Do you ever feel overwhelmed? I do! We have many things on our plate. We have professional responsibilities. We have personal, family responsibilities. We do things in and for our community, whether in our children’s schools, places of worship, or other professional, social, recreational groups. We also have an extremely muscular 24/7 news cycle. During this time of transition to a new President, many people feel stressed out. Many of us feel a lot of anxiety and stress on a regular basis. Some might say that feeling overwhelmed is normal in today’s world! Don’t get mad at yourself for feeling overwhelmed. It happens to us all. Be kind and compassionate to yourself as you work your way out of this feeling.
Here are seven ways to stop feeling overwhelmed:
1. Start eating better
We have to fuel our bodies properly and often. When we feel stressed out, we burn more calories. Start with a good breakfast. Maybe even have a snack mid-morning as you take a break, take a breath, and get a grip. Eat a filling healthy lunch away from your various devices and screens. Another snack in the afternoon is a good idea to tide you over to dinner. Finally, a warm and comforting supper. During times of stress, remember we need healthy fuel.
Comfort foods include veggie potpies, thick soups, baked potatoes, oatmeal, vegan mac and cheese, filling dense, often hot foods. When you make these kinds of meals be sure to add tons of fruits and vegetables to get all the healthy nutrition plants provide (vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants). Plant based, vegan nutrition contains stress-relieving nutrients! Aim for a colorful diet. Add apples to your oatmeal. Load up lentil or bean soup with every vegetable you can find. I love mac and cheese with a side of roasted vegetables, or cooked tomatoes, sauerkraut, and greens like spinach.
We have all seen kids eat too much sugar and fall apart. Adults do that too! I do not make good decisions when hungry or feeling jacked up on sugar or caffeine. Sure, I love sugar and caffeine (!!!) but I need to be mindful of that when I am feeling overwhelmed. Be careful.
2. Get plenty of sleep
I have this belief that if I eat well and sleep enough I can do anything. There was a time where I did not sleep well for months. It was horrible and I was a wreck! Thankfully, I was able to fix that. Experts now call this sleep hygiene. Turn off your phone and other screens. Start a relaxing, wind down routine an hour or so before bedtime. Mine starts with watching a show with my little dog in my lap. Then, tidying up and getting ready for the morning. If am I organized for the next day I can rest more easily. Lunch packed. Outfit selected. Papers organized. Go to bed at the same time every night. Friends of mine meditate every night before sleep and that works well for them. Create a routine and stick with it.
3. Prioritize what you simply must accomplish every day
If you have 10-20 things on your list for each day, identify one or two you absolutely must do. Rank the rest of items on your list into groups of importance. Focus: What is the most important thing right now? Play with your three y.o. for a few minutes’ or send that work email? This is key. All the items on our “to-do” lists can be very overwhelming. This is where I get overwhelmed! I can stop myself from feeling overwhelmed when I focus and prioritize. My world may not be perfect, I am certainly not perfect, but seriously, who cares?
4. Break tasks into smaller more doable bits
When we have a huge project ahead of us, it can be overwhelming! If I break it down into smaller pieces, it is manageable. If I feel sense of control, I do not feel as much panic or anxiety. Small bits I can handle more easily. I also like to highlight my list so I can see all that I have accomplished. I’m happy to see what I accomplished each day. Happiness always beats my anxiety!
5. Step back to gain perspective
One way to stop feeling overwhelmed is to step back and gain perspective. Meditate. Go for a walk. Do Restorative Yoga. Make a rule and do not look at any screen for certain times each day. Dance to a favorite song. Read a novel at lunchtime. Play with a dog or cat. Color. Write in your journal. Ask yourself, “Why you are feeling so overwhelmed”? Do you need to make some changes in your life? What can you adjust so that you do not feel so overwhelmed? Step back and gain perspective while you take a refreshing mental, physical, emotional break.
6. Learn to say ‘no’
Create boundaries for yourself. Say no. If you cannot handle one more thing, say so. Moreover, do your best to ensure that the activities and things you are doing are as positive, efficient, and productive as possible. When we feel overwhelmed, time is of the essence. For example, I think many of us can agree that many meetings are a waste of time because they go on too long! Right?! What can you do to maximize time with colleagues? How can you structure it so that everyone benefits? If you feel overwhelmed, try to get to the root of it. We have to be smart, strong, and bold for ourselves because no one else will do it for us.
7. Exercise daily
In the middle of the day get up and walk around. Have a walking meeting with a colleague instead of sitting for coffee. Take the stairs. Park farther away. Walk, look at the sky, and smile at strangers. Be in the real world, versus sucked into a screen. The need for movement is part of our human DNA. Sitting for long periods is not good for us! Weekly workouts are also key to keep us on an even keel and not feel anxiously overwhelmed. We want tired muscles. We want all those wonderful feel good hormones to flood our systems with happiness after a good hard sweaty workout. Exercise effects every part of our body. Make sure it is part of your routine. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do something every day and you will feel better.
Conclusion: Stop feeling overwhelmed
Our modern life is rich with information, experiences, people, obligations, and responsibilities. We are full on most of the time! In order to stay calm and clear, we can take care of ourselves before we slide into an overwhelmed state. Follow these simple seven steps as best you can. Remember, you can’t outrun a bad diet; our nutrition is our top priority! Make the most of life with vegan, plant based nutrition. To learn more, visit my video program. Take the risk of feeling fabulous! Happy Eating!