoming, unknown traumatic endeavor. I remembered when I had knee surgery, how scared I was going into surgery (and of course I forgot how strong and determined I was to rebuild once it was over,) and told myself I was just overtired, I had so much for which to be grateful, and that I could re-visit this feeling with a fresh mind and deal with it in the morning.

The next morning on a professional development videoconference, one of my team members shared insights from a webinar she recently attended on feeling overwhelmed. I grabbed my notebook and pen. How timely!

We get excited about all of the “things” we have to do, and eventually this makes us feel overwhelmed. There are strategies to overcome this feeling and reframe your perception to help you feel better:

  1. Use your senses. Whether it’s listening to music (hear) or playing in the sand (touch), engaging one or more of your five senses can help you break away from the feelings of stress.

  2. Change your phrasing. Phrases like “I am so busy!” makes “busy” who we are. Swapping ownership of busy for something like “I am feeling challenged by this” helps to shift your perspective.

  3. Download it. Divide It. Do It. Write down everything you have to do. Prioritize and/or delegate each item. Then get after it and enjoy checking each item off the list!

Bonus mind trick: Compartmentalize when you have trouble sleeping. Imagine a box at the end of your bed. Put each item making you feel overwhelmed inside. Close the box. Push it aside. “That is my tomorrow box!”


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