I think we all feel overwhelmed at times. I know I do, and I have been know to let it show when dealing with my kids and my spouse. I know my private cookbook coaching clients feel overwhelmed too. They tell me about it and their overwhelm sometimes makes them want to stop the dream of writing their own cookbook. That’s the scary part of overwhelm. We don’t function at our best when we feel that way and if we’re not careful we let it the feeling drown us in inaction or worse we let it make us want to quit.
Overwhelm is a feeling, a strong one at times, but a feeling nonetheless. The good news is that feelings are fleeting and they aren’t right or wrong. They just are. I try to remember that I can change the way I feel through concrete actions in another direction.
When I feel overwhelmed I ask myself where the pressure is coming from. It’s usually one of these areas:
- Looming deadlines for projects
- Saying yes to too much
- Goals I have set for myself that aren’t realistic
- Habits that interfere with my work and life
- My expectations of myself (like I can do it all – today!)
- Expectations of others (spouse, kids, family, co-workers, volunteer commitments)
- Lack of self-care, sleep, exercise, quiet-time
Once I’ve identified my source of pressure I take concrete actions to make an adjustment if needed. Sometimes I need to improve my productivity focus and time management. Sometimes I need to work in more focused blocks of time on very small, but prioritized tasks. Maybe this is a wake-up call to take better care of myself with sleep, exercise, prayer, and a tightened up morning routine. Maybe I need to focus on what’s important right now and set realistic expectations of what I’m able to accomplish with the time I have.
Overwhelm is not just limited to you and me. Dawn Falcone, The Chaos Liberator, writes about overwhelm, and so does Elise Moreau with 5 Simple Things You Can Do to Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed.
When you feel overwhelmed remember that you’re not alone and also remember you can do something about it.
Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”.