Being overwhelmed is happening all too often in our fast-paced world today. Add to that the additional stress and pressure that comes when unexpected crises arise, and we can often find ourselves paralyzed not knowing what to do next or even how to function in our mess.
Which happened to be right where I found myself last week. Lots of hard things leaving me feeling overwhelmed and incapacitated, like I just didn’t know what to do.
And honestly it’s more that I really didn’t want to do anything but lay in bed, cry, and have a pity party about how hard life is.
But we all know that is not the answer. So here are a few things I put into practice to keep myself from getting caught in the paralysis trap.
1. Call a Friend. A lifeline. Share what is going on and admit you are feeling overwhelmed. Make sure this is someone you can completely trust with your situation, but also one who will encourage you in the space you are in at the time. I think it’s so important that we don’t allow ourselves to isolate. Because when we isolate, I honestly believe the enemy moves in and starts whispering those things in our ears to keep us defeated. “You aren’t good enough.” “Things will never change.” “Where is your God in all this?” “You will never be able to conquer this. It’s all downhill from here.” Anyone relate? And that is why we need friends. We need to share our burden and know we are not alone.
2. Make a To-Do List. I know the last thing you want to do when you feel this way is to make a seemingly endless list of tasks that you don’t want to deal with. I get it. But putting it all down on paper and out of your head is a huge step. Even if you know you won’t get it all accomplished, somehow getting it out of your head clears your mind and ability to focus.
3. Do the Next Thing. While it’s OK to have a good cry and feel sorry for ourselves for a short time, we can’t stay in that place. If you made your to-do list then it’s easy to do the next thing. Is it just putting in a load of laundry? Or cleaning your kitchen? Making your bed? Sending that email? Or making that phone call? Just do the next thing that needs to be done. I have discovered that once I do something, it is so much easier to do the next thing and then the next thing. And before you know it, you have gotten quite a bit accomplished. There is a big difference to what is going in our head when we feel good about ourselves because we are actively doing something instead of nothing.
4. Set a Goal. I know people hate setting goals. But if we don’t set a goal, we are pretty much aiming at nothing. And that is no fun. Working hard to achieve a goal gives us a huge ego boost and the confidence to keep moving in the right direction. So set a goal to walk three times this week, or finish a project, or read a book. Big or small, it doesn’t matter, but challenge yourself in some way, and then make time to work towards that goal.
5. Stay in the Word and Pray the Word. You knew this was coming, right? This is vital. All too often we think we just can’t connect to God in times of struggle, and yet that is when we need Him most. Read your bible, journal your prayers. I have found keeping an inspiration flip calendar at my bathroom sink makes me soak in some scripture as I start my day. If you don’t know where to even begin reading your bible, I would suggest the Psalms. I love the Psalms, especially when I am facing some tough stuff. David’s heart is so gut-wrenching honest in his Psalms. God knows our hearts, knows what is going on in our lives, and we are dearly loved by Him. So let the truth of His word encourage you and sustain you when you feel overwhelmed.
Please don’t think I have this all together. It is only through my own struggles that I have found some things that help when I am overwhelmed. But by doing 1-2 of these things, or all of them, we can start making progress and not allow life to paralyze us.
Hang in there! Just do the next thing!
p.s. I feel the need to address that so many people struggle with Major Depression. Please know I am not downplaying your diagnosis. I know my tips are probably not very helpful when you are dealing with clinical depression and just can’t get out of bed. My encouragement to you is to see a doctor, start on medications if needed, and find a friend to help hold you up during this difficult time. xoxo
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