Effectively Fighting Overwhelm
Do you ever feel constantly busy, but like you’re not getting anything done? Are your long-term goals suffering because you’re too caught up in the stressors of the here and now?
Psychiatrist Kristen Carpenter, PhD, director of women’s behavioral health at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, has some advice for more balance and less stress as you work towards achieving major milestones.
Align your time with your goals
Avoid burning yourself out on unfulfilling activities. Time and energy are both finite, and we always have demands on our time. Keep some type of calendar or planner so you can track how you spend your time, and if it’s not in line with your values and goals, restructure your schedule to closer reflect your long-term goals.
Note two symptoms of burnout
Carpenter says you should take notice of two symptoms that signal burnout - feeling that you’re falling behind, or feeling that you’re not doing anything especially well. If either of these apply to you, you need to scale back on your activities. Make a list of your obligations and activities and decide which ones are most important.
Be mindful before you say yes
Pay attention to what you’re taking on and which tasks you’re saying “yes” to. If they’re not helping you achieve your goals, then it’s just eating up your time. Instead of jumping to an immediate yes, learn to say no, or delay your yes by saying “I would like to do this, but I need to see what else I have to get done right now.” This allows you to consider if you are saying yes simply as a reflex or because the task will move you closer to your goals. If you’re saying yes purely out of obligation, start saying no - and mean it. Don’t overwhelm your schedule with obligations that aren’t in line with your goals.
Shut off your gadgets
Don’t be accessible all the time, says Carpenter. You must keep your working hours confined in some way, however you define your workday. You might chose to ignore texts after 6pm each day, or shut down everything at 9pm and recharge for the next morning. Taking time out will help you keep your balance. The same applies for planned days off and vacations - make yourself unavailable to really enjoy your time off, don’t stay attached to your gadgets (and therefore your work) when you’re trying to unwind.