At one time or another every one of us has felt overwhelmed and depending on the situation we have dealt with it in a variety of ways. Here are some techniques that you could implement either when you are in the middle of feeling overwhelmed or if you would like to work on taking down your stress/anxiety level a little bit each day.
Stop, collaborate, and listen
These are not just the lyrics to a great 90’s song, they are also a helpful technique for dealing with being overwhelmed. I know…you now have that song running through your mind…me too.
But practicing this technique will allow you enough time for your mind to reset and clear up, which in turn should allow you to feel less overwhelmed and ready to tackle the issue or trigger that initiated the overwhelmed feeling to exist in the first place.
STOP – Literally stop where you are, stop thinking about the problem, stop movement of any kind.
COLLABORATE– Identify the issue or trigger, how it occurred, and your place within it.
LISTEN– Listen to what your body needs and respond accordingly. This may mean leaving the situation that you are in, turning away from a person, saying “no” to a request, or taking some time for yourself.
These three steps will allow you to mentally go through what is happening and make adjustments that are specifically targeted for you. This technique can be done once you are removed from an overwhelming situation as well, but will work best if you perform it while you are actively involved.
Working from the inside out
If you know that you are prone to being overwhelmed in certain situations or at certain times of the year, then you may wish to work to lessen your anxiety and stress on a regular basis through what you are consuming. Our foods, drinks, vitamins, and supplements all help to contribute to our overall health, and this can be a way to work from the inside out to help you to deal with being overwhelmed.
Folate, B12, magnesium, and Omega-3s have been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. These can be found in foods such as asparagus, leafy greens, avocados, citrus fruits, whole grains, and certain fish, such as salmon. These are also available in vitamins form. A consultation with your doctor or dietician is a great starting point to see how you can make your daily intake of foods, liquids, and vitamins work for you.
In addition to smelling great, lavender has amazing ways to help us relax and take the edge off of feeling overwhelmed. There are a variety of ways that you can subtly, or not so subtly, have lavender around you and reap the benefits.
Lavender oil can be used in a diffuser or applied directly to your skin in key target areas. These key target areas are on the neck, on the chest, and on your temples. The oil can also be added to bath water and recipes for food and drinks.
There are lavender car fresheners, soaps, lotions, salves, creams, body butters, and more on the market that can help you to incorporate lavender in your daily routine. It is a pretty mild scent, but some may be allergic, so it is best to test a small area or use a small amount at a time to make sure that you are not affected by it.
Chill time for your mind and body
The daily practice of mediation has been shown to have great effects in reducing one’s feeling of being overwhelmed. Some people have a daily routine of meditation that is as natural in their schedule as making their coffee or taking a shower. It can be done in 5 minutes or in 30 minutes. It’s all in how much you wish to put into it. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.
Mediations are available from trained professionals, apps for your phone, podcasts, YouTube videos, and more. For help searching what kind of mediation might work for you try these search topics: guided meditations, candle staring, meditating mantras, visualizations, present moment meditations, and becoming an observer.
When some people start to have that feeling of being overwhelmed start to come over them, they head out to do something physical. Getting out and doing something physical is a great release of tension, stress, and anxiety. Now this doesn’t have to mean that you go on a run or lift weights, sometimes going on a walk or taking a bike ride is enough to rest your mind and clear your head.
The idea is that you’re distracting your mind by physically engaging your body. Sometimes it is through physical activity that we are able to process what is weighing on us and to come up with the way(s) that we can solve it for ourselves. Putting a physical release in our daily routine allows our body to outlet that extra stress and emotion, and can ultimately help with our daily mood.
Catch those zzzzz’s
Sometimes our reactions to things are directly related to the amount of sleep that we have or have not acquired lately. If we are tired, we are more likely to react in an emotional way, which can lead to us feeling overwhelmed quickly.
Setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep requires you to set aside the appropriate amount of sleep that your body requires and creating a relaxing environment in which to sleep. Generally speaking 8 hours of sleep is a good amount, but your body could vary from that amount. It’s important to listen to your body and give your body what it needs. Creating an environment in which you can relax before sleeping can often help in getting to sleep in a comfortable way.
If you are having trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, or are not getting a restful sleep, all of which could impact you on a daily basis and cause you to be more susceptible to feeling overwhelmed, then reach out to your primary doctor and set up an appointment. Your doctor will be able to take your medical history into account and recommend the next step that is right for you.
The power of the pen
Having a notebook to write down the situations in which you are feeling overwhelmed is a great way for you to notice trends and be able to systematically work through them. For example, if you notice that you have written down three or four incidents that all have to do with something at work that is making you overwhelmed, then you can take a look at making changes to your work environment. This will in turn will help to alleviate the stress and anxiety that is causing you to feel overwhelmed. It may not necessarily mean that you need a new work environment, it may just mean that you need to make an adjustment to the way that you are handling certain tasks or working with certain individuals.
Another way that a notebook could be of benefit to help you deal with feeling overwhelmed, is to place a notebook and pen on your nightside table. This is helpful if you are the type of person who has trouble getting to sleep or who wakes up during the night with thoughts running through your mind. By writing these thoughts down you are able to let them go so that they can be dealt with at a later time. The act of writing these thoughts transfers them from your mind onto the paper, and in turn allows your mind that opportunity to settle.