Feelings of being overwhelmed often hit me on Sunday evening as I realized it was time to prepare for Monday. This is the time in my week that I look at the clock and know it is time to get the kids ready for bed, lay out their clothes, and prep anything for lunches for the next day. As I realize that my weekend is nearing an end, I look around the house and realize everything I didn’t get done over the weekend. I usually experience this physically as the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and anxiety overwhelms me.
Weekends are when I like to move forward on my goals, try to accomplish home projects, clean the house, and prepare the meals for the week ahead. The problem is that I usually complete a couple of these or part of each of them, and then, on Sunday night, I feel overwhelmed by what I did not get done.
You can do four simple things to overcome overwhelm on a Sunday evening or anytime they come up for you.
1. Brain Dump
The first thing is to allow yourself to Brain Dump. This activity helps all whirling around inside your brain be calmed by placing it onto another medium, where it stops whirling. You can write on a piece of paper or in a journal or type it on your computer.
Some days, I like to grab a piece of paper and write my thoughts all over the paper in no particular order or organization. Other times, I braindump as I am doing something else. I often start thinking of things while I am cleaning the house. I keep a notepad on the counter, and as the thoughts, ideas, and things I need to do start whirling around in my mind, I immediately dump them on the paper so they don’t derail my productivity and I can deal with them later.
On Sunday night, my Brain Dump will appear more like a list. I get a paper out and list all the tasks I am overwhelmed with. I take just a few minutes to list them all out. Then I can move on to helping the kids with their bedtime routine, knowing I will revisit the list after they are asleep.
Other times, when my brain is swirling with anxious thoughts of the future or opinions on a project, I may organize it differently than a list. I will write all the random reviews scattered around the page as words or phrases.
For this activity, you can either give yourself a set amount of time or dump till there are no more ideas, thoughts, and tasks to abandon.
2. Categorize and Prioritize
Review your brain dump; from it, you can categorize and prioritize the things you need to do. They may all feel urgent, but now is the time you can review them and decide just how important they are.
I like to get my grocery shopping done or at least meals planned on the weekend. If I haven’t, I will see meal planning and shopping on my brain dump for the night. Now, I can take a few seconds to assess the importance; is there enough to prepare the kids’ lunches for school tomorrow? Do we have meal ingredients for 1 or 2 dinners? How many days can we make it for breakfast? Then, I know when I need to pick up groceries.
Other categories on my brain dump might be unfinished projects, organizational tasks, bills to pay, appointments to make, people to contact, household items we need, etc.
Overwhelmed on Sunday is usually birthed from unfinished tasks for me. However, being overwhelmed can be highly emotional and anxiety-driven, too. Suppose you are in a transition in life or facing difficulty. In that case, your feelings of being overwhelmed could be coming from fear of the unknown or sensations of pain from a particular situation. Dumping works for this, too. The emotions may even be intermingled with tasks. You can categorize your emotions as a separate category. They need only be assigned a priority to deal with if there is an action you need to take associated with the thought or feeling.
3. Action Steps
Now that you have prioritized the items from your brain dump, you can decide what action steps must be taken.
If anything needs to be done immediately, you may want to stop the process and set a timer for 15 minutes or an appropriate time allotment to get the task started or finished.
Depending on the prioritization you just determined, some items can be attended to today, some can be scheduled for the coming week or month in your calendar, and some can be put off entirely for another time.
Take the action steps you need right now. The urgent actions first. Then, the action step to take with the others may be to pull out your calendar and schedule a time or set a reminder in your phone of when you will complete or work on the task.
After I have attended to the most urgent of my action steps, I am ready to finish overcoming the feelings of being overwhelmed by giving myself the gift of self-care.
Overwhelm can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety that is felt physically in our bodies. It is often a sign that we are not caring for ourselves properly. To truly overcome the feelings that we started with, we need to finish with a focus on ourselves so we are more robust and better able to deal with overwhelm in the future.
Allow yourself at least 15 minutes, but better yet, 30 minutes of self-care after your brain dump and taking some form of action.
Maybe you need to get outside and go for a walk?
Maybe you need to pull out your paints and paint a peaceful picture.
Maybe you need to rest in a bubble bath?
Maybe you need to read a chapter in the novel you are trying to finish.
Whatever self-care fills you up, do some now. For many great ideas in each of the six areas of self-care, you can read more about conducting Self-Care Like a Boss. You can also print out a beautiful chart of ideas to hang somewhere to remind you what to do for yourself. You can find a Self-Care Like a Boss Chart in my Resource Library. Subscribing to my newsletter is one way to get your free password to the resource library. You can subscribe in the form below or the sidebar.