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How to Take Care of Yourself When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Let’s get real: there are times in life when you’re going to feel overwhelmed. Whether it be with work, school, social obligations or just life in general, we all feel overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed at some point. It’s important to give yourself grace when you have these feelings. Try not to brush them off or push through whatever is causing you to feel anxious – your mental health matters and if you’re feeling the squeeze, understand that you can take a step back.

We understand that recent events along with the COVID-19 pandemic have made things complicated, and it can be difficult to juggle all of your responsibilities at the same time. When you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, remember that you can always revisit your self-care plan. Self-care plans are personal, which can be just the thing for when things feel like too much. Try some of these tips when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

  1. Take a deep breath and step away. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, a quick way to begin to alleviate those feelings is by doing breathing exercises. If the thing that’s overwhelming you is in front of you, try taking a step away from it to create some separation between you and whatever is making you feel this way. Deep breathing exercises are a great way to promote relaxation and lower your stress response. Need some breathing exercise guidance? We’ve got you covered.
  2. Create a “no” list. Protecting your time and space can help give you a sense of control over your schedule. If you don’t want to do something or have been dreading that virtual happy hour, don’t feel like you have to go. Replace the activities you don’t want to do with something that you’ll enjoy. Healthy boundaries are crucial for your wellbeing!
  3. Be kind to yourself. Remember that feeling overwhelmed is OK, especially now. It also helps to remember that feeling overwhelmed doesn’t have to last. Give yourself some grace – if you don’t get to that chore or have to ask for an extension at work, you can. Your mental health should be a top priority.
  4. Ask for help from a loved one. Your social support network is there for you to lean on if you need to vent or talk things through. Reach out to a friend for a virtual chat or pick up the phone and call a family member.
  5. Write it out. Writing down why you feel overwhelmed or anxious is another great way to help alleviate those feelings. It helps to do this unstructured – having a written stream of consciousness allows you to express yourself freely and getting those thoughts out of your head will be a relief.

If you need more inspiration, take a look at this extensive list from Upworthy containing 101 things to try if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Remember that the feelings you’re having are temporary and with the right coping mechanisms and support, you can take care of yourself when things feel overwhelming.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) can also help – here are some blogs to read if you or a loved one is feeling anxious or stressed and needs some support:

  1. How to Help Someone With Anxiety
  2. 4 Self-care Tips for How to Deal with Anxiety
  3. How to Create Your Own Self-Care Plan
  4. Five Ways to Support a Loved One with Anxiety or Depression

 

Resources:

Kelly, M. (2021, February 11). 10 easy breathing exercises for anxiety. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/breathing-exercises-for-anxiety-5088091.

MHFA. (2020). Mental Health First Aid USA for Adults Assisting Adults. Washington, DC: National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

Wright, A. (2016, June 20). 101 ways to take care of yourself when the world feels overwhelming. Upworthy. https://www.upworthy.com/101-self-care-suggestions-for-when-it-all-feels-like-too-much.