To be overwhelmed is to be buried over a huge mass of something, it could be anything related to work, business, home or personal life. The pandemic has made most of us know how it actually feels to be overwhelmed!. I was swamped with work at some point, but kept going. I got to a point where I couldn’t concentrate on one thing. I kept moving from one thing before completing it to another. I happened to have moments where I would be staring at something I had in my hands wondering what I wanted to do with! My concentration was greatly reduced. I woke up to a rude realisation that I had reached my full capacity and couldn’t function beyond that. Rather than pretending to be strong, I had to concede that I felt beaten, and needed a break. I took a two week break!
Most often, we think it’s a weakness to accept that we’re not ok and to ask for help, and so we suffer needlessly. We want to show our coworkers, our bosses, our friends and our families that we’re strong, emotionally and physically, to the detriment of our own health. There’s nothing wrong in you asking for a break from situations that are overwhelming for you. Although life does not revolve around you, it definitely starts with you. Your world will not be fully functional without you featuring in it. For it to exist, you’ve got to have you in order to keep it going. For that to happen, you need to take care of yourself, and that starts with you acknowledging that you have maxed out! There’s no shame in accepting defeat. When you accept defeat, you’re simply showing your strength and your ability to take care of the body that you live in. That’s your responsibility! Don’t die faking strength, you’re irreplaceable!
Signs that you’re overwhelmed
1. Heart palpitations. Your heart races and it feels like it will jump out of your chest and makes you gasp for breath. Don’t fight it, just try to hold your breath as you relax your chest muscles.
2. Body aches and pains. Time to get active doing exercises that are right for your body. I like brisk walking or jogging. Being active helps the body to release endorphins in our blood stream. These are chemicals produced to cope with stress or pain. They are called ‘feel good’ chemicals produced by the nervous system.
3. Your concentration is lowered. You can’t focus on one task. You keep doing a bit of everything and your inability to finish leaves you feeling worse. Do one thing at a time and finish before starting the next. Change your position if you can, or even go for a walk. I find that change in posture helps to change and improve my thinking and this generates new ideas and It helps me to refocus. Research has shown that changing posture can change your brain.
4. You feel angry, even at yourself, for choosing what you’re doing or for taking on too much. Do something you love in your downtime. And know your limits.
5. Physical fatigue and Lack of motivation. Have enough rest and make sure you eat healthy foods. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of the nutritional requirements to sustain your health. Great supplements are also great to help you bridge the gap between what you’re supposed to take and what you actually take.
Simple things make a difference!
1. Accept that you’re overwhelmed!
2. Being aware of what’s happening to you and your body is a great start and this may lead to greater self awareness.
3. Be kind to yourself and others.
4. Find activities that bring you pleasure and do more of that.
5. Learn to slow down and reduce stress.
6. Involve yourself in a community for the common good. I’m not saying you go to the community centre and take part in all the activities taking place. Community can be a group of like minded people, having same interests. You should know what you love and pursue those interests.
7. Set priorities and know how to manage your personal time. Important and urgent things first. The rest can wait.
8. Do not take your work home. Manage your time at work and finish your daily quota within your allocated work time. If you have a job that just gives you too much work than there are hours in day and in a week, then do your very best but count your hours, tomorrow is another day!
9. Remove the stressors if possible. For those who work in high pressure jobs like nurses and doctors, self care becomes even important because of high risk of suffering from compassion fatigue. Take regular breaks.
10. Pray or meditate, whichever goes with you. This is a well known activity for its stress relieving and relaxing effects. I also get strength from praying because I get reminded of who I am, my reason for being and the power that’s at work within me. You can’t go in to pray and come out still feeling stressed, I would tell you you didn’t pray, you went in to focus on your stress. There’s a right and wrong way to pray and meditate. Do it right and health is yours.
Life is for living and enjoying as you live out your purpose. Don’t let stress rob you of your life. You only live once, so you want to give it your best shot, make it count, and when that time to depart this earth comes, you won’t be afraid but happy to go empty.