It’s amazing how stressful life can be. You know the days I’m talking about? The ones where it feels like the pressures and concerns of the entire world are resting squarely on your shoulders.
Now sure, none of us have the whole world depending on us, but let’s face it: life can be demanding and it’s easy to become completely overwhelmed. Whether it is work responsibilities piling up, stress with school, worries over volunteer work or even long days at home with kids, none of us are immune to stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed.
I know that I have been there more times than I care to admit, but I have learned some things along the way. I now have a little system that I implement when I am starting to feel overwhelmed. These simple steps have helped me so much! I hope they help you too!
- Take a moment to Breathe – Even if it is just 5 minutes hiding in the bathroom, take a moment to breathe deeply and clear your mind. Use this time to pray and tell God openly how you are feeling. Ask for His wisdom in handling the situation you are in, and strength to make it through.
- Assess the Source of the Stress – It can be extremely helpful if you can pinpoint a specific reason (or reasons) for the overwhelming feelings of stress. Knowing what is causing it, gives you a starting point for working through it. Are you setting too high of expectations on yourself? Do you not have enough time to do everything you have committed to do? Is it a time management issue? Instead of blaming the stress on the general “everything”, try to identify the main source of the stress. You will know you’ve found the source when you can feel assured that, if it weren’t for those things, your stress levels would be much lower and everything else wouldn’t appear so worrisome.
- Reassess Your Commitments – Look at the source of your stress and see if you can work out a solution. Are you stressed about something outside of your control? Spend time in prayer surrendering your fears to God. Is there something that is hindering you from managing your time efficiently (tv, blogging, book reading…)? Consider doing without that distraction for a week or two. Is it and unnecessary commitment that is weighing you down? Consider if you want to slowly step away from that commitment. If it is not something that you are able or willing to give up, then spend time exploring solutions that could make your stressful situation easier. Would a few hours of rest or solitude be enough to rejuvenate you? If so, figure out a way to make that happen!
- When it doesn’t go away – There are times when the depression and feeling of being overwhelmed just won’t go away. In these cases, don’t be afraid to reach out for help! Consult your ob/gyn to see if she can help you with postpartum depression or consider seeing a counselor to talk through some of the things that are overwhelming you. These aren’t signs of weakness, they are simply steps to take to help you be healthy! If you had a broken leg no one would call you weak for going to the doctor, seeing a doctor for depression, hormonal problems, or the constant feeling of being overwhelmed is no different. Find the strength to reach out for help!
These tips may seem a bit straight forward, but they can oftentimes be difficult to remember or practice in a moment of stress. Keep them in mind for the next time you are having a hard day and see what a difference it makes for you!
What is your number one way to deal with stress? I’d love to hear more tips!