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When I feel Overwhelmed

Book and Bench

This Week's Pondering:

Q: What makes you feel overwhelmed?

A: For me, it's being pulled in two directions at once.

I have three kids, so this happens frequently. But it wasn't until I was faced with overwhelm about a year ago that I had the mental capacity and self-awareness to pause while it was happening to figure out WHY I was so POed!

It was early on a snowy school day morning. One kid was looking for a permission slip that needed to be signed with a check for that day, the other kid just got his car stuck in the snow in the driveway. Both came at me at once. I was trying to simultaneously write a check and run outside to try to help unbury the car. That's when I yelled at one of the kids in my vicinity.

Totally not that kid's fault.

I paused, checkbook in one hand, shovel in the other, and apologized. I went inside, finished writing the check, then went outside and helped unbury the car. Then I self-reflected.

What happened?

I noticed that when I'm being pulled in two "urgent" directions at the same time, I feel flustered and eventually feel enraged. That night, I told my kids about that and made a simple request: Even if it's urgent to you, if I'm dealing with something, I need you to give me a minute to complete what I'm doing so I can give you my full attention.

They understood! And better yet, since that day they have accommodated my request every single time! It felt like years of misunderstood and misdirected overwhelm dissolved in one single incident!

Your turn: What makes you feel overwhelmed, and how do you cope?


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