Thanks for stopping by today. A special welcome to those who are visiting for the first time after reading my Encouragement for Today devotion titled, "There's always something I can do."
Being a woman with a high tolerance for responsibilities, I know what being overwhelmed feels like. In spite of my best efforts to build margin into my schedule, it seems every couple of months I start to feel the tension rise. Although there's no dire threat, the deadlines and expectations mount and so does my stress. It becomes difficult to figure out what to do next, and I'm simply overwhelmed.
When those days hit, I've developed a few habits that help me cope. Every situation is different, and so not every response works every time. Hopefully something will resonate with your situation.
1. Do nothing!
OK - I know this seem contradictory to the main point of my devotion. But I mean a productive nothing. Although everything in me screams to do something ... anything ... sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. I don't mean the nothing that involves watching TV or playing hearts on the computer. I mean the nothing that involves sitting at my kitchen table with a blank pad of paper. Often I'll pray first to quiet my spirit, and invite God's direction. Then I think - productively. I think about what needs to be done. I bring order to the scattered thoughts, write ideas on paper, or brainstorm solutions. Thinking is highly underrated, and it's something we all can do.
2. What has to be done?
When I'm overwhelmed with too much to do, asking myself "What has to be done?" helps bring order to my tasks. This might mean addressing a project with an imminent deadline or getting ready to go somewhere. This question helps keep me on time, especially when I'm trying to get ready to leave the house and a hundred small to-dos pop into my head.
3. Make a menu for the week.
I believe creating a menu for the week is one of the best time-saving, stress-reducing things I can do. Especially when I feel overwhelmed. If I've got a busy week ahead, I plan easy Crock-pot meals, or a dinner that others can prepare. I post my menu on the fridge so everyone can see it.
4. Make a list of everything I have to do.
Avoidance is an ineffective solution to being overwhelmed. Making a master list of EVERYTHING I need to do removes things from my overloaded brain. With things captured on paper, I stop stressing that I'm going to forget something. It gives me a wide-angle view, and better perspective.
5. Ask others to pray for me.
In the past month, God has answered prayers in some amazing ways. Read this post to see three of them. Asking others to pray for me is difficult. There's this mixed-up idea that I'm bothering them. I'm pretty sure that's a lie from the enemy. God moves on behalf of His children when they pray. So share your situation honestly with some friends, and ask for their prayers.
In my devotion today, I wrote about how I can become consumed with worry in overwhelming situations. Those circumstances happen less and less as I practice habits developed after times of bombardment. The five tips I've shared today have made a significant difference in my life. I pray they help you as well.
Just leave a comment, and a way to contact you. I'll pick someone at random and announce a winner on Friday.
Grace & Peace,