I think the term overwhelm is very apt! It’s like being covered by a blanket of feelings, thoughts, emotions and physical reactions. It is all encompassing, heavy and prevents you from working effectively and “living” your life.
Now during the COVID 19 pandemic, there is also this feeling that you should be grateful because you have a job when others are being made redundant. You don’t want to say anything as you may appear ungrateful.
But if you are experiencing career overwhelm its likely to be affecting you in many ways including:
- Not sleeping well
- Unable to focus
- Unable to switch off from work
- Working longer and longer hours
- Feeling physically sick
- Unable to eat or overindulging
- Withdrawing from friends (this is so much easier to do working from home)
We each end up with our own unique quilt of overwhelm.
What does your quilt look and feel like?
How heavy is it right now?
I know how easy it is to get stuck, caught up in flight or freeze mode, you haven’t then energy to fight. But there are steps you can take to lighten that feeling and unpick your quilt of overwhelm.
HOW TO MOVE BEYOND OVERWHELM
Make time to breath and review your situation. This isn’t easy when you feel there is so much to do, when you feel you are behind with work.
The time we spend thinking, reviewing, and reflecting has been devalued and we can get caught up always focusing on “the doing”. We should all make time in our week to do this, it isn’t a luxury it’s an essential activity.
So how do you find the space?
There’s this voice in your head screaming at you to get the work done, you haven’t got time etc. Thinking time is not lost time but will help manage the situation. There are many ways to quieten the mind and find space to think…
- Walking, doing something active. Perhaps a 10-minute walk at lunchtime. You will have a fresh perspective afterwards. Actively also helps dissipate adrenaline and cortisol that our bodies generate when we are stressed and anxious.
- Have a long luxurious bath. This is another physical environment away from the laptop, phone, iPad (don’t take them with you) which will give you the opportunity to pause and reset.
- Listening to music you love or read a book. This requires focus on one thing and can quieten the mind.
- Practicing Mindfulness or Meditation. This doesn’t have to be a full-on Buddhist retreat. One of the simplest ways to be mindful is to spend a few minutes a day focusing on your breathing. One of the simplest ones to remember is box breathing. Breath in for 4, hold for 4, breath out for 4 and hold for 4. There are also many apps on the market, with free content, that can be helpful. My personal preference, at the moment, is the Calm.
Look at your quilt from a distance with curiosity, self-compassion and kindness. Naming the issues, acknowledging, and accepting where you are is the first step in moving forward
2 RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Sometimes we need to shift our perspective and mindset to create alternative strategies to manage a situation.
When you strip everything else away, career overwhelm is very often just a matter of resource management.
Very simply there is X amount of work and Y amount of resource = you, i.e. your expertise, knowledge, and time.
Do the simple math!
This isn’t a case of “I should be able to do this!”, “I’m not good enough”, “I should be able to cope”.
Consider how you would react to someone who came to you and showed you very simply their overwhelm from a resource perspective
Would you be kind?
Would you be caring?
Would you try to help?
You may just have too much on and need to find a way of managing the resources available.
3 ASKING FOR HELP
Has this point triggered you?
I find the this is often the biggest blocker for my clients. You automatically switch to a “what will people think?” mindset. You put yourself into “less than” mode. Your internal nagging voice says, “I should be able to do this!”, “I’m not good enough”, “How will my boss/colleagues react?”.
This mindset stops you doing anything different and you battle on alone.
Using the resource management focus to ask for support takes you away from how you feel to clear, work related facts and outcomes.
As an example.
- You need three days to complete a piece of work, without being given any additional workload, to deliver the quality of work the client ( internal or external) is expecting.
- You get an email asking for it in two days. How often does this happens and you end up working late into the night or rushing.
- That email is the perfect time to do the resource management math, before your overwhelm quilt gets heavier.
- When you respond from a resource, expertise, and quality perspective rather than an “I” and “feeling” perspective, it is so much easier.
- You respond explain the situation and ask for additional time or additional resource.
THIS DOES WORK
I have worked with many women who have taken the step of asking for help and pushing back timelines and they have taken more control of their workload and reduced their feelings of overwhelm.
You can too.
If you are ready to make Career Choices to take you from where you currently are to where you want to be – then email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your complimentary discovery call where I show you how I can take you from career overwhelm to career clarity.