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It’s only April, but it’s been a crazy year already! Between personal and business issues, my head is spinning. Sometimes things, even good things, set our thoughts awhirl.

Some years are just like that.

photo by nikko macaspac on unsplash; hand out of water near Sanctuary Christian Counseling in Shippensburg, PA

It seems far too early to name 2019 as a challenging year. However, already this year bids fair to be one of the most interesting, overwhelming, and, potentially satisfying ones, ever.

When every direction seems good, and there are too many choices to choose, when your head is spinning with possibilities and options and it seems like there’s too little time to process it all, many people feel overwhelmed. I know I do.

Maybe you do, too.

Feelings of overwhelm and stress occur when we are afraid that the demands on us will outweigh the resources (time, talent, money) we have to deal with them. It isn’t a good feeling.

So what can you do to tease it all out, to make sense of the mess, even if it’s a good mess? How can you help your busy brain make order out of … well, overwhelm?

Here are some ideas:

  • Start at the end. Where do you want to be in ten years? In five? What long term goals can you identify?

  • If you can’t go out that far, or the thing that’s overwhelming you doesn’t lend itself to long-term planning, what would you like the end result of it to be? Can you at least project to the end of the current challenge and consider your options for success?

  • Sometimes getting off the merry-go-round is a good idea. When you are totally overwhelmed, stop. Read a book. Talk to a friend. Play a game. Do something different, even for a short while, and regroup your energy.

  • In the same vein, take a walk. Exercise. Get your heart pumping and the cobwebs out of your brain.

  • Or, take a “mindful” break. Center your thoughts on your five senses, and not on what is stressful. What do you see? Hear? Taste? Smell? Feel? Close your eyes and think about these things. This is like a small mental vacation!

  • Consider what of the overwhelming items can be given to another. What of the things you find overwhelming do you actually have to “touch”? If it doesn’t need you, pass it on. You will also benefit by another’s thoughts and creativity when you bring them into the process.

  • Make lists. Draw diagrams. Do whatever will work with your brain and help you understand your challenge. Writing things down has great power!

  • Is there anything on your overwhelming list that you can discard? Maybe it’s really not important to you, or maybe it isn’t important Some things are in our lives for a season, and then leave. This is ok! Seriously consider the validity of all your overwhelming items.

  • Focus on gratitude. What can you genuinely be grateful for in your life? Focus on those things for a time. Let everything else go while you meditate on your blessings for a while.

  • Consider taking a breathing break, or practicing some yoga. Both can calm your spirit and bring you back refreshed.

  • Try to prioritize the one thing that absolutely to be done each day, and do that. If other things from your list also are accomplished, well and good. But make sure the makes it to the “done” list. This will keep you from getting distracted by all the other things on the list, at least until that “one thing” is done.

There are probably as many strategies to combat that overwhelming feeling as there are people to use them, these are just a few.

If you are struggling with feelings or difficulties that you are having trouble processing, come see us. We can help you sort it all out and learn to live your best life.

We specialize in helping couples, individuals and families find peace in the midst of difficulties.

Sanctuary Christian Counseling LLC

9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4

Shippensburg, PA 17257


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