The Whole You
Dealing with Stress and Overwhelm
by Wendy Humphris, ROHP
Have you been feeling a lot of stress lately? If so, it has probably led to a good deal of overwhelm as well. These two things can often go hand-in-hand, often starting with a lot of stress that goes untreated, which can then lead to a considerable amount of overwhelm and burnout.
While this is very common, it can also be disastrous for your mental and physical state. Luckily, there are some ways you can manage and reduce both stress and overwhelm to get your life back and start living again.
Accept What Stress is and That it Can’t Be Avoided
The first part of dealing with the amount of stress you have is accepting what it is. You are not accepting that you will always have stress, but more about understanding what stress is so you can better prepare yourself for ways to relieve it. You need to identify your stress, define it, and realize that it is not something you did wrong. If you focus too much on the stress overwhelming you, you are only releasing more of the stress hormone, which is going to make it feel a lot worse than it could be.
Start assigning a name to your stress, understand that it is from situations in your life that couldn’t be avoided, then look to the other ways of reducing it. This can help a lot with your mindset and how you react to stressful situations.
Find Moments to Calm Your Mind and Body
Both your mind and body go through the ringer when you have stress, so you need to focus on calming both your mind and body. Sometimes, this means just taking a minute to practice deep breathing, while in other cases, you have a little more time to focus on meditating or practicing mindfulness. You need these extra moments throughout the day that will help you deal with stressful situations as they arise, in order to prevent it from getting worse and leading to being completely overwhelmed.
Think About the Situation Differently
If there is a particular stressful situation that you can feel taking over your thoughts and emotions, try to think of it in a different way. Stand outside the problem and put aside your own feelings about it and how it is negatively affecting your life. Just for a moment, look at it from a completely different angle.
Does it look any different? Can you find a way to be positive or optimistic? At the very least, is it helping to teach you a lesson?
There are few things in life that are not going to teach you something or provide more than one way to look at it, if you can take a step back and let yourself do that.
Get Outside to Regroup Mentally
Time to regroup! Give yourself a break whenever you can, go outside or to a different environment, and just appreciate your new surroundings. Having stress at work? Go outside during your break, take a walk, or just head to lunch with some friends to destress.
Is the stress at home? Give yourself a few minutes to be outside in your garden, go for a drive, or walk to a nearby park. The energy is different outside. You have fresh air, sunshine, new sounds and smells, new senses that develop. This alone can be really therapeutic for you.
Make Sure You Have Realistic Goals
If your stress and overwhelm is related to your goals and the process to achieve them, then you might want to think about what your goals are and whether or not they are realistic. It is great to have big dreams, but if they are a little out of reach, failing to reach them is only going to become a burden for you.
Try to use the SMART method of creating goals, which includes making sure they are specific, measurable, achievable and realistic, and timely. This can help set you up for success, not for stress due to your failure.
Lean on People When Needed
Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to people you know and lean on them when you need to. Nobody can accomplish anything completely alone, and sometimes you need help, reassurance, and support. Find people who you know and trust that understand what you are going through and are going to relieve your stress, instead of adding more burden to your life.
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Wendy Humphris, ROHP
I’m a holistic nutritionist and I transform health for a living.