15 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
Why is it that the people we love the most (our kids), can be the most aggravating?!! Well, my kids aggravate me most when I have the least reserves. So if I’m tired, upset, or stressing about something, what normally wouldn’t bother me pushes me over the edge. Like the other day when my son was at full volume at 7 a.m. Normally I could calmly ask him to be a little quieter, but I was tired and so I snapped and whined back to him like a kid myself, “Stop (said in two syllable)! Can’t you be quiet?!”
So, when you’re aggravated, and feeling overwhelmed, take a look at our list of 15 things you can do to ease the aggravation.
- Pray. Only your heavenly father knows everything you’re facing in a given day and how it’s making you feel. And He cares. Spending a little time each day clearing your heart and mind and talking it out with Him is a sure-fire way to get back on track.
- Exercise. The release of endorphins that comes with physical exercise is a great antidote to stress. When you get wound too tight, go break a sweat! It’ll help you sleep better, too.
- Call a friend. Sometimes we just need to talk it out, to vent, or to worry out loud for a second. A wise friend can offer valuable perspective on your situation, and can tell you when you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.
- Channel the energy. Sometimes, when there’s a larger problem looming, the nervous energy created can be put to good use. Try tackling that overstuffed closet or weeding a flowerbed. You’ll get something accomplished rather than sitting and stewing.
- Soak. There is something positively therapeutic about a hot bath. Even if you think you don’t have time, fill up the tub after you get the kids to bed and just be for half an hour. If you can’t stop the list of responsibilities from rolling through your head the whole time, thumb through a magazine for a diversion.
- Count the blessings. Oftentimes, our state of mind is a matter of whether we take a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty approach to life. Sure, the water heater is broken, but you live in a nice warm home where hot water is a regular luxury, and will be again once the repairman gets by.
- Break it down. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. When the job (or jobs) facing you seems too big to handle, break it down into smaller tasks or phases, and put them in priority order. Then, focus on the first small task as if the others didn’t exist
- Say “no.” It’s perfectly acceptable to turn down a request to volunteer or serve when you’ve reached your limit. There is an infinite amount of need in the world, but not every need is one that you’re called to meet. This is tricky for capable women, because when people know you’re a “doer,” they’ll pile on the work. We promise you, if you can’t chair the fall carnival at school, someone else will. The world will continue to turn. Trust us.
- Call in reinforcements. If you have a particularly crazy week coming up, and your parents or in-laws are willing, let them help you out. In-town relatives or friends would probably be happy to drive carpool or pick your kids up from a couple of activities to give you some breathing room. Sometimes we don’t have simply because we don’t ask.
- Lean on your better half. When you’re feeling stretched to the limit, share your heart with your spouse. Together, you may be able to come up with a strategy to redistribute some tasks or eliminate some worries from your life.
- Check out. Occasionally, a person just reaches her limit and has to come up for air in the middle of a busy day. Leave your desk to go for a quick walk around the building, or throw your kids in the car and just go for a drive. Sometimes, all you need is a change of scenery.
- Laugh. They don’t call it the best medicine for nothing. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed simply because we take ourselves and our lives too seriously. Learn to see the “funny” in your situation and chuckle—it’ll help.
- Get comfy. Sometimes the clothes that we associate with certain pressures—like a career—seem to carry the tension in their very fibers. Come home and trade those control-top pantyhose for something you can breathe in. Literally.
- Write it down. Lots of people find that journaling about their feelings and fears is helpful in that it helps them organize their thoughts and gives an outlet for expression.
- Turn on the Tunes. Research shows that 30 minutes of classical music has a calming effect similar to taking 10mg of Valium. Find some soothing music to take the edge off and help you relax.
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Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness for print publications and iMOM.com. She’s a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for 17 years.