Simple Advice to Get Through Feeling Overwhelmed

Recently, I made the mistake of looking up. I’d had my head down, focused on completing the tasks to move me closer to my goals. I was successfully juggling the various responsibilities in my life, and then I looked up to see how I was doing. I guess you have to look up and assess your progress at some point, right? That gives you the opportunity to course correct if necessary. But here’s the thing…don’t look around too long. If you do, you may start to feel overwhelmed by what you still need to accomplish.

Let’s use a swimming analogy. Imagine you decided to swim from a boat fairly far from shore to that shore. You know the task ahead of you. You know it’s going to be challenging but that you can do it. You swim for a good long while, ignoring the waves, blocking out any thoughts that there are numerous creatures in the water below you that you can’t see. Then, after awhile, you look up to see how far you still have to go. Maybe you look at how far you’ve already swam and assess whether you can stick with the same stroke to get you to shore. That’s fine. Now keep swimming. Because what happens when you stop swimming for too long? Maybe self-doubt starts creeping in. Maybe you start to feel worn out by the waves that you’d been ignoring up to this point. Maybe you start to worry about potential dangers you can’t see. Are any of these worries moving you closer to your goal? No! They are making you feel overwhelmed. So put your head down and start swimming!

When you are feeling overwhelmed, focus on the task you need to complete and the end goal. Get yourself in motion. Put your head down and do the work. To quote Dory from Disney’s Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”

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