Sometimes endless to-do lists, chronic pain, illness and general stresses in our lives can be overwhelming. Worries and thoughts can repeat on a loop and take over, creating a vicious cycle of stress while taking up valuable limited resources and sapping our energy even further.
Just take a moment to breathe.
Step away from the situation to get some space and perspective. Focus on there here and now, right this moment. Take some deep breaths and pay attention to how your body feels. Notice your thoughts and your feelings without judgement.
Here are a few ways to take a step back when you’re feeling overwhelmed :
- Turn off or step away from your laptop, phone, tablet, TV. Have an electronic break, whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours, just to disconnect.
- Tune in to your body. As you focus on your breaths, notice how you feel. Work from your toes gradually up through your body, accepting each sensation without judgement, just allowing your brain to acknowledge how you’re feeling, remembering to breathe deeply and slowly. Allow the thoughts that come into your mind to happen; don’t try to push them away, but don’t get caught up in them. See them, let them go. Mindfulness is a powerful tool in grounding yourself.
- Get out into nature and appreciate the flowers, the fresh air, animals, the natural world around you that can be so grounding and refreshing.
- Take a little walk or do some gentle stretching (whatever you can manage) to boost endorphins and loosen up your body.
- Consider the things you are grateful for in this moment.
- Get a change of scenery, whether that’s going into another room, going into the garden, taking a walk or going on a day trip somewhere. Getting away from the routine and current environment temporarily can be really helpful in clearing your mind and getting a fresh perspective.
- Set some time to do something enjoyable. Prioritise self-care; look after yourself and nourish your mind and body. Get some rest. Eat well. Laugh a little because it’s great therapy and stress relief.
- Talk it out and air your thoughts with someone. If that’s not possible or you don’t want to, try writing it down, blogging about it, expressing it in art.
- After you have got some space and feel a little more recharged, seek inspiration and motivation. Maybe that’s looking through happy photos, going on Pinterest or being empowered by quotes. Go through what’s stressing and overwhelming you bit by bit and create a plan of how to deal with each aspect in turn. Break it down. Make it more manageable.
- Remember the times you have felt overwhelmed in the past. You have survived. And you will this time, too. Deep breath. You will be okay.