Photo courtesy of Carolina Heza at Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Carolina Heza at Unsplash

Have you ever had that feeling where it feels like your brain has way too many tabs open?  You have so much to do and think about yet you feel like you can't think straight.  Welcome to overwhelm.  

This feeling which can send us into a tailspin, what causes it?   It may be due to having too much work to do and not enough time.  It may be juggling priorities and struggling to see how you can make it all happen.  It may be working on something new or something you haven't done in a while.  But what I find with a number of my clients is it can also be when they have made a decision to make some changes in their life - looking for a new job, apply for that promotion, deciding on a career change.  Whilst they wholeheartedly want it to happen, their brain kicks into protect mode and throws up all sorts of thoughts and fears in an attempt to take them off track and send them right back to where they feel safe.  In the comfort zone.  The place where everything feels comfortable and includes doing the same things and mixing with the same people.  It can indeed be really comfortable but we do not learn very much or develop ourselves inside the safety of the comfort zone.  Change doesn't occur in this place.

So if you want to get out of your comfort zone and make some changes then here are some ways that you can escape the overwhelm and get back on track:

1.  Getting to know your overwhelm

In order to escape it you need to look it square in the eyes and figure out what is really going on. Get some clarity around what is causing it, what is lurking behind the overwhelm such as self doubt, fear, uncertainty and understand what you want instead.

Overwhelm is our brains way of saying too many tabs open

2.  Understanding where it lives

Overwhelm is highly likely not to live within our comfort zones so if it doesn't live there where does it live?  We also have two other zones which are our stretch zone and our panic zone.  It is helpful to understand how we feel in each of these different zones and what makes us feel that way so we can recognise what is happening when overwhelm shows up again.

3.   Doing a brain dump

When we are looking to get out of our comfort zones there could be many things that we need to think of but what happens in overwhelm is we go into overdrive and are thinking of things that may not need our attention right now.  So it is useful to break down everything that is on your mind and put it into appropriate car parks, such as the stop and drop, short stay and long stay car parks.  It is letting your brain know that these things needs to be looked at but it is all down on paper and you can revisit it at any time.

4.  Get into action

The next step is simply to decide on what needs to be done now and then write down what you are going to do, when you are going to do it and record when it has been completed.  Making changes does require you to keep an eye on where you are heading but in order to progress it is important to keep an eye on what needs to happen now to help you take those steps each day to progress towards your goal.

Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground

5.  Watch out for the comfort zone gremlins

Oh yes It is true that as you start to think about stepping out of your comfort zone, your fears and doubts will show up as they want to keep you safe in your comfort zone and it can say some pretty crappy things, such as who are you to do this, that you aren't smart enough, good enough and it can go on with it's nasty talk.  It is good to know they are there and give them some time to express what is their concerns.  Thank them for their feedback but don't listen to them and certainly don't let them hold you back, otherwise they will happily keep you forever in your comfort zone.

I have created a free downloadable workbook "Escape the Overwhelm and get back on track".   If you would like to download a copy simply fill in your details below and you will get a copy drop into your inbox.