Thursday, 11 October 2012

Overcoming Overwhelm

"Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life"
Marilu Henner

The first step to recovery is acceptance – accepting 100% that I am an alcoholic.  Whether or not it is my fault is not the issue.  What is important is taking responsibility and staying in recovery.  When fear and anxiety steps in, then the best I can do is go back to basics – start taking one day at a time and do the best I can do and be the best I can be in those 24 hours. 
Lately I have been feeling lost, unmotivated and overwhelmed.  I sit here at the computer, looking around at the paperwork, checking hundreds of unopened emails, reading reminders on my outlook calendar for work that has not been done and I just don’t know where to start.  So today I have decided to work out what the underlying problems are - this is not usually me at all.
To be overwhelmed is to be confronted with more than you can bear.  To be caught up in a whirlwind of events that make you feel depressed and frustrated.  Soon the pressure becomes too much that you feel you cannot do anything.   Finally you resign yourself to a perpetual state of despair.   Once your life was simple with glimpses of overwhelming times, whereas now your life is one where you are predominantly overwhelmed with no hope of serenity.  For someone who suffers from depression, this is not a good place to be.

What should I be doing on a daily basis?
Cold calling for my son and doing his books – commission basis only
Other clients work – when it is available – as in tax deadlines which are due now
Reading and following up on emails
Writing a blog post a day
Spending time on my recovery
General housework and cooking

What is holding me back?
I do not have enough time to phone and catch up paperwork.
My health – I have had the flu for two months now.
Lack of sleep – anxiety and continuous snoring from my partner!
Information overload.

Debt – old credit cards that are compounding interest on top of interest every month.

What is a solution?
Stop the phoning until the paperwork and tax returns are up to date,
Look online for part time work or start an affiliate business to make some extra money.
A visit to the doctor might be in order.
Eat more regularly, add more fruit to my diet and start exercising.
Move into the spare room for a while and catch up some good sleep!
Find time for my recovery – just an hour a day to read, write or meditate.
Spend weekends working on my blog posts and catching up filing.
Unsubscribe from unnecessary emails and use the evenings to read the important ones.
Sell my car to pay off the debt or ask for temporary help from the family.

A daily action plan is necessary to get done what has to be done.  Running away from problems does not help any situation – it just makes it worse.  Computers are here to help us speed up our communication systems and work processes but we often get way laid by reading social media and other blogs – put an hour aside a day to do that, preferably the evenings.  If your health is ailing, get is sorted because it leads to depression, tiredness and stress.  Sort out clutter – a desk full of papers makes the work load seem worse than it actually is.  Prioritize your work and do what is necessary to meet deadlines and earn an income first. 
Most importantly, find time for yourself doing what you like to do.  When you feel like life is being unfair to you, remember all the things you have to be grateful for.  There are others out there in the world far worse off then you.  Remember to use the most powerful tool I know, the Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference


  1. What great advice! I also find that taking things in 30 minute chunks helps me break through the overwhelm.

    The sleep component is huge. I've learned, lately, that we should take on the attitude of a dog. And that is, when you're tired, sleep! I have never napped during the day, but I find that if I give myself permission to take a nap, I refresh my mind and my body and I'm way more productive!

    1. The sleep part if so important. I work from home so if need be, I take what I call a power nap in the late afternoon - just 40 minutes and you feel refreshed. Thanks so much for the comment xxx

  2. Sara,

    If it wouldn't add to my paper clutter that I don't ever read again and deal with properly, I would print this out.

    I needed this.


    1. Oh wow glad you learned something from it - thanks for the comment xxx

  3. Sara,
    If it wouldn't add to my paper clutter, I would print this out. I really needed this reminder. Thanks.


    1. Thanks again Kina - appreciated and blessings right back at ya xxx

  4. Sleep is important. I try to get enough, if not I take a nap about 4pm.

    1. 40 winks as the British say - thanks for commenting xxx

  5. Getting into overwhelm is the last thing we as addicted people need. It is a short trip from there into the addiction. Keeping our priorties straight is critical as half the stuff we get worked up over is meaningless anyways :)

    1. Totally agree - we tend to complicate the hell out of simple things! Thanks for inviting me for the guest post once again xxx