3 Quick Ways To Manage Stress And Overwhelm
I was talking with a friend today, and he said to me "I'm feeling stressed, I'm going to ask the Doctor about it". Because I know this person like the back of my hand, I knew in that moment, that was absolutely not what he needed to do.
After all, stress is not a medical condition. And Doctors are not life coaches, confidants, or interested in spending the next 2 hours addressing the underlying causes of stress.
As has been my experience, and the experience of countless others - the best thing a Doctor will do, is prescribe some pills, or offer some superficial advice like "take a holiday" or "learn meditation" - all valid, but not exactly tailor-made advice, is it.
Stress is not a deficiency in citalopram, diazepam, or any other synthetic drug.
What it is, in fact, is a response to your experiences, and the thoughts and feelings you have about those experiences. Now those experiences may have happened a long time ago, they may be happening now, or you may be imagining them happening in the future. Regardless, when you address the thoughts and feelings, you will naturally influence that stress feeling.
So after sitting with my friend today, I felt inspired to share some useful advice with you.
Nurture and Nourish.
When we are run down, tired or have a virus - we become inflamed, low in minerals, and many of our biochemical functions are thrown out of balance. When this happens, it's natural to feel things like sadness, anxiety, stress, and overwhelm. And when we feel these things, it's very easy to fall into the trap of becoming stressed about feeling this way.
In a sense, we start stressing about the stress.
And then, because we feel low, we start imagining all the reasons why we feel low. But all those 'things' are just stories. Because the truth is, you are simply run down, tired or have a virus. So you can invent stories, or get upset about not feeling on top of your 'Happy Game'... or you can nurture yourself back to happy, calm and relaxed.
How do we do that? I know you already know this - sleep, nourishing food, useful supplements, hydration, sunlight are the basics to bring energy and nourishment back to the body. Gentle exercise (like walking in nature) is also great. But of course there are other things that nurture us, like: time with family and friends, slashing your to-do list down to a minimum, comedy, music, dancing, bubble baths... you get the idea.
But perhaps the most important thing is to stop beating yourself up over how you're feeling. Let it go. So what if you "have stuff to do" - you really don't "HAVE" to do anything. Unless it's a matter of life or death - let it go. Whenever I need to nurture myself, I literally say "fuck it" and look after myself. Because when I'm at the true end of my life, I sure as hell won't be lying on my death bed saying "Gosh, I wish I had pushed myself harder when I was feeling run down".
Sometimes we just place too many demands on ourselves. And this leads to feelings of overwhelm. When we are overwhelmed, we may procrastinate or be slower at getting things done. We may feel brainfogged or simply "unable to cope".
And when we feel like this, we start to make up stories about being useless, or not being good enough. Or we feel like we're living in a never-ending cycle of doom. And we start to invent stories about how life is so awful.
Maybe you've had a past experience where you felt like you had to do everything, please everyone and never slow down. Maybe you learned that doing nothing was weak, or saying no was wrong.
I'm here to tell you - fuck that. And I say that with the experience of having lived this overwhelmed stress life myself. These days, you'll find me regularly saying "No, I'm not doing that".
So my advice here is to recognize if your stress is coming from a place where you feel overloaded and overwhelmed. Write everything that's in your head down on paper. Everything! And then go through that list and start highlighting what is TRULY important, and what is not.
Again, I won't be lying on my deathbed wishing I had crammed more people pleasing, or mundane tasks into my life.
Commonly, stress comes from a place of "problem". In other words, there is something that is not right in your life, it is causing distress, and it needs to be solved.
So, to relieve the stress, you need to solve the problem.
Now, solving problems can also make us feel stressed. Sometimes it can be easy, and other times it can really challenge us and push us outside our comfort zone. When we are outside our comfort zone, that feels like stress also.
But the trick is to keep taking action. Big action, small action - it doesn't matter! Just do something! the opposite of taking action, will be to remain in that feeling of stress. You're not alone when it comes to the fear of taking action. We all feel it! I feel it! The difference, is that I've had more practice, so now the fear response doesn't bother me. But you gotta practice!
So, if your stress is coming from a problem. Take that action (I like to call it Messy, Imperfect Action) and start solving the issue. And if your stress is because you ARE solving a problem, and you're outside your comfort zone - I urge you, please, ride it out! Don't revert back to your old ways. Keep focusing on what you want in life, your values, who you are and why you're doing this. And of course, nurture and nourish yourself.
So you see, none of these things could have been "fixed" by going to the Doctor. Instead, we simply honor, love and respect ourselves and do the things that will really solve our stress.
And if you'd like help with that - go ahead and contact me for a 1:1 Stress Management Consultation. You will go away with the 100% confidence to start managing those stressful situations, and easy tools to manage any stress you encounter in the future. And of course, if you're a stress or emotional eater - this is exactly what will help you manage that eating so you can be fit, healthy and happy.