It can be really really hard to be in a place in your life where you are overwhelmed by what life has to offer. I have certainly felt the weight of emotional burdens and at times succumb to the pressure. Many are overwhelmed with strong feelings of sadness or anxiety, even persistent anger or fear. Some, unfortunately, can say they have had to deal with all of the above.
I will stick with my own personal truth for this post, but I would love for those who read the prompt to comment what their own truth is, and how they handle life when it becomes overwhelming!
I honestly have been able to stay pretty in control in recent years, but there are still times where I feel like I cannot handle everything on my plate. When I feel like I am not in control or are overwhelmed, it is not obvious or clear at all. I am an extremely stubborn person (thanks, Dad), and have a very hard time asking for help. In some regards, this is a good thing as it pushes me to figure things out independently. On the other hand, it can be detrimental. I have learned it is vital to try to understand when you really need help, and also to think critically about when not asking for help will put you in an even worse position.
Like I mentioned before, I am a stubborn person (also have to thank my twin brother, Wade), and the reason I know how important it is to be mindful of how much you can handle is from the many times when my lack of asking for assistance led me to deal with far more pain and negative emotions than I should have. Being in those positions negatively impacted my productivity and also my personal relationships. I was unable to put enough of myself into what really was important to me as I was spread too thin.
Focusing on what I do when I do feel overwhelmed? Well, the easy response would be “I don’t get overwhelmed”. That would also be an unrealistic response. I have worked really hard to develop a patient outlook on every facet of my life, but that is just the beginning. One thing I do to help myself not feel overwhelmed is take full control over some aspect of my life. My physical health is one of those aspects. I make sure to go to the gym very often and try to eat as best I can. I am human and do lapse into little carb binges here and there (cough* cough* whole pizzas), but overall I eat pretty healthy.
Other things that I try and do are to read or make sure to do some mindful breathing occasionally throughout the day. If I find my mind racing or thinking about too many things at once, I close my eyes and do 4-7-8 breathing techniques. It is something that I initially did with the children I work with, but I tried it and it does help to slow my heart rate down. The way to complete the 4-7-8 breathing technique is to breathe in slowly but fully over four seconds. The second step is to hold that breath for seven seconds, then slowly release all of the air in your lungs over eight seconds.
There are plenty of other aspects of my life that can be overwhelming. I am a supporter of and love someone who has a TBI. Her life itself is far more overwhelming than my own, but I do my best to take some of that off of her shoulders, and along with managing my own busy life, supporting her in the right way can be hard sometimes. Though it can be difficult for me, I understand that I am very privileged to be able to take control over the pieces in my life that I do have control over. I keep myself from being too overwhelmed by understanding where my life sits in comparison to others. I know I have it pretty good, so I do my best to try to help others get the same feeling of control or comfort as well.
How do you handle feeling overwhelmed? Everyone has different circumstances that lead them to the feeling, but something we all have are our own strategies to deal with them. If you are comfortable, share what makes you feel overwhelmed and how you handle it, or even don’t handle it.