health tips

3 Steps To Take Back Control When You're Feeling Overwhelmed and Overloaded

Today’s world offers countless conveniences, but sometimes all they seem to do is create more distractions, more stress, and less time for what really matters. We are over-connected and overloaded. With just one click of a button I can find out what my best friend from seventh grade had for lunch or how my mom’s cousin is treating her son’s skateboarding injury.

The opportunity to connect with loved ones is wonderful. The distraction that too much information causes in our lives is beyond ridiculous.

In 2010, CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, told crowds at Techonomy Conference that we create as much information in two days as we did from the dawn of man through 2003. The even scarier part is that rate is only accelerating.

Every day, it’s important to spend time working to intentionally shut out distractions so we can find peace of mind and focus on ourselves.  Here are some tips to get you started:


1. Have Confidence To Step Away From Your Devices

Because of cell phones and tablets everyone you know—and most of the people you have ever known—have access to you in some way, no matter where you are. Do you realize how many potential distractions and stresses that can create?

Think about it: Every time you stop to check the latest notification, how long does it take you to get back into the focused zone you just abandoned? Do you find yourself getting up for a snack, deciding to check email, or starting an entirely new task?

After you get back from your break or work your way back into the zone, tally how much time you’re actually spending on that interruption—is it five, ten, fifteen minutes? Just to check your phone. Or answer a question that could have waited until the next meeting.

Intake overload is inescapable unless you have the confidence to step away from your devices and disappoint a few people.


2. Set “Office Hours” that your family, friends, coworkers, and clients can reach you at

It’s okay to not be available 24-hours a day.

Your smartphone should have a feature that allows you to either put your phone in a do not disturb mode (iPhone) or blocking mode (Android) to reduce the number of interruptions you receive via phone and text messaging. You can also select to turn off notifications from certain apps.

These options won’t work for every person, but it's highly recommend that you at least take advantage of this option for social networks. Do you really need to know right away if someone “likes” the picture of your dog? You can still find out this information, but if you turn off notifications, you’ll be checking your networks on your own time frame and not someone else’s. Give some thought to the kind of interruptions that are worth spending valuable time on every day.


3. Use your free time to Relax, Recharge, and Rejuvenate

Many people underestimate just how valuable relaxation is to their well-being. In many ways, our society has tabooed relaxation. Most Americans have a certain degree of guilt when it comes to doing nothing.

Many people underestimate just how valuable relaxation is to their well-being. In many ways, our society has tabooed relaxation. Most Americans have a certain degree of guilt when it comes to doing nothing.
— Shane Stott

We know days of doing nothing feel great. We know a weekend with no plans revives us. And we know a vacation can make us feel alive and happy in the face of high levels of stress. Yet nobody seems to make relaxation a priority.

To really put relaxation as a priority in your life, you need to first pay attention and realize just how valuable it is. Next time you relax, watch what it does to you and make a mental note. The next time you have a relaxing weekend, journal about it. The next time you're flying home from a trip, spend the flight contemplating how you feel and why.

Then put those observations into action and make a point to schedule relaxation into your day, your week, and your month. Rather than allowing yourself to run from one thing to the next, always saying yes and never determining what’s really best for you, make sure to intentionally schedule down time.

In conclusion, external demands and distractions are only as stressful as you allow them to be. Take control of your schedule and your time, and you will probably find that some of your peace of mind naturally returns.


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