Beliefnet
Happy Haven with Brandi-Ann Uyemura

What to do when you're overwhelmed

{flickr photo}

Yesterday all was well. But today? Hell broke lose and today’s an all together different story. Suddenly, your work load, your kids, your bank account, your health all need your attention and they need it now!

What seemed easy to put off yesterday, feels like an emergency today. How will you manage the seemingly unmanageable? And as your anxiety holds hands with fear, will you be able to survive whatever it is and make it out okay?

It’s a question that could likely leave most us wishing to be kids again, to want to hide from the responsibility that adulthood brings.

As someone who’s suffered from health issues and constant career fears (I am a writer), I understand the urgency. I know what it’s like to need answers now, to want to wake up from the nightmare that is your current life.

Fortunately there is always another way. I’ve discovered that even in the worst circumstances, light paves the way through the darkest of shadows. We only need to to know where to look to get to it.

Bite-Size Pieces

The majority of the time, we get overwhelmed because we think we need to do it all, and do it all right. It’s only in adulthood where we miraculously believe that because we’re older now, we should be able to tackle each mountain that comes our way. We forget that as children, it took patience, determination and hard work to learn how to roll, crawl and finally walk. Life is still like that. Sometimes we need to take bite-sized pieces and small steps to get what we want. We may not have it all right now. But we will eventually get there, if we give ourselves the time and space to achieve it.

Get Back to the Basics

One of my favorite bloggers is Sarah Wilson, a beautiful Australian media personality who blogs about life, health, travel and more. She wrote once that sometimes when she’s not feeling well, she simply lies down. As in, completely relinquishing to the earth or corpse pose for all you yogis out there. When life hits us hard, there is an automatic reaction in us that says, “Fight harder.” But in reality, the best thing we can do is ride the wave. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, go back to basics. Live simply. Breathe deeply. Work hard against being hard. Like the branches of a tree, be strong in your roots while allowing the wind to move you. You will get back on track.

Be Soft and Gentle to Your Self

Sometimes we force ourselves to do too much. We forget we are human beings, seemingly tough, but also soft and vulnerable. When life hits us hard, we must open ourselves up even more. Just like a flower unwraps its delicate petals to the harsh environment, we must unfold our cold, brittle shields and learn to embrace the art of letting go. When you are in the throes of stress, chaos and overwhelm, you need to be gentle with yourself. Soothe your wounds like you would a child’s. Talk to yourself sweetly the way you would a loved one. Be kind as you go through this difficult period of your life. Treat yourself to a warm blanket, soft music, candlelight, a walk, a massage.You will need strength to get to the other side. Spending time to take care of yourself will make the journey easier.

Remember What’s Important

When people demand something from me or I’m feeling down about a job I didn’t get or an opportunity that passed me by, I try to remember what’s really important. Ten years from now will this still bother me? Is appeasing a relative as important as taking care of myself? Is appearing demanding, lazy, anxious, etc. worse than being myself? One of the things I struggle with is allowing others to see the whole of who I am. But when I am overwhelmed, I remember that what’s really important is how I view myself.

Choose to Write Your Own Story

I can choose to live the way others want me to. I can choose to let whatever is going on right now control me. Or I can break free from the chains that bind my life and I can create a beautiful story. It won’t be a perfect one. But looking back 50 years from now, don’t you want it to be one you can be proud of?

 

 

Previous Posts
Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus