Today I am writing about how you can feel overwhelmed when you have walked the journey of singleness for several years. How to know you are overwhelmed, how to manage overwhelm and when you need to get professional assistance to give you greater perspective.
What is being Overwhelmed?
So, what does overwhelm feel like. I define it as the constant juggling of so many balls and trying to find a way to find me time, but it never is present.
Overwhelm is defined as bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something, especially water. Not being able to come out of that feeling of being submerged.
Do you feel like you have so much going on that you are struggling to cope with it all? Or are you going through something stressful that is making it difficult for you to function? These are some of the signs of being overwhelmed.
Everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time and it is a completely normal response to everyday stressors, says Dr. Romanoff. Stress can sometimes be helpful, because it fires up your system and helps you be more productive.1
These are some of the signs that you are overwhelmed, according to Dr. Romanoff:
- Irrational thoughts: You may struggle to think rationally, which can make the problem seem inflated and your perceived ability to deal with it feel deflated.
- Paralysis: You may experience a freeze response that can cause you to feel paralyzed and unable to function. Even simple tasks can feel impossible. You may find yourself postponing stressful tasks or avoid them altogether.
- Disproportionate reactions: You may overreact to minor stressors. For instance, you may panic if you are unable to find your keys.
- Withdrawal: You may find yourself withdrawing from friends and family. You may feel like they cannot help you or understand what you are going through.
- Pessimism: You may feel helpless and hopeless about the situation.
- Mood changes: You may feel angry, irritable, or anxious, and cry easily.
- Cognitive fatigue: You may feel confused and have difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and solving problems.3
- Physical symptoms: You may experience physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, cramps, an upset stomach, or other aches and pains.
Being chronically stressed and overwhelmed can lead to physical and mental health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Reasons Why You May Feel Overwhelmed
A precipitating stressor, an unexpected event, or poor mental health can cause you to feel overwhelmed, says Dr. Romanoff. She explains that you may also feel overwhelmed if a series of stressors accumulate and pile up on you. A lack of coping skills can also exacerbate symptoms.
These are some of the common triggers that can cause you to feel overwhelmed, according to Dr. Romanoff:
- Loss of a loved one
- Excessive workload or a stressful work environment
- Conflict in personal relationships with friends or family members
- Relationship difficulties or break-ups
- Financial problems
- Health concerns
- Traumatic experiences
- Environmental or political issues
- Major life changes
overwhelmed can take a toll on your mental and physical health.2
Having a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) might predispose a person to feeling overwhelmed, says Dr. Romanoff.
Coping With Being Overwhelmed
Below, Dr. Romanoff shares some strategies that can help you cope, if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Change Your Perspective
Take a step back from your thought processes. Recognize and accept how you are feeling and the situation you are in. Stop the vicious emotional cycle of recrimination.
Do what you can to get some perspective on the situation. You can try taking a break from the situation, going for a walk, changing your environment, speaking to a friend, or taking a few deep breaths.
Seek out resources to help you solve the problem. This could mean asking for help, doing something to recalibrate your perspective, or approaching the problem from a different angle.
Challenge Your Assumptions
When we’re overwhelmed, we tend to let irrational thoughts and fears guide us, instead of being logical. For instance, if you are going through a break-up, you may worry about what people may think about you, or you may stress about being single and ending up alone.
It can be helpful to identify illogical assumptions and articulate them, so you can examine them in the light of day and see that they do not necessarily hold true. You can try writing them down in a journal or voicing them aloud to someone you trust.
Reach out to your support network. Your friends, family, and colleagues may be able to offer advice, support, and a unique perspective.
Accept the help of your loved ones and let them be there for you. Even just talking to supportive people in your life can help you feel safer and more validated in the context of the stressor.
Try Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness can be extremely helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed. Grounding techniques like the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise use your senses to connect you to your environment and help you get out of the chaos of your mind.
You can perform the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise by sitting in a quiet spot and noticing things around you. Try to list:
- 5 things you can see.
- 4 things you can touch or feel.
- 3 things you can hear.
- 2 things you can smell.
- 1 thing you can taste.
This exercise can help you calm down and step away from the overwhelming thoughts and emotions you’re experiencing. You can use it to take a break and then reapproach the issue later from a fresh perspective.
Plan and go on that Holiday you keep post phoning.
Intentionally decide when to take a holiday. This will require planning financially and time ahead. This does not have to be overly priced. When this is set in place intermittently during the year it gives you something to always look forward to.
Also easing your stress levels as you know the pressure at work or demands will cease soon, due to your vacation approaching. Holidays allow you to be removed from your current overwhelming position, therefore allowing you to make decisions on issues that require change.
Coaching can help you develop the skills you need to manage feelings of being overwhelmed. It also can help you understand why you tend to have this strong response to stressors, particularly if you have a history of feeling overwhelmed.
Coaching can also help you find ways to increase confidence through competence, both of which positively reinforce each other—the more competent you are, the more confident you feel, and vice versa.
Chronic overwhelm exacerbated by Mental Health problems will require you access Therapy.
Being able to identify how you feel and name it, enables you to address the specific challenge. Being overwhelmed or feeling overwhelmed is telling you that your life might becoming out of control if you do not do something about it.
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