Tag Archives: overload

Trying not to be overwhelmed

The downside with doing events, is overload. Events tend to be noisy and full of people and movement, and at best I find this very tiring to deal with. At worst I end up trying to find some small corner to hide in for a weeping meltdown. I’m becoming more aware of the kinds of spaces and events I can manage, and the ones I really can’t afford to deal with. I’m also figuring out things that help me cope.

This bonnet cuts down my peripheral vision. While I can see through the lace on the sides, it will encourage my brain not to pay so much attention to that part of my field of vision. My krampus hat also has this effect, but it’s a bit warm for summer wear, and this bonnet should also give me some helpful face-shade. Hopefully cutting down my peripheral vision will help make events less challenging by reducing the amount of visual input I’m dealing with.

This is an entirely upcycled project made of things that were around while I was ill. The underlying structure comes from an old cricket hat that was in poor condition anyway. The black lace was from my fabric stash, and the pink and purple band was originally bought as a headband but I don’t wear it much and it seems to work better as part of a hat. The little green creatures were made by Tom, and are Hopeless, Maine entities. They were previously part of a glove puppet, but haven’t seen much use in a while so I re-purposed them.


Dealing with being overwhelmed

The point at which you are overwhelmed is not the ideal time to be trying to find a strategy for dealing with this kind of thing. It is as well to have some plans in place before you are struck down. If you suffer from poor mental or physical health, you may be especially vulnerable to becoming overloaded. Here are some things I’ve noticed that I hope may prove helpful to others.

Rest is the best antidote to being overwhelmed. However, if everything is getting on top of you, then you may feel too panicked to rest, or unable to stop. If you are overloaded for too long, you may not remember how to stop, much less when to do it. It is important to plan rest time in advance if you think things are going to be tough. It’s good to be in the habit of planning rest time and setting time aside for it so that you have reminders that this is a thing you need to do. It’s surprising how easy it is to forget this in a crisis.

Good things can also be overwhelming. I find this one all too easy to forget and am often caught out by it. Good things need processing and digesting too, and need recovery time.

Know what helps you process things and cope. For some of us, reading, or walking, or crafting can be a quick route back to sanity. Know what works, and make sure that the people around you also know what works. That way, if you are overwhelmed and unable to think straight, someone else may be able to steer you towards the wool, or the woods, as required.

Planning ahead is good – if you know something is likely to be tough, planning the rest and recovery time is a good idea. Pacing is good – pay attention to your limits and respect them more of the time than not and you may be able to stay on top of things. However, it is so easy to be knocked sideways by the unexpected, and you can’t see everything coming. Try to keep some slack in your routines so that you can deal with the unexpected. Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re caught out by things you didn’t anticipate.

Anyone can be overloaded. A person who is overloaded too much and for too long will find their mental and physical health deteriorating. None of us cope with this well. There is no shame in being unable to bear the unbearable. There should be considerably more shame attendant on piling stress onto people, with unreasonable deadlines, impossible workloads, unfair demands on time and so forth. There should be considerable shame in asking people to act like everything is on fire, every day. Too many employers do it. The government does it to us as well.