Overwhelm seems to have been the buzzword of 2017. In short, mental overload is best defined as the act of taking on more than a person’s fair share of thinking, planning, and doing. When I am overwhelmed I often forget things, my sleep is less restful, and I feel like I'm on autopilot.
It affects all of us, whether we're heading a family, running a company or juggling multiple jobs, or both. Another chore to tack on to the already length list of requirements but mental overload can affect any relationship we have from that with our partner to our relationships with our friends. Some people are natural carers, unsatisfied unless they are organising, planning and arranging, but even these people can fall prey to mental overload. But there’s no need to be enslaved by it; here are 5 ways to curb mental overload.
1. Step Out of Gender Defined Roles
Before we begin, let us understand that mental overload can equally affect men as well as women. While recent literature on the topic has been skewed towards women, who are often seen as natural caretakers, plenty of men fall under the overwhelming weight of mental overload, too. Try not to assign roles entirely because of gender--anyone can scrub the dishes and prepare meals.
2. Choose Between Done vs Perfect
Relinquishing control of each task and accepting that when we do ask for help, it may not be achieved in the exact way we would have done it is essential for curbing mental overload. Strive for having tasks completed and not for having them perfect. That isn’t to say to accept substandard work but to be appreciative of the work that is done and to accept less than perfection, especially when presented with the best of intentions.
3. Make Time for Self Care
When you’re scheduling in your check-in dates in your planner, remember to include moments to allow you to recharge during the week or give yourself rewards for a job well done at just for being awesome at 'adulting'. Your rewards needn’t be expensive or elaborate. However, rewards need to happen when you choose and self-care needs to happen daily. Yes, daily. More on that later this January (watch this space). Just consider a few small things you enjoy and plan to use them to reward yourself for your efforts. This extra motivation will help to keep you focused and give you something to strive towards in meeting your goals.
4. Plan Ahead
Oftentimes, the issue with mental overload is forgetting what tasks need doing. Plan ahead, make schedules and get into a daily routine. Divvy the tasks equally and consistently and eventually you will begin to fall into a pattern that you are comfortable with.
5. Ask for Help
Let me say this again...ASK FOR HELP. As women, we can feel pressured to juggle it all and to try to become busiest lady, most valuable [insert role here] of them all, but the truth of the matter is, there is strength in asking for help. The single greatest salve for curbing mental overload is to simply ask for assistance. Ask for help as often and with as many tasks as you need it, and do not feel ashamed in asking.You'll be surprised to learn that people are often willing to lend a hand.
Recognise the signs of overwhelm and give one or some of these suggested tips to ensure you do not fall foul to it.