Sometimes life’s demands and frustrations can push us to the limit, and then some. Even though we try to juggle it all, we still might find ourselves feeling completely overwhelmed. This is where it pays to have some handy coping skills at the ready.
Managing stress is an essential life skill. Caring for our mental health is just as important as tending to our physical wellbeing, and keeping your stress levels in check is a big part of that.
What Happens When You Feel Overwhelmed?
When we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by daily life, it’s time to take a pause and look at our priorities. Chances are, we’ll find that we’re trying to squeeze in too many tasks, appointments and projects into any given day. With such hectic and crammed days, any unforeseen event can really cause things to spin out of control.
The sense of feeling overwhelmed is the result of biology, specifically our brain chemistry. Our brains are wired with a survival mechanism to alert us to danger or threats. When we become highly stressed, it triggers the adrenal gland to produce a flood of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. This is called the “fight or flight” response.
When we don’t manage our stress and anxiety well, we find ourselves in a constant fight or flight response state, and that is not good for our health or mental wellbeing. Chronic stress can cause sleep problems, irritability, stomach distress, headaches, fatigue and a sense of despair. Together, these effects can be debilitating.
4 Tips to Access When You Feel Overwhelmed
Whenever we feel overwhelmed by our never-ending to-do lists, it’s time to take some time for ourselves. Recognize that unchecked stress will lead to serious health issues later, so it’s best to address your mental health needs sooner rather than later..
Consider these tips to help get your stress levels under control:
- Take a mental health day. Schedule a day that is just for you. Fill it with activities you enjoy and that feed your soul. Take a day trip, meet up with a friend, visit some galleries, or do whatever it is you want to do.
- Indulge in some self-care. You might enjoy spending a whole day at a spa, where you can indulge in a massage, sauna, tranquil music, and some quiet reading time. Even if you only have one spare hour, go get a massage or a deluxe pedicure.
- Get outside and move. Exercise can be the best medicine to deal with nerves. If you only have an hour, make the most of it by getting outdoors in the fresh air. Take a run, a brisk walk, a hike, or a bike ride to reinvigorate your senses and clear your head. While you are out enjoying nature, your whole mood will change.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Smartphone apps can be helpful when it comes to learning and practicing relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness, and guided meditation. Some of the most popular apps for managing anxiety are Calm, Dare, Breathwrk, Insight Timer, Headspace and Meditation Studio.
When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all of life’s stresses, take a break from the hamster wheel. Listen to the telltale signs of burnout and make your health and wellbeing a top priority.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, and provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle – “everything for recovery” – reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.