Sometimes the feeling of being overwhelmed doesn’t come from the tasks themselves, but from the mental clutter that occupies our minds.
Most people feel overwhelmed at times especially now, given 2020 has been such a turbulent year full of upheaval, family separation and uncertainty about the future. It can feel like a deep fatigue overwhelms us and we just want the world to stop so we can disembark from this roller-coaster of a journey for a while.
It can be difficult to work out why we’re feeling so hopeless and dispirited. Sometimes the feeling of being overwhelmed doesn’t come from the tasks themselves, but from the mental clutter that occupies our minds. It’s useful to remember that nothing lasts forever.
Here are some quick and easy ways to calm down when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
LET GO OF THINGS
Take a look at your to-do list and ask yourself, “If I don’t do it today, will it matter a month from now?” Sometimes the urgent tasks aren’t the really important ones.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, break tasks down into manageable goals and focus only on the things that really matter.
MAKE ‘JUST ONE THING’ YOUR MANTRA
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of things you need to do, it’s hard to know where to start.
The best way to get your mind to quieten is to focus on just one thing.
Pick one small task and begin. One task at a time and give it your complete attention.
MEDITATE AND COME TO YOUR SENSES
Meditation is conscious relaxation for the mind. It’s an extremely effective way to increase focus, breathe deeply and only then, address the problems you have.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed by tension, close your eyes for 5 minutes, and focus solely on your breathing, perhaps counting slowly to 4 while you breathe in, hold for 4 and then breathe out to the count of 4.
Try Petrea King’s 9-minute meditation Coming to Your Senses.
This meditation is from the Be Calm Meditation compilation.
Any exercise you engage in – be it walking or dancing to your favourite beat – helps pump ‘feel-good’ hormones called endorphins, through your body. They also clear your mind.
Staying active increases your productivity, enhances your ability to cope with stress and helps relieve nervous tension – boosting your mood and changing the thoughts that induce the sense of being overwhelmed.
CHANGE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Go outside for a few minutes and enjoy the sunshine.
Stop at a park instead of driving straight home from work.
We need fresh air and time in nature. Sometimes changing surroundings and doing something different is all it takes to change our perspective and find creative solutions to complex or overwhelming challenges.
PRESS PAUSE AND LAUGH
Literally, stop everything and take a break to tickle your funny bone.
Laughing and smiling frequently have been proven to reduce stress levels, making you less prone to anxiety.
Next time stress builds up, take a moment to browse through funny images on YouTube or watch a comedy show.
MORE OMEGA-3 AND VITAMIN B PLEASE!
Anxiety affects our brain and body so, recovery involves nourishing the brain and body.
Give them the nutrients they need by eating foods rich in omega-3 and the vitamin B complex.
Studies have linked vitamin B with good mental health, and omega-3s can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Cut down on sugar, processed food and caffeine as these foods increase symptoms of anxiety.