We all have periods of time or stages in life when we feel overwhelmed. With all that is going on in the world because of Covid-19 I have a hunch that feeling overwhelmed is more common than ever right now.
Our norms, our routines, our favorite spaces and places, our face to face relationships, our jobs, and our sense of control have all been upset. Even though all the change is challenging, there can be a lot of positives that come out of this time if we embrace the changes. I’ve already shared 12 things you can do to Find Peace and Use Your Time Well during this surreal time when we are all being told to stay home.
However, even when you have the best of intentions to keep yourself calm and productive, there are times that the feeling of being overwhelmed can throw a wrench in your plans for peace. The possibilities are numerous…the kids are stir-crazy, you are feeling claustrophobic in your home, the news coverage is depressing, technology isn’t cooperating for your work call, social media is making you feel worse, the day is not going the way you planned AT ALL. I get it. I’ve been there.
So what are some things we can do to stop the overwhelm and fight back to regain our peace?
First, it is always helpful to STOP and BREATHE when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Identify your mental and emotional state and name it. Share with someone in your home, or reach out by phone and just say it: “I’m feeling super overwhelmed right now.” I think many of us (definitely me!) have a tendency to push through overwhelm instead of stopping, and that can make it worse. Stop and reset. Take a few deep cleansing breaths. Have a really good cry if you need to. Let it out in order to start letting it go. Let go of your overwhelm by putting away your phone, turning off the news, letting go of your plan or to-do list (even if it is full of good and positive things). If you have kids home, put yourself in a mommy time out once the kids are safe and secure. Sometimes just 5 minutes alone in a bathroom or bedroom is enough to reset.
Another good option is to GO OUTSIDE.
Anne Lamott says a secret to life is to “go outside and look up.” Something about fresh air and nature and the bigger spaces of outdoors tends to calm our spirits. If you are lucky enough to have a yard, get out there, look up, and take a deep breath. If you don’t have a yard, go out to a patio, the nearest sidewalk, take a stroll around your neighborhood for 10 minutes. Whatever you need to do, get yourself outside, look up, and see if those feelings of overwhelm simmer down.
Whether you are outside or inside, another tactic to dealing with overwhelm is to MOVE your body.
Get your endorphins working so that your body can naturally deal with your stress. It’s science! Need some inspiration? Check out my 10-minutes Essentials Workout. Put some uplifting or fun music on and sing or dance the overwhelm away. Or just enjoy the music!
In moments of overwhelm I find it most helpful to Be Still and pray. It helps center me and ground me and remind me that God is in control. If praying feels intimidating try simply reading or reciting a scripture. Psalm 23 is a beautiful one to start with (see below). Just let God know you are feeling overwhelmed and ask Him for what you need (grace, patience, comfort, peace). He really does restore our weary souls!
If you are feeling overwhelmed I want you to know you are not alone and you are not powerless. You can stop, breathe, go outside, move, and pray! Even if we are staying home and social distancing we still have each other and can reach out for help and send encouragement to each other every day.
Psalm 23 The Lord Is My Shepherd
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord