Problem Solving Tips for When You Feel Overwhelmed
Some days it can seem like everything you have to do is impossible. There are dozens of things you have to take care of and no one to help you, and you may feel overwhelmed, put upon and frustrated. In fact, when you start to think about all of it, you may feel like you're drowning and will never survive it all, so you think about staying in bed and letting everything go to pieces around you. But you know you can't.
How do you get a handle on all of the problems and handle them effectively when you have to do the work of several people and you are feeling really overwhelmed? Focus, organization and breaking things down will help. These three things will really help make life easier and make impossible tasks seem so much more manageable.
Over your morning cup of coffee, organize your thoughts on paper. Make a list of all your problems. Look this list over and highlight or underline the ones you can fix or take care of right away, even if they are small.
Picking up prescriptions, running to the grocery store or any other chore that needs done but is relatively low stress should be done first if possible. This will get you started on a high note, giving you a sense of accomplishment and getting these little chores finished and out of the way so that you can cross them off the list and out of the way. It's also a good way to make sure you won't find yourself regretting an empty refrigerator at the end of a grueling day.
For more serious topics, do a breakdown. Sub-divide these chores into smaller units. Don't simply list, "Find out more about family counseling." Instead, under that heading, put, "Call County Mental health, call the local hospital, call Mom's doctor's office, check out some websites, visit the National Institutes of Mental Health website," then check off each one as you complete it.
Stay focused. This sounds so simple, but is actually complex - getting distracted is what's easy! Distraction is one of the simplest things in the world to give in to, especially when you feel overwhelmed by responsibilities. But if you have your list with you and mark each step off along the way it will be easier to stay focused because it will reinforce that feeling of momentum and an incentive to keep moving forward.
Years ago my grandmother told me something as a child that I didn't understand until I was an adult. I appreciate it more each year. "Mile by mile, it's a trial. But inch by inch, it's a cinch!" Treat the many challenges of your day the same way, and inch by inch you will get a lot accomplished!
David Oliver is the nation's leading experts on helping and supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder. You can get learn about many of David's little known, yet effective strategies to cope and deal with your loved one's bipolar by clicking here right now. View all articles by David Oliver