There are times in life when all of us feel overwhelmed- like it is just too much to handle. It seems like life keeps getting more complicated and so much is expected from us. That is why it is really important to know what to do when feeling overwhelmed- how to cope, and how to improve the situation so you feel less overwhelmed. I am so happy to have an expert today, Dr. Samantha Brody, to share with us a few tips for beginning to dismantle your sources of stress. She has extensive training and experience in both complementary and Western medicine and she is the author of the new book, Overcoming Overwhelm: Dismantle Your Stress from the Inside Out (affiliate link below). For more, please visit drsamantha.com.
How To Deal With Feeling Overwhelmed
When you are beginning to feel overwhelmed, is the best time to go ahead and address the problem. You don’t want to wait for a meltdown. If possible, find some time to destress and then sit down and create an action plan for preventing overwhelm and for how to deal with feeling overwhelmed. Taking an objective look at the bigger picture is often important to deciding what to do when feeling overwhelmed and exactly where you can make a change for the better.
What To Do When Feeling Overwhelmed
Overcoming Overwhelm: Dismantle Your Stress from the Inside Out
by Dr. Samantha Brody
January 1, 2019, Sounds True
Excerpt from Chapter 14, reprinted with permission
The People in Your Life
Human beings are social creatures—pack animals. Isolation from other humans is used as a form of punishment, even torture. But as we all know, being around people can sometimes feel like its own kind of “torture.” It can impact our energy and state of overwhelm either to feel lonely, or to be around people. And on a more intimate level, so many aspects of our relationships can cause us to feel overwhelm. Disagreements, misunderstandings, negotiations, responsibilities, hurt feelings; maintaining a balance in terms of who is talking and who is listening, or who is giving and who is getting, even our best and most valued relationships are difficult. It is hard to start new relationships or end them. We worry about what other people are thinking about us. We can be burdened by other people’s expectations, whether they are our co-workers, families, or friends.
INTROVERT, EXTROVERT, AMBIVERT
Even people with social phobias, or those of us who are card-carrying introverts need human interaction. Knowing whether you are an introvert or an extrovert will help you understand a little bit more about what you need to do to avoid overwhelm.
There are many tests that you can take to determine if you are an introvert or an extrovert, but most people have an intuitive sense of their own personality. Extroverts generally are energized by being around people and interacting with them. Introverts need to recharge alone. But there are people who are neither—or both, we refer to this as ambiversion. I identify in this category—although I need a lot of alone time, I also like to share my experiences with people, and I am very opinionated, two characteristics common to extroverts.
If you are experiencing overwhelm in your life, it is imperative to incorporate plans to recharge and get your needs met that line up with what works best for you, personally. The extrovert entrepreneur who works at home alone all day may feel burdened if she hasn’t made evening plans to catch up with friends and blow off steam. The introvert physician and speaker who is with people all day may feel exhausted unless she has enough alone time. Those of us who are introverts living with others, especially when those others are extroverts, are particularly susceptible to overwhelm in our daily lives.
My husband is an extrovert and I am an introvert. Before we had our son, I had a request that he not speak to me until after 8:00 am. Call that over the top, but I know well that if I prioritize peaceful and quiet mornings before I hit the ground running, I’ll be more effective and less stressed all day. Now that we are parents, one of the ‘deals’ we’ve negotiated in terms of family responsibilities and roles is having my husband handle morning routines with our son.
Of course, not everyone has the luxury of negotiating this kind of deal—single parents, people with roommates, or people with partners who aren’t around in the morning, to name a few—but this is yet another place where I often encourage my patients who do have this option, to get clear about their needs and express them. Often, the people we love are happy to accommodate our requests, and they may have their own requests in turn. This holds true for our work and social lives, too. Ask for what you need. You’ll often be surprised how well it works out.
Another significant factor that can cause overwhelm and stress in our lives is caretaking children, elderly parents, or other people or family members in need (or who simply have expectations they will have their every need tended to.) Sometimes the expectations come from others, and sometimes from ourselves. I remember when I was little my parents would shoo me out of the house to play, whether there were other kids around or not. Now most of us feel obliged to entertain our kids, especially if we don’t want to plop them in front of a video.
Knowing that you do have some control of your time and choices within the time that you are caretaking is important. Whether that means scheduling an hour to read while the kids are listening to the radio, having your elderly mother spend a few hours a day in an eldercare center, telling your husband that no, you’re not going to make his lunches anymore, or getting a babysitter or arranging a child swap with a friend so you can go out for a run, prioritizing some time for yourself is imperative. Beyond that, you may choose to streamline your time and responsibilities with a schedule, if that works for you, so you are clear about what you are choosing to do with your time, and clear that it lines up with your values.
I hope you found these tips from Dr. Samantha Brody helpful for what to do when feeling overwhelmed. They are just a few points and her book goes into much more detail on how to cope with feeling overwhelmed and how to action to reduce overwhelm in the future. Have you struggled with feeling overwhelmed with life? I understand! It happens to us all.
Here Are A Few Great Feeling Overwhelmed Quotes To Send You Off With Some Additional Inspiration:
“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” – Timber Hawkeye
“If we don’t see a failure as a challenge to modify our approach, but rather as a problem with ourselves, as a personality defect, we will immediately feel overwhelmed.” – Anthony Robbins
“When life gets hectic and you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on the people and things you are most grateful for. When you have an attitude of gratitude, frustrating troubles will fall by the wayside.” – Dana Arcuri