If the stress-head gene is deeply embedded in your DNA, feeling overwhelmed is all too common an occurrence. I would know. For others, it might not be a recurring episode but it certainly generates a nagging discomfort, one that could precipitate an ugly meltdown if not dealt with promptly. Feeling overwhelmed is just your body alerting you to the fact that you’re accelerating at a dangerous speed and it’s time to take your foot off the pedal. So, stay emotionally aware and take heed of the many ways you can bring yourself back to earth when you catch yourself drifting off into Stressville.
Talk it out
Don’t trap those feelings inside. Let it out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shamelessly stood up from my desk at work and announced to my team that I’m feeling stressed. Now, you may not be as comfortable with public announcements and that’s okay. The point is – get it off your chest and lighten the load of emotions you would otherwise be carrying around.
Write it out
You can feel like you’re drowning when you’ve got a hundred to-dos flooding your mind. Pour your pool of to-dos onto paper and declutter your brain ASAP. With this list, you can delegate tasks out, prioritise your tasks and work your way through the list, one task at a time. Don’t forget to reward yourself with a big fat tick next to each completed task.
Ask for help
We frequently inflict stress on ourselves by ignoring the power of delegation. Use the resources at your disposal – it’s not lazy, it’s efficient. It took me a while to grasp this concept, but once you do, you’ll wonder why you ever questioned it.
Focus on breathing
My partner will always know when I exceed the stage of feeling overwhelmed and enter meltdown mode because I’ll turn into the most irrational human being. Braving the storm (me), he’ll be the one to initiate the following breathing exercises. Stand up and ensure your spine is straight. Gently close your eyes and take a deep, long breath in through your nose and slowly exhale out of your mouth. The key is to focus on each breath. Repeat this for 60 seconds. Conscious breathing helps soothe your nervous system and works to calm your mind. Despite my initial preconceptions about this tactic, it does work.
Channel your energy
You’ve got this ball of stress burning your insides and you need to release it ASAP. I personally find cardio a brilliant way to release any negative emotions. Sweat it out. Get your blood moving, your heart pumping and close the door to your stress hormones. A brisk walk will do the trick if you’re at work.
Change your scenery
Your state of mind is connected to your physical environment, so pull yourself out of your current surroundings and take a break. Whether it’s going outside and reconnecting with nature or simply moving to another room, a change of scenery can reverse a pending meltdown.
Play some beats
Filter out the stress-inducing thoughts by playing some beats (nothing overly depressing, please). Listen to songs that you associate with positive memories and feel the stress melt away as you mentally escape to your happy place. If you’re feeling proactive, create an anxiety-crushing playlist of soothing songs that you can play on repeat when it all gets too much to handle.
Take a time-out
If you feel like you’re reaching burnout territory or perhaps you’re already there, do yourself a favour and reverse the hell away from it. It’s time to take a timeout. Running yourself into the ground is not productive, it’s irresponsible. Whether it’s a mini holiday or just a day off to kick back and refuel your tank, never hesitate to put your mental health first.
Remaining emotionally aware and prioritising your mental wellbeing is absolutely critical in the daily mad rush we all insist on participating in. If and when stress takes a front seat in life, indiscreetly attempting to drive your actions, make a conscious effort to reverse it.