In today’s always-moving, hustle-based culture, it’s easy to become overwhelmed without realizing it. Whether it’s another job deadline, another event to make it to, or even just another message in your inbox, it may seem like there’s always something else you have to take care of, and that leads to feeling like you’re drowning in obligations. 

So, what do you do when this happens? You simplify things, reducing stress and making your daily obligations that much more manageable. Here’s what causes us to become overwhelmed, and how we can simplify our situation when we do.

What Makes Us Overwhelmed?

Before you can start simplifying, you need to figure out what’s causing you to feel overwhelmed. For most of us, it stems from fear, primarily a fear of being overbooked. Often, we have trouble saying no to taking on new responsibilities and obligations, which causes us to end up with a huge pile of tasks. It can feel insurmountable and leave us with no idea where to start. This is where the process of simplification comes into play. Let’s go over three ways you can simplify your circumstances.

Simplify by Calming Down

Before you can do anything to address the situation itself, you need to take care of the stress and panic that’s right in front of you. Take a moment to acknowledge that you’re feeling overwhelmed and figure out how to alleviate the stress. Though this process looks a bit different for everyone, there are a few techniques that we think are almost universally helpful. First of all, try some breathing exercises. These techniques help take your mind off of the immediate situation and the stress that comes with it, allowing you to step back and deal with the issue more effectively.

If you still need a break from the situation after taking time to breathe, try doing something you enjoy, whether that’s engaging in a hobby, taking a walk outside, or putting your thoughts and feelings down on paper in a journal. Practice mindfulness in taking these breaks. Whether you’re trying to distance yourself from a stressful situation or not, taking time to rest and enjoy yourself is critical to maintaining your spiritual health and well-being.

Simplify One Step at a Time

Once you’ve taken enough time to calm down and get rid of the immediate stressors, you can start working on the heart of the issue. If you, like many people, feel overwhelmed because of how much you have on your plate, sorting through and simplifying your tasks is a great place to start. 

Rather than viewing everything you have to do as a single entity, break this entity down into its separate parts. If it helps, you can jot down a quick schedule in a notebook to organize your thoughts. From there, you can simplify by taking things one step at a time, completing a single task, and then moving on to the next. This allows you to focus entirely on what’s in front of you rather than worrying about what’s ahead, reducing stress and allowing you to practice mindfulness in every aspect of your life.

Simplify by Setting Boundaries

One of the most effective ways to simplify your schedule, however, is by setting firm boundaries to protect your personal time. As mentioned earlier, we often hesitate to say no to taking on new responsibilities, commitments, and obligations, but knowing when to do so is the first step towards a more restful lifestyle.

Everyone has the same 24 hours in their day, and by saying no to a few time-consuming things you’d rather avoid, you empower yourself to say yes to countless new opportunities. Reducing your day-to-day responsibilities frees up your time, and that time can be used to take on the commitments you want to make, whether that’s learning a new skill, picking up an old hobby, or even volunteering to give back to your community. It’s all about what fulfills you, and what gives you inner peace. 

Essentially, setting stronger time boundaries gives you the freedom to do what you want with your time, allowing you to do what you love and giving you enough breathing room to avoid becoming overwhelmed. The ability to do so is one of the most important things you can learn in order to reach the peak of your spiritual health. Once you’ve mastered it, becoming fully attuned to your spiritual side is just a step away, as is the sense of peace that comes with it.

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