One of the biggest things I’ve been struggling with in my life is the all-consuming feeling of overwhelm. Moving to L.A and entering the entertainment industry definitely didn’t make it better (I know, big surprise, who would have thought?!) – until I found a way to deal with it.
Sometimes we accidently get so obsessed with our goals and dreams that we forget that we can do anything but not everything. And it’s exactly when we try to juggle with too many things that the crippling feeling of overwhelm can take over and make you drop everything on the floor. When you’re a freelancer, it can be a blessing but also a curse not to have a set schedule every week. While it’s liberating to be able to work at any time of the day it also comes with headaches. Because let me repeat: You can literally work all the time. And that, ladies and gentlemen – can easily trigger the feeling of overwhelm.
I decided to share some tips and tricks that have helped me – please feel free to share yours below!
Write the overwhelm down
Basically it all comes down to focusing on the step ahead of you instead of the whole staircase.
Sometimes I’ll sit with my roommate and out of the blue I feel super overwhelmed when we talk about the things I need to do for the day, week or month: “I don’t know why I’m tearing up, I’m just feeling overwhelmed today”.
She always hands me a paper and a pen: “Write down everything you need to do that makes you feel overwhelmed”.
I write down a ton of different dance classes I feel that I need to take, I have to write feedback for my mentorship-students, I have some VISA things I need to figure out, I have an article I have to write, I need to call my family, I have to help the dance studio with their webpage and I want to start a blog… the list is long.
She’ll grab my notes and say: “Good. What is necessary right now and what can wait?”
“The blog can definitely wait. The webpage is a source of income I need in order to pay rent, so that one is a priority. Feedback for the students has to be today. VISA things definitely isn’t necessary at all for another couple of months, I want to dance and I want to call my family”.
Then you take a new piece of paper and write down the things you need to do today. Just today.
Prioritize Don’t Procrastinate When Overwhelmed
Just because we have ideas and things we want to do, it doesn’t mean that we have to do them all right now in this moment. I’m not talking about procrastinating but I’m talking about prioritizing that long to-do list of yours. By categorizing your list by “today“, “tomorrow”, and “sometime in the future”, you remove a lot of pressure from your shoulders and avoid the overwhelm. You’re not losing by putting dream number 3 and 4 on hold for a little bit in order to pursue dream number 1 and 2.
Do the quick and easy task first
It kinda goes against dealing with “the biggest problem” first, but to get a sense of control by accomplishing something and shorten your to-do-list can feel great. It could be one quick e-mail or to clean your room. It gives you the feeling of making progress and can get you into the flow of action, especially if your overwhelm has a tendency to paralyze you.
(Maybe you’d like this blog post about overthinking too, actually!)
Ask For Help When Overwhelmed
I’m not very into astrology (I know – how can you not when you live in LA?!). However, I’m very stubborn which I definitely like to blame on the fact that I’m a Taurus. If you’re anything like me, you want to do pretty much anything on your own.
Even with this blog, I would rather sit and watch 35 YouTube videos of how to insert a photo than asking someone I know.
Sometimes we’re too proud – other times we just don’t wanna bother people. We’re too embarresed to ask for help and be vulnerable. Saying: “Hey, I can’t do this alone, please help me” doesn’t go with your Bad B*tch rep on instagram. I understand.
But I swear – asking for help can save you so much time, money and hours of being overwhelmed. If you were to reach out to someone today that could help you with anything you have on your to-do list, who would that be?
I dare you to reach out.
Love yourself & be realistic
Do you ever think about how many of your troubles that would wash away, if you just loved yourself enough to forgive yourself for not being perfect?
Behind the feeling of overwhelm there’s often an underlying fear of not being good enough, a fear of failing and a fear of disappointing yourself. You wanna be able to do everything 100% perfectly, always be admired, work 60 hours a week, go to the gym, make more money than ever before, look like Kylie Jenner, have flawless skin, drink enough water and always reply to everyone right away.
But when that’s not happening (because let’s face it – you’re human), love yourself enough to not stress yourself out. You’re on your own path, and if you stop being anxiously scared of making mistakes and not being good enough, you’ll be way better at handling the feeling of overwhelm.
I mean, of course you get overwhelmed if you constantly hold yourself up to unrealisticly high standards! Love yourself enough to know that you deserve peace!
Take A Day Off When You’re Overwhelmed
Sometimes we get so caught up with things we have to do that we forget to make space for the little things. Like sitting with a cup of coffee in the sun. Or calling an old friend for hours to talk about everything and nothing. Reading books that aren’t just about getting closer to a goal or “how to build an empire”. Go to the beach. Eat ice cream. Stalk your ex-boyfriends.
If you’ve had the anxious feeling of overwhelm for a while, taking a day or two or three off is so valuable.
Life is simply not a race
It’s easy to get overwhelmed in such an individualized and competetive like-and-subscribe based society where we applaud the ones that are “on that grind”, “the hustlers” and the ones with dark circles under their eyes from never resting. I’m really trying to fight the urge to write down a Panda-Express-fortune-cookie-quote, but it’s kinda inevitable so here you go: life is not a race.
When you’re done vomiting over that quote, then read it again and agree with me, please. Thanks. But for real. Why are you in SUCH a rush?
Moving as “quickly” as possible feels good. It feels productive. But ultimately I think being in a rush often slows you down. If you’re in a meeting feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the audition you have in an hour, then go to the audition feeling overwhelmed and stressed about the extra assignment you have to turn in tonight.. you’re never really living in the present moment, are you? And if you’re not staying present and enjoying where you are, then what is the point?
Choosing to constantly be on the go is easier than not being on the go. It dulls the pain. It means not having to really take a look at yourself. A superficial sense of satisfaction comes from feeling you have accomplished a lot.
When you slow down and breathe, and stop living your life in the constant fear of not being good enough, you’ll probably realize that it’s all not that serious anyway. And if you come in second or third or last.. the sun will probably still rise tomorrow, don’t you think?
When I found out that what I do is not a matter of life and death, a big part of the overwhelm disappeared. I got better at taking days off and do silly 24-year-old stuff. Yes, we gotta work so hard if we want to achieve our biggest dreams out there, but we have to have fun and live our lives while doing so.
If this was helpful to you at all , you might want to come and hang out in the Facebook Group or say hi on Instagram! Community is seriously everything to me this year – DM me, I would love to connect with you!