Everyone has days when they feel overwhelmed and stressed beyond what they can cope with.
You will be better equipped to deal with days like this if you take care of yourself on a daily basis. This includes getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising and maintaining social relationships with friends and family. Talking to someone else about your problems helps to keep them in perspective and may give you ideas to cope with these problems that you didn't see yourself. This is common because it's sometimes hard to see an obvious solution when you're too close to the problem.
You might also want to limit your exposure to news articles and TV shows. Although it's important to stay informed, the topics covered in these stories and news shows are often very negative, and there's usually little you can personally do to eliminate these situations. Coping with your own problems will be easier if your attitude is normally positive. Remember, don't judge yourself. You're wasting time, and it changes nothing.
Here are some tips to cope with overwhelmingly stressful days and times:
1. Stop long enough to make a list of everything that must be done. This may seem like an additional thing to do, but it's imporant to write everything down, so you can prioritize it all. It will only take a few minutes.
Once it's all written down, you'll be able to see exactly what you're dealing with. Perhaps you'll see it's really not that bad. If nothing else, you'll be able to get these overwhelming thoughts out of your head and onto paper. This eliminates further stress by ensuring you won't forget the details of exactly what you need to do. It's not a bad idea to keep a daily to-do list for all days. You can get a small journal for this. Go over your list as part of your morning routine. It's also good because doing the smaller things may help prevent very stressful days from too much to do from occurring in the first place.
2. Priorize what needs to be done, most important and pressing things first. Resist the temptation to skip one item for an easier one. It's first things first. Follow the order that you priorized everything as much as you can. However, if you cannot complete something right away, go on to your next item. Keep moving along.
If something can wait, let it wait while you work on imminent things that must be done today.
3. Keep everything in context. You may feel so stressed you don't know what to do, but it's not the end of the world. Talking to someone else may help you realize that your problems are minor compared to theirs. Few people would trade their own problems for those of someone else, anyway.
Take a momemt to feel grateful for the good things in your life. This will also help you to keep your problems and stress in perspective. Stop to consider the worst possible outcome of your problems if you were to do nothing. Although the answer to this may induce even more stress, it may also be reassuring when you realize that even the worst consequences still aren't that bad.
4. Take a break. This may seem counterproductive when you're overwhelmed with so much to do, but it's not. Taking 10 or 15 minutes isn't likely to interfere with your to-do list by much, but it can help your state of mind and ability to cope tremendously.
Have you ever gone to bed with a pressing problem on your mind and then woken up with a solution? Everyone has probably had this happen at some point. This is because the brain works on problems even while you sleep, and it does a better job when you're not adding more useless information produced by stress. So, take 10 or 15 minutes to do something you enjoy. This could be listening to music, doing yoga, meditation or biofeedback if you're trained in that. If you're not and you suffer frequent episodes of high stress, you may want to think about biofeedback training.
Biofeedback teaches you to control body functions that are normally automatic, like heart rate and breathing. Some people have even been able to reduce their blood pressure with biofeedback alone. This reduction may not be medically significant for someone with high blood pressure, but it proves that it can be done. If biofeedback can affect your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure, then it can also work to eliminate or at least modify the stress level in your life. Your break could also include playing a game with kids or an animal. You will make them happy, and it will give you a stress break, too. Studies have shown that petting an animal has a calming effect and may even reduce blood pressure.
5. Exercise helps to reduce stress and improve your mental attitude. Take 15 minutes to walk around the block. The sunlight and differend scenery will boost your spirits and give you inner strength. Keep a good pace fast enough to raise your heart rate at least some because exercise also helps to release stress.
The body produces endorphins, which are feel-good natural compounds to help fight pain and elevate the mood. Sometimes, the brain releases these in response to exercise. Endorphines will lift your spirits and may put you in a different frame of mine better able to cope with your stress. You can also do exercises right at home or even run in place while listening to music.
6. Call a friend. Not only will you get some possibly great advice, but your friend may be able to help you with something on your to-do list. One thing less to do may make a big difference.
Laugh with your friend. Laughter is a great stress deterrent and can determine your mood for the rest of the day.
7. There are some other ways to reduce your stress and feelings of being overwhelmed:
- Learn to say no and don't agree to help others when you just don't have the time
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Seek help if you need it
Helping others is something you should do if you can, but if you can't, say so and stick with it. Although that glass of wine may help you relax, it may also interfere with brain function when you need it most. Drugs and alcohol tend to increase problems, not solve them. Don't be afraid to seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with this. If you're worried about what others might think, just don't tell them. It's none of their business, anyway.
Above all, understand that life has a rhythm to it. It ebbs and flows. Everyone has good days and bad days, and everyone has problems. Reducing stress in your daily life will also help you cope on the bad days so you can enjoy the good days and times even more. Always consult with your physician before beginning any kind of regimen for possibly treating a physical problem like using biofeedback for high blood pressure. Although the technique is harmless in itself, it requires an expert to help you learn it and proper medical supervision throughout the process. The next time a terribly stressful day hits, try some of these suggestions to see if they work for you.