Let’s imagine a world where all our days are spent in a state of pure bliss, the universe bows to our every command, and thingsalwaysgo our way. We’re in such perfect control of our surroundings that the terms “stress,” “anxiety,” and “mental overload” are foreign concepts. Yes, nothing,nothing, can knock us out of our zen zone.
Do a brain dump
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with a to-do list that grows every time you look at it, then you need to just do a brain dump. Grab a pen and notepad and download everything that’s swirling around in your head. Often times it’s the tornado of “to-dos” and the “if this, then that, and what aboutthat?”train of thoughts that can get us riled up and unable to focus.
. It doesn’t have to look pretty. It doesn’t have to be functional. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Just jot it down. Once it’s out of your head, pause and do something else. When you feel you’ve calmed a bit, go back and circle 3 things (max!) that you can focus on that day. Make a promise to not think about the rest until you’ve finished them.
Inhale, exhale. Repeat
It’s simple, but it works. There’s a reason every yoga class and meditation enthusiast talks about breathing as being key to helping you “be present.” You can find plenty of good breathing and guided meditation exercises online. But don’t worry too much about whether you’re doing it right. Just make sure to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth a few times, with each progressive inhale getting longer and deeper. Trust us when we say that 5 minutes is all you need for a quick reset.
Explore the neighborhood and smell something fresh
When your energy levels are low and you’re finding it hard to focus, fight the voice in your head that tells you that you don’t have time for a short walk. Or some stretching exercises. Or, for that matter, anything that lets youmoveso that your bones crack, your blood is pumping, and your surroundings are new. Go out and get to know the neighborhood for 10 minutes by yourself. Smell the flowers, if possible. If that’s totally impossible, remember that a few drops of an essential citrus oil also does wonders.
Set a timer and do one thing. Just one
Don’t fall for the trap of this thing people call “multitasking.” What people usually mean is that they have the TV on in the background while they’re cooking or they’re listening to their favorite podcast while cleaning. It doesn’t mean that you’re actually doing multiple things at once. Our brains weren’t designed for such nonsense. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’ll help yourself if you focus on one thing, and one thingonly. Set a timer and commit to working on one thing for the next hour. Mute your notifications, close those extra tabs on your screen, and do a deep dive into one small project that you can handle for the next 45-60 minutes.
If all else fails, cry if you need to
No, really. Sometimes all we need is an emotional release. Crying in front of your boss might not be the best idea, but if you feel the tears welling up, step outside, go to your car or find a bathroom, and let them run. We’re only human. When we’re feeling frazzled and overworked, it’s perfectly fine to have a good cry. Think about it this way: Getting it all out will help you to breathe more easily and return to your work without the tension and stress that has been tugging at you.