Have you ever played the game Buckaroo?
The game features a plastic model of mule and 12 items which can be loaded onto the mule’s back. Each player takes a turn to add an item. At some point the load gets too much and the mule bucks the whole load off.
It’s a tense game
It’s also a metaphor for life.
When you take on too much, say yes to everyone and everything, you can easily get overwhelmed. And then like Buckaroo, your reaction to that ‘one more thing’ can be unpredictable, disproportionate and irrational.
Overwhelm is debilitating. It can show up as:
- Procrastination – you feel paralysed and unable to function. You don’t know what to do first and so you do nothing
- Emotional outbursts – you overreact to minor stresses, like being unable to find your phone, or do simple tasks that don’t usually challenge you
- Negative thinking – you struggle to think rationally and tend to feel hopeless and helpless about your situation
- Fatigue – you feel exhausted all the time. You can’t concentrate, feel confused and struggle to make decisions
- Withdrawal – you withdraw from friends and family. You tell yourself that they cannot help you. You feel like no one understands what you are going through.
As someone who has experienced and exhibited ALL of the above symptoms, I’m here to tell you – it doesn’t have to be this way.
Right now, there are a few things you can do that will help:
- Breathe – stop and take some deep breaths, using your abdomen. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, (you can sigh at this point!)
- Move – changing your physical perspective can actually help you see your circumstances differently. Ask yourself – how else could I see this?
- Challenge your beliefs about the situation - Where are you deleting or distorting the truth? A great question to ask is - what are you assuming to be true here?
- Seek support – from a therapist, coach or friend. Talking can help to release emotions, foster understanding, and gain insights.
Life can be challenging at times, but you are still here. Your ability to withstand pressure is boundless. It is when you don't remember this that stress takes over and you feel overwhelmed.
Please don't suffer in silence. It really doesn't have to be this way.