Let’s face it – at some point, everyone feels overwhelmed. Whether it’s school, your work or another aspect of your life, there are times when we feel like the world is closing in on us and we feel trapped. While it’s more common for some to feel this way than most people, make no mistake – most people you know have felt overwhelmed about their lives at some point.
As someone who frequently feels overwhelmed, I’ll say that it used to crush me. Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to function that day – I’d count it as a loss and try to regroup for the next day. The things I did were not entirely healthy, but they were effective. Over time, however, I began to pick up healthier responses and actions taken when I began to feel overwhelmed, and so I wanted to share some with you all!
Control Your Breathing
I’ll never forget the time someone told me to ignore focusing on deep breaths and take ‘medium breaths’ instead. This way, I was trying to return my breathing to its normal state and gaining control over my breathing. I become hyper-aware of my breathing when I feel overwhelmed, and having that control is a good reminder that I am not completely out of control.
Make a List
Whenever someone would ask me why I was feeling overwhelmed I would give vague, existential answers to explain why, and it was extremely unhelpful. Then someone challenged me on it and told me to make a list of everything that was overwhelming me. Once I made the list, I realized that most of the things that overwhelmed me were in my head, and not tangible things. Making a list of reality-based problems is a good way to ground yourself and remind yourself that things aren’t always as bad as they seem.
Take a Walk
Whether it’s for five minutes or all afternoon, getting out of your room, classroom, the office, etc. is a must when you’re feeling overwhelmed by work. And it doesn’t matter if you’re an outdoor person or not – that time spent in a different environment will give you time and space to relax, and you can walk back into your situation renewed and refreshed.
I initially was going to write ‘Read a Book’ but decided against it because honestly, reading anything is helpful when you feel overwhelmed. When you read, you’re keeping your mind occupied and transporting yourself to another place in time, reality and space. It doesn’t matter what you read or how long you read for – that simple act of getting outside yourself and losing yourself in someone else’s story can keep those overwhelming feelings at bay.
Release Your Frustration (In a Healthy Way)
Whether it’s going for a run, hitting the gym, breaking a few pencils or screaming at the top of your lungs, there are plenty of ways to release the frustration that comes with feeling overwhelmed. It doesn’t mean that overwhelming goes away completely, but it does give you a little space to tackle those emotions and try to deal with them in the healthiest manner possible.
Remember – Do What Works for You
While these are things I do when I feel overwhelmed, I know everyone’s different. Maybe you’ll try one of these things and it will work for you; maybe you’ll try something completely new and go with it every time. Regardless, you need to find what’s best for you. At some point in your life, you’ll feel overwhelmed, and you’ll need a strategy to fight that feeling.
It’s hard to deal with feeling overwhelmed – these are just a few of the strategies I’ve learned over the years. What works for you when you are feeling overwhelmed?