Repeat after me: I have plenty of time to accomplish what I need today.
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There’s a lot of talk about what classes schools should be teaching now but aren’t. People always mention the lack of financial education and the need for Home economic classes. However, rarely do you ever hear anyone mention the need for stress management classes. That’s honestly crazy to me considering that school can be such a big source of stress for many; especially now. Not to mention you can consider stress to be one of those necessary evils that can creep in and take over any aspect of life. And because, we were never taught how to manage stress, we’re left defenseless trying to figure it out on our own while lashing out, experiencing fatigue and losing hope in the process.
Like most people, I’ve been experiencing a great deal of stress lately. It’s not exactly easy maintaining your composure in the middle of a world crisis while simultaneously working from home, homeschooling your child, caring for an infant and keeping house. Can you say overwhelmed?!!!
While it wasn’t easy, I think I finally figured out the secrets to manage stress while overwhelmed. Honestly, I think it has a lot to do with us just doing too much. We’re always on the go and expecting ourselves to be productive at all hours that we forget how to do anything else. Hopefully, these tips will help. Here’s how to manage stress when you’re overwhelmed.
Find a release
Considering the current social distancing measures in place, finding a release for stress can be difficult. It actually might be the reason why you struggle to manage stress right now, but it’s not impossible. Resources may be limited but they do exist. Look to what you have in your home to help you. It might be lighting a candle. Maybe it’s meditation. Or maybe it’s sitting alone in the dark. Other than fitness, I’ve found that taking a virtual fitness class, taking baths and reading has helped me manage stress and release all those unpleasant emotions associated with overwhelm. (P.S. If you’ve never tried a virtual fitness class and interested in giving Zumba a try, fill out this form to join me for a FREE zumba class on Tuesdays at 6:00 PM EST)
Take a break
If you are stressed and overwhelmed it’s likely because you never stopped going. It’s normal to see how far you have to go, and feel the need to push the pedal without ever letting up. I also know what it’s like to have the end in sight and committing to keep going until you get there whether it’s folding all the laundry or finishing that rough draft. However, there’s a problem with that method. You’re not a car; you’re a human that needs to pullover at the rest stop every now and then. If you never allow yourself to break sometimes you’re only guaranteeing that you’ll feel stress and overworked
What’s the best way to manage stress in this situation? Just simply schedule some breaks. I either schedule a 5 to 10 minute break after every two hours in which I step away. Or I work in time chunks and set an alarm for 10 to 20 minutes. I focus on what I’m doing for a short period of time and once that alarm goes off I allow myself to relax and let my mind to wander guilt free. Even if it’s a short break, it always does wonders in helping me feel balanced and reclaim just a little bit of peace when things get hectic and overwhelming.
Focus on what one task at a time
There is nothing more overwhelming than a long to do list. Yet for some reason it’s almost impossible to stray from them. I know on any given day there are ATLEAST 15 or more things I have to get done. Of course, that just makes me feel crazy overwhelmed and so stressed out that I just can’t function anymore. I’ve been able to manage stress associated with to do lists by making super short lists. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I’ve been limiting my to do lists to three items. (If you’re not following me on Instagram, you should be. ) And even with those three items, I do my very best to only do one thing at a time. This helps me think clearly and feel more in control. And we all know when we’re in control, we feel less overwhelmed.
Determine what success means to you
There are a countless amounts of articles, YouTube videos and more telling you how to become a success. However, most of them are BS. Not because they are wrong or give bad advice, but because their definition of success won’t always match your definition of success. Success is a very personal thing. And if you are trying to obtain someone else’s definition of success you will be stressed because that just won’t fit your life for various reasons. You’ll be doing something that isn’t right for you. So instead of following everyone else’s idea, determine what success on a daily basis looks like for you. (That means ignore all those pretty homeschool daily schedules floating around) Maybe your idea of success for the day is cooking dinner tonight. Or maybe it’s responding to five emails. Whatever you choose to align with your daily success only needs to apply to you.
Every morning I determine what ONE things needs to happen for the day to be a success. That way even if I don’t accomplish a single thing on my to do list I can still feel good about my day and feel less overwhelmed.
Delegate what you can
I know you have a special touch and no one does everything just the way you do. You also like things done a certain way. BUT that doesn’t mean you have to do everything. Try to delegate what you can and ask for help. If you’ve been cooking dinner AND washing the dishes ask your spouse to clean the kitchen. If have you small children try teaching them how to get snacks on their own so you don’t have to worry about it too much. If you live alone, reach out to a neighbor and ask if they can help you get groceries. Delegating doesn’t stop there. You can utilize a wash and fold service or even purchase electronics to outsource tasks. I just bought an inexpensive robotic vacuum that I absolutely LOVE and definitely makes “delegating” cleaning easier. Having that one task handled has been a big a help
Stop looking at the big picture
I think one of the biggest issues with social distancing and the inability to manage stress is that we keep wondering how we’ll be able to do this for so long. No one knows how long this lockdown will last. It’s already been over a month in some places and many people don’t think they can survive another month yet alone another week. I know it’s hard to do, but we need to stop looking at the month ahead. Instead, just take it one day at a time. Ignore the big picture and social distancing with for the next few months. All you need to do is make it through the day. Once you ignore the big picture and focus on today I think you’ll find it will be much easier to manage stress. The same can apply to other aspects of your life whether it be a big school project or organizing your home. Ignore the big picture and take it one day at a time. And just like that, you’ll feel the stress melt away.
Speak Kindly to Yourself
Stress is triggered by internal factors just as much as the external factors: aka mental. If you tell yourself you can’t accomplish anything and you’re a failure, you will most definitely start to believe it. Speak kindly to yourself and it just might help you arrive at some peace and learn how to manage stress. Check out the below graphic for some ideas.
Great post! For me, the realization of what success means to me was a key point to take a step back and get a big relief from my self-inflicted stress!
Thank you so much for this. I honestly think a lot more people need to talk about stress management cause it’s a big problem. Whenever I’m stressed out I take breaks, just like you have mentioned. It helps me to rejuvenate.