Stress and overwhelm have become a common complaint across society today.
So much so, that many experience it on a daily basis. And it’s no question why – nowadays we are surrounded with endless information, dings, pings, tasks, and responsibilities, all vying for our attention and priority, that our plates can feel very full. And, with everything that needs to be done, it can be difficult to clear off even a bit off that plate before another task takes its place. Sooner or later, you may begin to feel frazzled, like your brain is frozen and if someone asks one more thing of you you might just commit murder.
This topic was the result of our latest date night. Kyle and I were out to dinner when Kyle asked the waitress, “How are you doing?” in his usual friendly, curious manner.
She smiled, but she seemed a little shocked, saying, “no one really asks us that anymore”.
I was initially a little disappointed that we (as humans) seemed to have lost some of our true care and compassion, but her response got me thinking…
Maybe we haven’t lost our kindness. Maybe we’re just not paying attention.
Maybe we’re just distracted, allowing our minds to take in all the external information while trying to seamlessly categorize it while also thinking about what we’re having for breakfast tomorrow, how we will possibly meet a deadline, what we will wear the that meeting, or when we can ever take a much-needed vacation from all this chaos.
Our waitress’ response opened my eyes to how our day-to-day lives can leave us a bit disconnected and often feeling incredibly overwhelmed.
We live in a world of true multi-tasking. Think about it – if you’re sitting down to work, you’re probably being asked to complete 8 other dire tasks. If you’re out to dinner, everyone around you is glued to their phones while aimlessly shoveling food into their mouths. If you’re drinking your morning coffee, you’re probably checking your email, social media, watching the news, or any other thing that will hurl information in your direction that your brain is forced to consume and sort (and more often than not, it’s not GOOD information).
It comes down to this:
We’re walking around with very malleable brains that have not quite caught up or adapted to the massive influx of information and unlimited access to the world due to our recent advances in technology.
We were never meant to have the entire conversation of the globe in our back pocket, yet here we are. We take on not only our own problems on a day-to-day basis but also the problems of every one else via the news or our social media feed. Our brains are constantly absorbing, processing, and compartmentalizing all of this information wizzing past us at any given moment.
This constant state of overwhelm breeds stress, anxiety, irritability, and doubt which is clearly not an enjoyable way to live life. And it sure as heck does not make you a fun person to be around.
So the question is…what do we do about it? How do we manage and reduce the stress and overwhelm that can feel like suffocating quicksand?
Truth is, the moment you decide stress and anxiety isn’t going to be a part of your life – THAT’S the moment everything shifts.
While we can’t always control our external circumstances, we CAN control how we react to them. And we can set up systems and processes to make our sometimes overwhelming daily lives more manageable, and even enjoyable.
1. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
First and foremost, take care of the priceless vehicle that is carrying you through the day-to-day – your body. Get 8 hours of rest each night, eat healthy foods with plenty of vegetables, drink water consistently throughout the day (and aim for AT LEAST half your body weight in ounces, but preferably closer to 1 gallon per day), and get moving! Go for a brisk walk/jog, head to the gym, sign up for a group class…whatever works for you. Exercise releases endorphins that reduce stress and increase energy levels, while loosening up the tension you may be carrying in your body.
2. ACCEPT HOW YOU FEEL, LOSE THE JUDGEMENT
One of the worst things about stress is that people tend to get stressed about being stressed, leading to more overwhelm. Take my fiance, Kyle, for instance – he gets stressed about one thing, then gets angry and more stressed that he “couldn’t handle” said thing, then replays that stressful experience over and over in his head leading to EVEN MORE stress, which builds up into an overwhelm frenzy that leaves him almost paralyzed in a puddle on the floor. Sound familiar?
This is because of the standards and expectations that high-achieving people hold of themselves. Their identity is often wrapped up in being able to handle more challenges and more stress than the average person, and they tend to freak out when a piece of their strong walls begin to crumble.
Instead, you need to accept how you feel – observe it, understand why it’s making you feel that way, and objectively make a plan to change it and ease the tension. Judging your emotions will only lead to more stress leaving you with less energy to spend on the good stuff.
3. WRITE IT OUT
Try a “brain dump” – write out everything that’s on your mind. Write freely for around 5 minutes or until you feel like its all laid out onto paper. This will help get the thoughts out of your head and allow your mind to relax.
4. LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’
If you’re anything like me, you want to help and save anyone and everyone. This means, when someone asks something of you, you’ll practically leap at the chance to complete that task or lend a helping hand, regardless of your own needs and desires. You must learn to say ‘no’ at times to avoid taking on too much and overwhelming yourself further. Then, prioritize your own tasks so you can set up your days for success instead of stress.
This doesn’t mean you’ll never help those around you and it doesn’t make you selfish – it just means that you are able to discern what is in your best interest and give from a “full cup” instead of tired, stressed, and overwhelmed “empty cup”. A healthy, happy you is in a better place to serve.
5. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH A GOOD COMMUNITY
If you’ve ever been in a room of stressed out people, it’s like you can FEEL the stress radiating from their bodies. And it can have an impact on your own mood. This works the other way around too – be around happy people = feeling more happy. Be around grateful, supportive people = feeling more grateful and supportive yourself.
Not to mention, we NEED connection in this world. Real, raw connection, not just the surface-level stuff. If you go out, be present and ask someone how they’re doing with genuine care in your heart. Love on them. And then surround yourself with a good community to spread the joy. Find like-minded others who can help guide and support you when you’re feeling the stress bubbling. It will make a world of difference. Take the first step by joining our community of supportive, driven women HERE.
As you may know, life is unlikely to slow down. But you are free to decide how to handle it – by going through the above steps and choosing to enjoy the journey (no matter how bumpy it may be), you’re well on your way to ridding yourself of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm FOR GOOD.
Always ready and willing to support you,