I’ve known many people who get overwhelmed by certain areas of their life or in certain situations, be it family, work, worries about the future, health, friends… I feel overwhelmed on a fairly regular basis and have come to identify it as anxiety.
I remember in particular all the excitement of buying a flat was part-dominated by an overwhelming panic my husband couldn’t understand that stemmed from all that I had to do to make buying our lovely place a reality as well as what it could mean about the trajectory of our lives.
I didn’t really identify the symptoms I was experiencing as anxiety until a work colleague shared his struggles – I could see myself in so many of the things he described. Then, as if a blindfold had been removed from my eyes, I saw so many other references to anxiety; on facebook, adverts, books I was reading, the news. Talk about timing!
Just knowing other people are going through the same thing as me has been a huge relief – I don’t feel like there’s something wrong with me anymore or that I’m going crazy when I feel overwhelmed/anxious and if that’s all you get from reading this post – the knowledge that you’re not alone – then I’m really pleased!
The thing I’ve found super helpful in not letting my anxiety consume me, and what I want to share with you today, is taking one step at a time.
It’s something I’ve actively learnt and put into practice this week gone by. In truth, I was feeling a bit helpless and overwhelmed last week about the same old eating battles I’ve struggled with so long creeping back into my life. It’s a strange old cycle and one that has become a bit of a pattern for me over the years:
I started to despair that I was going to be permanently stuck in this cycle. Yet I felt I could do nothing to stop it. I had identified in an earlier post that I needed to get rid of the food in my cupboard that was facilitating the old patterns creeping back (you can’t comfort eat if you have nothing tasty to eat at home!) but I was feeling overwhelmed by even doing this.
I see now that I was trying to jump from where I was in the cycle (old eating patterns starting to creep back) to living a life with no eating issues whatsoever, which isn’t even part of my current pattern. And the thought of this was overwhelming and unachievable that I was stuck doing nothing.
It was a brilliant excerpt from the book ‘do less, get more’ that fuelled me to act.I read Shaa’s exercise of doing one small thing (as shown in the photo above), I knew straight away there was one thing I could do – put all the ‘trigger’ food in a bag and store it away out of sight. It took me less than 3 minutes to do, but since then I am feeling so much lighter and freer in myself.
So that is my learning of the day and something I thought you might get something from, dear friend…when you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself, what small thing do you have the power to do right now to make the situation less stressful. It might be writing a ‘to do’ list, spending a minute breathing deeply, making one phone call, putting an appointment in the diary, doing a bit of googling…there is always one small thing you can do.
And really, every big thing we accomplish in life is made up of millions of tiny small steps we take, so start taking one small step today.