5 tips for avoiding overwhelm

I think we’ve all been feeling the pressure lately, between the regular news cycles and those people on social media who just seem to be coping with everything so well. So at a time when we need to stay connected more than we ever have, how can we stop the comparison and overwhelm from getting too much?

1. Don’t love it? Don’t use it!

Everyone gets on better with some social channels than others. If you find yourself feeling worse after you’ve checked a particular account then it may be time to ask the question, is it right for me? Like I think many people, I don’t get on well with Facebook. Every time I went on, I would come away feeling as though all my failings had been thrown back in my face. So one day I decided that I deserved better than that. I was only there because I felt as though I ‘should’ and it clearly wasn’t benefiting me in any way, so I deleted the app from my phone. I can confidently say that the world hasn’t ended, I am still able to keep in touch with the people I care about and I can spend the extra time in the places I enjoy. If it can do all this for me, maybe it could work for you too!

2. Only follow those who bring you joy

If you have deleted those apps that were getting you down (high five to you!) there are still ways to improve the accounts that you do love. As in real life, the people you surround yourself with can affect your mood. You will automatically choose not to hang out with that person who brings you down, but do you do the same online? Only following those people or accounts that inspire you, make you feel happy or provide you with support, will make your online spaces much more positive places to be,m. This will then be reflected in how you feel about yourself.

3. Give yourself the choice

I don’t know about you, but I hate having unread notifications on my phone. I feel as though I’ve been given a task and that I must complete it straight away. Which I suppose is the whole point, as it makes you keep coming back and using the app. But shouldn’t we have a choice? Is there a reason why we should consume what others choose to share the second they post it? I can’t remember who put me on to this tip, but turning off push notifications for your apps, so that you can choose when to check in and interact with people at a time that suits you, has been a real game changer for me. That simple act of giving myself the choice has really helped reduce the overwhelm.

4. Same goes for the news

Wherever you choose to get your news from, be it traditional news outlets or social media, regularly checking back for updates, particularly during times of crisis, can be a huge drain on your emotional resources. If instead you set aside certain times of the day to read or watch the news, you are better able to manage the amount of information you are taking in. This can be particularly useful if you need to find a balance between your need to know and your anxiety. Right now I check the news once a day, in the morning, and I only read the headlines. This helps me to feel informed without getting overwhelmed.

5. Last but not least…

Try and have some time away from your phone. I tried this last weekend and it really helped me to unwind. I still used it to check in with friends and family, but I didn’t go near the internet, social media or my email. I had time to be more present, more creative and to simply relax. I’m not suggesting that everyone should go the entire weekend without touching their phone, but maybe try a few hours to start with. If the thought of that scares you, it could be a sign that you might benefit from giving it a go.

Have any of these ideas given you that lightbulb moment? If you try one or try them all, I’d love to hear how they have helped you. Let me know in the comments below or you can find me on Instagram as @theconsciousknitter.

Whatever the path to reducing overwhelm looks like for you, I hope you can find time to slow down and create, relax, unwind.

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