These days especially, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. In our post-Covid (pre-next-variant) society, people are feeling the struggle more than ever before. We are affected by economic price hikes, job and worker shortages, making ends meet and feeding our families - and staying afloat on top of all our regular, every-day stressors!
With this feeling of overwhelm being so much easier to achieve, what can we do to avoid it, or at least counter it when it happens?
Take an emotional breather, step away if you need to.
Taking a deep breath is always a great beginning step to calming yourself down - breathing, and the way in which we do it, directly affects our brain chemistry, which can help calm you down when you're stressed. Learning a few breathing exercises to utilize when you are in a feeling of deep overwhelm can help take the edge of those anxious feelings off, and help you reset. If the situation allows for it, stepping away in a literal sense, is also a good idea. Take time to go outside and take a walk, or even if you can swing it - go see a movie! The point is that you want to get completely away from the situation that is overwhelming you.
This is similar to the one above - getting yourself out of that overwhelmed/ overwhelming headspace. This doesn't have to look like going to the gym and spending a full hour working out (although that would probably work best!). Take a physical break and go for a walk around the neighborhood, around your office complex, anywhere!
Don't be afraid to say no
If you're looking at your upcoming schedule and see events or situations that are filling you with dread (which ultimately adds into those feelings of overwhelm), cross them out. Don't be afraid to set healthy boundaries for yourself! Your coworkers invited you to a happy hour, and you really don't want to go? It doesn't matter if they're "super nice" or not - you don't have to put yourself into a negative headspace, or into a situation you don't want to be in! Fill those time slots with activities and events that make you happy, and are things that you want to do.
Write it out
Writing things down when you are feeling overwhelmed is a great way to help overcome those feelings. This happens because when you write everything out, it helps to visualize and create a structured plan-of-attack. It can also help you figure out if there are any tasks that can be postponed (sometimes, it's good to procrastinate!), or even delegate to someone else.
Phone a friend
Sometimes, there's a point of overwhelm where it feels like we're going to pull all our hair out, or just shred that report on our desk and walk out and never look back. Those feelings are valid, but we all know they are unrealistic. It is never a bad thing to call in reinforcements! This can be your family, friends, or other loved ones - in work situations, you could even ask a coworker for assistance if they have time to spare! Never be ashamed to ask for help!
In this world where overwhelm is so much more common, it is important to give yourself space to feel your feelings without judgement. We all get overwhelmed! It's natural. Try not to brush it off or push through without addressing your mental health needs. Following guided breathing practices, taking a mental or physical break, and reaching out for help when you need it are good, first steps to take to help you manage your feelings of overwhelm.