my top 3 tips for getting out of overwhelm

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Yesterday was the first day of spring and here in New York, it snowed.

Despite the snow, there was still something about the start of spring that got me really excited and motivated for a change.

I’ve been hibernating all winter and in true hibernation form, i’ve been very resistant to exercising, eating nutritiously, and well, just any kind of movement at all. It’s also time to spruce up my spring wardrobe and I’ll need to do some shopping. Now that Im thinking about it, it’s probably time to give my apt some love; i’ll need to clean, get some plants, new throw pillows, some fun new decor. The start of spring is also a good time to revisit my goals… There becomes so much to do that I don’t even know where to begin so I…

don’t. do. anything.

I know I can’t be alone on this one so I’m sharing my 3 uber simple strategies for getting out of my obnoxious overwhelm, and getting sh*t done.

TIP #1

Make your bed. Seriously. Stop everything you’re doing right now, make your bed, and continue to make your bed every morning. Let it be the first thing you do each day. Making your bed every morning will give you the same satisfaction as crossing something off of your list. What better way to start your day than feeling accomplished. I know it seems small but trust me, it is the little things that matter in this life. Also, if you haven’t seen this Navy SEAL’s commencement speech to the 2014 graduating class of the University of Texas, watch it. He sums up the importance of making your bed every day much more beautifully than I ever could.

“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

– U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven

TIP #2

Empty your brain. Ok, full disclosure? I actually call this exercise a “brain dump” but there has to be a more eloquent name for it, right? Suggestions welcomed!

Supplies needed:

  1. You
  2. Something to write with (This something that you choose should allow you to write freely, easily, and quickly!)
  3. Something to write on (This something that you choose should be roomy enough to fit all of the thoughts in your brain right now.)

How to do it:

First, just start writing. Write everything that comes to your mind that you feel is something you have to do. I mean everything. Even if it’s something you don’t think you don’t need to do for another 10 years, if it popped into your mind, it must leave your mind so, write. it. down. When I do this, I usually fill a few pages of a journal and it sounds a little something like this:

eat healthy. cook more. grocery shopping. plan my wedding. buy a house. plan trip to thailand. finish tip sheet for work. email grandma back. drink more water. sign up for a new yoga studio. boot shopping. pack up winter clothes. order book from amazon. make my bed. wash dishes. laundry. make eye doctor appointment.

and the writing goes on and on until I feel like Ive squeezed every possible to do off of my list, big or small, near or far.

Then, I pick 2-3 things that I can do right now (ex: make my bed, schedule eye doctor appointment) and I do it and cross it off my list.

Lastly, I mostly just stare at it all completely humored at the ridiculous many things that pop into my mind, contribute to my feeling overwhelmed, and prevent me from getting many amazing things done. If I’m still feeling overwhelmed, I prioritize the list and start crossing some other things off but usually, just writing it all down is a weight lifted for me.

TIP #3

Minimize your activation energy. Activation energy is a chemistry term. According to dictionary.com it’s defined as “n. the least amount of energy required to activate atoms or molecules to a state in which they can undergo a chemical reaction.”

For the sake of getting out of overwhelm, we will define activation energy as the energy it takes for you to initiate an action and therefore, get some serious stuff done. cool? 

So, think about what is creating so much overwhelm and strategize a way to decrease the activation energy to get whatever it is you need to get done, done.

For example: If I want to start running in the mornings. I know that waking up in the morning, struggling to find clothes in the darkness of my room, deciding what pre-running snack I will have to fuel me, and locating some H20 are all things that will ultimately, prevent me from even bothering with the run in the first place.

to decrease my activation energy, on Sundays, I can lay out my running outfits for the entire week, ensure that I have water bottles filled, and refrigerated and even pack a breakfast snack for each morning that I plan to run. Boom. I’m way more likely actually go for my morning run.

What tips do you guys have for getting out of overwhelm? Id love to hear. Share them in the comments below! 

Thanks for reading

Amy K Hall

8 thoughts on “my top 3 tips for getting out of overwhelm

  1. Anonymous says:

    I love this. I have a bad habit of just pulling the covers up over my pillows instead of making the bed properly.

  2. Mad says:

    I make anything I want to do a competition with myself. I got this from my mom. If she needs to clean the house, she’ll write down every task (kitchen floors, bathroom tub, match socks, etc) on a piece of paper and put each into a hat. Then she’ll pull a paper from the hat and time herself on completing that task. The next paper she draws from the hat, she has to do faster. And so on until the house is clean! It’s quite fun!

  3. Heather says:

    Love this entry Amy! May I also add when you come home, putting things away immediately instead of dropping them in the middle of the floor? In the past year or so I’ve made a huge effort to put groceries away right when I bring them home, and unpacking from a trip right when I get back (instead of plopping my suitcase down and then landing myself on the couch for an hour or more). It’s sooo helpful and then you don’t have to stare at extra stuff all out of place all over your home:)

  4. You have very good tips to follow in this post and the comments add more good ideas. But I am reacting to your first comment. Yesterday was April 18 and we woke up to a couple of inches of snow covering everything, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The snow was gone by noon but what a surprise!.

    • Yes, it has been a tough winter/ spring for everyone but hopefully it’s finally starting to warm up in most places!

      Thank you for reading and for the comment!

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