Overwhelm First Aid Kit
I went for an eye exam last week and my optometrist told me my eyes were too dry and she suggested me to blink more when I’m working at a computer. She told me to get a post it, write “BLINK” on it and put it on my monitor so that I would automatically blink more when starting at my screen. Ok, great!
But I really want to talk about overwhelm. Some days I’m feeling totally overwhelmed at work. I get paralyzed, I can’t plan my next actions, I compulsively check email, or news, or whatever, I forget to take notes… I’ve been talking about this my therapist and one of the things she recommended was practicing identifying my overwhelm symptoms right when they start. For me the signs are racing thoughts, inability to focus, higher heart rate, headache and an overall feeling of unease.
And when I notice those signs, I should start my Overwhelm First Aid Kit routine. Inspired by the “BLINK” post it, I created one with my overwhelm emergency checklist and put it on my board, so that I can easily look at it and calm down.
The steps are:
STOP! Take 3 deep breaths.
Step away: get up and look out the window, get some water or tea.
Notice body sensations: what am I feeling right now? Naming the sensations helps them slow down.
Mind Sweep: WRITE! Helps getting thoughts out of my head, because they are bombarding me.
Plan and Resume: After I calm down, create a plan of what to do next.
FOCUS! Close distractions and start working on the next action.
Celebrate my progress 🙌.
I had an overwhelm incident at work yesterday, and I took a long time to identify it and snap out of it. I had unconsciously tensed my body and clenched my jaw, and by the end of the day I had a sore neck and shoulder.
Now I am more aware of when overwhelm starts creeping in and hopefully this post-it will help me get out of it sooner.
By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.