Intentional Living

How To Deal With Stress and Feeling Overwhelmed

Many of us think that we can be superwoman or superman and do it all. The 40 hour work week. The side hustle. School. The social life. Taking care of our families. But what happens when this all catches up to you and you feel totally burnt out and suddenly hit a wall of immense anxiety that starts to consume you? Unfortunately it’s been drilled into our heads that a go-go-go approach to life is normal and expected of us. Thanks western society. This mentality is detrimental to our health and it’s very important to take time and be kind to ourselves and get back on the right path to finding the things in our life that makes us feel good. In this post I’m sharing 9 things to do when you’ve hit a wall and overwhelmed with life.

What to Do When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed and Stressed Out With Life

 

I recently hit my own wall and felt compelled to write a blog post about it. You might notice that my posting schedule has been a bit sporadic and I recently dropped from three posts a week to two. Then I went on vacation last week and was surprised that I even got one post up.

I actually intended to publish a blogging tips post yesterday, but I’m still working on it. I promise it will be good and helpful to everyone, that’s why I’m putting so much time into it. My perfectionism gets the best of me sometimes, especially when it comes to blogging. I haven’t developed efficient time management skills yet to combat it, as that’s something I’m working on at the moment as I navigate my own personal journey (coughcough in search of Sheila).

I work a full time job and also maintain this blog in my free time. Work has been a bit stressful for not only myself, but my colleagues as well, which then makes me more stressed. The institution I work at is currently undergoing a “transition” period and everyone is at risk of losing their jobs. This is scary AF and I’ve been hiding it for some time now, but the truth must be told. I’ve been stressed about my future and job security, but on the flip slide I also feel motivated to take this as an opportunity to move somewhere new and open a new chapter in my life. Nothing is set in stone yet, and I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated on where life takes me.

I’ve also been diligently working on better content for my blog to start monetizing from it, which I mentioned in my 7 Things I’m Doing to Grow My Blog post. I don’t want you guys to think I’m losing myself and authenticity because I want to make money from my blog. The thought has crossed my mind many times, but the recent events at my job ultimately jolted me to take action. I never thought of myself as ever being my own boss, but with where the world is going, it seems like it might be a good idea to work for myself in the near future.

How to Deal with Stress and Feeling Overwhelmed

For a good while I had a consistent posting schedule and kept up with it, posting three times a week (two outfits, one lifestyle/personal development/blogging tips). My posts have recently become less frequent, mainly because I’ve been focusing on producing higher quality and helpful content, along with extras like free worksheets and guides. This alone has taken up more of my time and I’ve started to notice that it’s effecting my happiness. #bloggerburnout

I stopped or began to miss doing certain parts of my daily routine, like reading 30 minutes a day, yoga before bed, and writing in my journal. I’ve still been maintaining my morning yoga and meditation sessions, which has probably kept me from going totally bonkers. Monday was my first day back at work after coming back from my vacation and lemme tell it, it’s been hella hard to get out of bed all this week. I finally feel like I’m getting back to my normal routine and damn, it feels good to be getting back into alignment.

I really wanted to get another blog post up this week, preferably yesterday, but my planned post just wasn’t ready to be published. Panic set in at the fact that I was going to go on another mini blog break and the feeling of failure at just posting once a week, again. I had to sit for a second, breathe, and tell myself: Sheila. It’s okay. The world isn’t going to end because you didn’t get another post up. Your world isn’t going to end. Then I took a deep breath and wrote this post. I hope my experience with my recent stress, overwhelm, and mini blogger burnout can somehow inspire you to identify the stress in your own life and give you the power to fight it.

 

Ways to Fight Stress and Feeling Overwhelmed

 

1. Identify and Accept the Stress

When you’re able to identify and accept that there is too much on your plate or you’re taking on too many tasks at one time, it’ll be easier to take the steps to minimize the stress in your life. Once I began feeling that there was a void in my life, I realized that there were certain aspects of my daily routine that I missed. I was spending too much of that time and energy in other areas of my life (i.e. producing blog content) and not enough time for myself.

2. Pause and Take a Step Back

Hit the breaks and choose to be still. When I worked in a high pace food service environment (I wasn’t lovin’ it) I experienced anxiety nearly every shift and almost had a panic attack at one point. Oh, and I was a teenager too. Back then I didn’t know how to deal with what was happening to me and I’d go home angry, sad, and worn out.

Now when I’m in uncontrollable situations and I start to feel anxiety creeping up on me, I pause and tell myself that I’m about to have a moment and that I need to stop it from escalating. This helped so much when I worked as a waitress last year. Being able to stop and control your stress before it manifests is very important.

3. Tune Out

Turn your phone off or put it on silent mode and block out all the noise that’s cluttering your mind. Take some deep breaths in and out or try some relaxation techniques. Be mindful that you can’t do everything and that it’s okay to take a moment for yourself and tune out the world.

 

4. Do Something You Enjoy

Taking a break from the madness in your life and using that time to do something you enjoy is a great way to recharge.

For me, putting on a TV show or movie and letting go of any responsibilities and priorities instantly calms me. And since we’re still experiencing winter weather (spring, where you at?) I avoid going outside as much as possible, so I have to find things to do inside to calm me down. I’ll turn on Netflix or watch some YouTube videos–anything to “escape” reality. I don’t watch television very often anymore, so when I do pop up on a TV show (I’ve been loving Reign at the moment!) it’s a treat for me. It also takes me back to being a kid when life was so much easier.

Other activities that can be calming:

  • coloring/drawing/doodling
  • reading
  • writing
  • aimlessly surfing the web (cat memes can be therapeutic, right?)
  • going for a walk/getting outside
  • exercise
  • changing your environment i.e. going to a coffee shop or running some errands
  • anything to shift your focus away from life’s demands
What to do to Fight Stress and Feeling Overwhelmed

5. Practice Yoga

Yoga has so many benefits and I pretty much include it in every personal development post here on In Search of Sheila. I can’t stress how beneficial it is! It’s not only soothing for your mind, but is great for your physical body as well. Holding poses and going in and out of flows will shift your focus to something positive. There are many free yoga videos on YouTube, especially ones specifically for dealing with stress and anxiety. Here’s a 7 minute stress relief video and I also created a Yoga For Stress Relief playlist you can check out here. Attending a yoga class is also a great experience to try.

 

6. Meditate

I also recommend meditation a lot, but it has honestly changed my life and can change your’s as well. Taking just 5 minutes out of your day to sit and focus on your breath will calm and ease your mind, allowing you to block out all the built up stress in your life. I really recommend trying the Calm app to help get you started on your journey to mindfulness. 

7. Journal

Writing your thoughts, emotions, and feelings is a great way to deal with stress and overwhelm. I took a break from writing in my journal for a couple weeks and finally got back into doing it last night. I started on a fresh page in a new notebook and I felt so much better getting everything in my head out on my paper. I tend to lock my emotions in my head sometimes, which isn’t healthy, especially for someone that lives by themselves and doesn’t socialize as much as she should. Writing what’s been going on in my life and how I’ve been feeling is a great release.

How to deal with feeling overwhelmed and stressed out

 

8. Don’t Eat Your Feelings

Emotional eating is a real thing and affects many people across the globe. I recently listened to this podcast from the Chalene Show that helps explain what emotional eating is and how to figure out if it’s something you’re experiencing vs. just being hungry. I had a bad week before my vacation where I was eating some things I shouldn’t be eating (pastries are my weakness, okay?) I began to feel more sluggish and less motivated to keep up with my workouts and craved more bad foods. Luckily I pinpointed my emotions and what was triggering my bad eating habits and was able to stop. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally okay to treat yourself, but when you’re going to the grocery store specifically to grab a chocolate scone AND glazed doughnut on a Wednesday night after indulging over the weekend, and Monday, and Tuesday…something’s not right. It’s very important to identify whether you’re eating because you’re simply hungry or if you’re eating to ease internal pain to avoid getting lost in a downward spiral.

9. Embrace the Little Things in Life

At the end of the day you’re still breathing. You’re alive. The world will go on.

We get so caught up in our first world problems sometimes that it can be hard to see that our lives are actually pretty fulfilled from the opportunities and privileges we have. Running water, heat, access to that WiFi password…there are so many things we take for granted. Learn to practice gratitude and be thankful for the little (and big) things you have in your life and you’ll be surprised at how trivial your problems might be compared to someone else’s. I have a list of 50 Things to Be Grateful For Everyday to get you started.

Phew! I feel SO much better now. What do you do when you’re feeling super stressed out and overwhelmed with life? I’d like to add some things to my list to try!

Start Your Day With a Clear and Positive Mind

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  • HeathersAmbitions

    I love this Sheila! You are such an incredible writer! Thank you so much for the reminders to deal with the stress in our lives instead of just bottling it up.

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