Ways to Cope With Stress and Feeling Overwhelmed

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It has been a savage week schedule with unforeseen complications that have made it nigh impossible to keep on top of everything going on in my life at the same time.  My catch up time has been at night where I catch up on work and everything else but this has been one of those weeks where you feel like you are trapped in a bus going 70+ miles per hour without any brakes and all you can do is hang on for the ride.

In times of great stress or overbearing and compounding issues that need to be addressed it is critical to take a moment to put things into perspective and find ways to break out everything you need to deal with into smaller manageable chunks that you can put in order of priority.

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Thinking thoughts around the following for example:

I know what’s going wrong, what is going right?

You know if you are dealing with stresses what you are upset or struggling with, so take a few moments to focus specifically on what is doing well and what isn’t an issue.  Which things are good, do you have healthy family, something around the horizon to look forward to, or is there something that just is not part of the problem.

What am I thankful for today?

Who and what are you thankful for today, this is in line with what is going right except specifically think about what is a positive influence in your life and something you are glad that you have in your life.

What can I do right now, this minute to help work toward something?

See if there is a little task or action you can perform to make progress toward one of the many things you may have to get done.  Every little bit counts, and block a small amount of time to make progress or contribute to something.

If I can do only one of these items today, which one takes priority?

Sorting out what has to be done and which is essential compared to which can wait a few days is important.  You should try to minimize the feeling of being overwhelmed and know you can catch up over time.

Can I go to bed later, or wake up earlier and get some items done to save time?

I often leverage staying up late while family sleeps or getting up an hour earlier to help make progress and catch up on items, I will do my budget at 6am, or stay up late at night to catch up on work emails…etc.   Sleep is important, but sparing an hour or two a few times a week can make the difference between constantly feeling overwhelmed and feeling on top of everything.

Who can I call to just talk to and get comfort?

They say that just talking to friends, relatives and loved ones 2 times a week greatly reduces stress levels, anxiety and can help with depression.  Even Doctor Oz recommends phoning 2 friends a week just to talk.

Does doing this task really matter?

For those who think housecleaning is uber important, this should be the lowest priority on your list.  Vacuuming and dusting can wait if you have other super high priorities. 

What things do you do to avoid feeling overwhelmed and keep stress at bay?

-Justin Germino

Updated: July 25, 2012 — 11:07 am