We’ve all had those times when we feel so overwhelmed that the only feasible way to deal with it is to crawl up in a ball and hide. To make matters worse, overwhelm also causes us to become frustrated at every little thing that gets thrown at us, and we start to snap at others for absolutely no reason.
It’s easy to let the little things get to you when you’re in this state, whether that little thing be work requests, criticism, or a completely unexpected event. After all, when everything is going on at once and things are piled up on top of you, it becomes harder to think and respond clearly.
Luckily by increasing your self-awareness and giving yourself permission to slow down, you can begin to manage your emotions when the little things start to get to you.
Here are five tips to help you cope the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed:
Close Your Eyes & Breathe
When you feel like you’re about to cry because you don’t know where to start or how to keep going, close your eyes and take five deep breaths. Your head may feel like it’s about to explode, but this will help you calm down for the time being.
Acknowledge Your Frustration
Ask yourself why you are feeling this way. What just happened that got you so worked up? Was it that a co-worker added on another project, you realized that you forgot to do something, or maybe someone misinterpreted what you said? Instead of blaming the person who may have caused this frustration and thinking negative thoughts about them (whether it be you or someone else), focus on acknowledging the moment that it all became too much. Focusing on the situation rather than the person is going to help you move forward and avoid conflict.
Clear Your Mind
Step away from the situation and give yourself five minutes to recuperate. Listen to music, go for a walk, or watch a funny video. You need to give yourself time to decompress before you respond to the situation, especially if it involves someone else. After all, you don’t want to say or do something that ends up causing more frustration.
Ask For Help
Once you’ve stepped away from the situation, figure out how you’re going to move forward. If you’re trying to get everything done by yourself, ask for help. Maybe you’re frustrated because you’re not sure how to do something. Ask questions and try to get some clarity on the situation. And if the little thing that’s getting to you is caused by another person, try bringing it to their attention in a constructive way. Let them know how they can make something easier for you.
The delightful Tina Fey once said, ‘Say yes, and you’ll figure it out later’ which is good advice if you want to try new things, but there also comes a time when you need to say no. If you’re saying yes to everything and always trying to figure things out later, you’ll never be able to catch up and get ahead of the game. Learning to say no can be really difficult for those of us people pleasers, but you’re never going to help anyone if you’re always snapping at them out of frustration. Tell people when you’re feeling overwhelmed because they might just offer to help you out.
How do you cope when the little things get to you?