So many times life is ok until it isn’t. We hold it together and shuffle from responsibility to responsibility, attempting to uphold all of our commitments while also dealing with the stressors that come along with it.
Sometimes it feels like if one more thing goes wrong or you have to take on another responsibility in your life, that delicate balancing act that you’ve been in charge of comes crashing down around you.
Feeling overwhelmed or burnt out isn’t a fun thing to live with and has potential to lead to mental and physical health issues if not addressed properly.
Common stressors and things that can often lead to feelings of being overwhelmed are common occurrences throughout a person’s lifespan. These common stressors include things such as pregnancy, trouble with a boss, a career change, or a change in responsibilities at work. However, feeling burnt out or overwhelmed by these stressors doesn’t have to be a normal part of your life.
Myself, like many, have gone through a lot of life changes throughout the last year. From transitioning to working from home to added responsibilities at work and less time for socialization due to Covid-19, it slowly wore me down. I soon felt myself feeling exhausted all the time and had a lot of difficulty concentrating enough to be productive at work. I started getting more moody around my family and started feeling so overwhelmed that I could barely uphold any of my responsibilities.
Luckily, I was able to recognize my feelings of being burnt out and overwhelmed by my life that I was able to implement some of the tools that have helped a lot of my clients dealing with similar feelings of being overwhelmed and burnt out.
If this sounds like you, it’s important to understand that just like other feelings, these feelings of being overwhelmed don’t need to be a constant part of your life and there are lifestyle tweaks that you can do in order to alleviate some of these heavy feelings.
Work on a Solid Sleep Schedule
Mental health and sleep are closely intertwined and more research is coming out that is finding that poor quality of sleep or not enough good sleep can lead to an increase in stress and other feelings that may contribute to feeling burnt out or overwhelmed. In fact, research has found a link between sleep, insomnia, and the activation of anxiety and depression symptoms.
This being said, try creating a sleep schedule to foster better and longer sleep if you find that you are having trouble sleeping and staying asleep. Experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults.
Mindfulness is your Friend
Recent studies have found that using mindfulness techniques such as meditation, journaling, and deep breathing are effective ways for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
If self-guided meditation isn’t your thing, there are a lot of different things to try that are also mindfulness based. For instance, try exploring different mindfulness videos or apps. Many are free and can help get you started in including mindfulness in your daily routine.
Make Changes to your Schedule
United States culture values hustle and ‘the grind’. In fact, taking on side jobs or ‘side hustles’ is often encouraged and is slowly becoming the new normal. However, as our lives become progressively more filled with responsibilities or expectations from others, it can start to have a negative effect on our mental health and ultimately lead to burnout and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Take a look at your daily schedule and try to notice if there are any times that you dedicate to doing something you like or that is relaxing. This could be taking a walk, playing an instrument, or talking with a friend or family member. If it is starting to seem like there isn’t enough time in the day for these kinds of activities, it might be time to see if there is anything you could maybe let go of.
Work on Saying No
As I mentioned above, our society is based around the word ‘yes’. Sometimes, it seems that this is the only answer when someone asks you to do something. Constantly saying yes to things creates more stress in your life because it adds additional expectations and responsibilities that you need to juggle.
If you’re a ‘yes’ person and find yourself feeling stressed every time you have to say yes to something, try working ‘no’ into your vocabulary a little more. Now, I’m not saying to say no to every opportunity that comes your way. However, understanding what you can take on and where to draw boundaries is a great first step at managing future stress and future burnout.
Not taking breaks throughout your day is a surefire way to reach burnout fast. While it may feel like taking breaks will make you less productive and less likely to accomplish tasks related to the responsibilities, taking breaks may have more benefits than one.
In fact, taking breaks throughout the day has been found to help restore your motivation, especially for long-term goals and tasks and can lead to more productivity and creativity. Because of this, try to schedule small breaks throughout the day in order to give yourself time to feel refreshed and refocused before jumping back into your tasks and responsibilities.