*Disclaimer: I am not a trained professional in mental health. I am simply sharing my experiences and things that have helped me overcome my anxiety. If you need support, please seek help from a professional.
Do you ever have those times when you just feel so stressed about everything? Does it seem as if the demands and pressures of life are coming at you all at once? Are you beginning to feel so overwhelmed about what you haven’t done to the point where you are now counterproductive? A couple of weeks ago, I was in this position and I felt so stuck about what to do next. Stress, anxiety and worry took over my emotions and I realised that it was becoming destructive, not only because it was hindering me from getting anything done, but it was also affecting my health.
If you’re anything like how I was when I got stressed and revert to shutting down and shutting off then this blog post is for you. Although it feels like you’re in a mess, I want to let you know that stress can be managed. I want to share with you a few things that personally helped me to get out an emotional rut. I hope those tips can help you and feel free to simplify or tailor them to work for you.
Stop and breathe.
Pause, step back and take a break from overthinking. I’m sure that when we’re in an emotional rut, our thoughts go at 100mph and it seems like we can’t turn them off. We need to take the time to just sit still, relax and be quiet. Turn off everything and eliminate distractions for half an hour (or however long you need) to clear your mind. Once your mind is clear you’ll be able to assess your situation properly and take a calm and rational approach to resolve your issues.
It’s normal to get stressed when many things are going on but most of the time when I get to this place I realise I have been trying to do everything on my own strength. As the quote says “sometimes holding on does more damage than letting go.” 1 Peter 5: 7 says “cast your burdens onto Jesus for he cares for you” and John 16: 33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this life you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So the more I give my worries to God and meditate on this and similar scripture I know I’ll be able to go through trials and still have peace.
Fill yourself up with positivity.
Take time to write down affirmations, stick them somewhere you can see and read them each day until you believe it. Read a helpful book, watch empowering Youtube Videos, listen to uplifting music and use that energy to create a positive outlook.
Choose to focus on truths.
Most likely, you’re thinking the worst about your circumstance but know that this situation will not last forever. Our minds are powerful and whatever we think, materialises. Therefore make it a point to remind yourself of past victories and truths. Tell yourself you can do it. Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Meditate on the truth. Count your blessings and practice gratitude for what you do have.
Stop doing things that make you feel worse.
Whether it be being around certain people, comparing yourself to others and other bad habits. Leave those things behind and don’t entertain things that’ll make you feel worse.
Do things that make you feel good.
Whether it be pampering yourself and showing yourself some love to helping someone out. Whatever gives you the most satisfaction and puts a smile on your face – do it.
Switch up the routine.
If you’ve been stressed at home in bed or at the desk all day then chances are you’re going to continue to feel that way if you stay there. Get up out of your environment and enjoy some fresh air, take a walk, stretch, do something spontaneous, put on some music whilst cleaning and shake off the thoughts of stress and worry.
Speak to that one person you trust to give you sound advice.
Don’t underestimate the importance of speaking about your problems to someone who can actually give you some good advice that you know will help you feel better. No man is an island and we shouldn’t suffer in silence when we’re going through hard times.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Accept that you’re allowed to feel this way. Not everything will go smoothly. We may hit a wall and that’s okay. What’s important is that we acknowledge where we are, and take action in moving forward at whatever pace that is. Don’t feel bad or apologise for taking a break. Your mental well-being comes first, always.
Do what needs to be done.
Unfortunately, life isn’t going to pause while we stress and dwell on the negatives. Try the Eisenhower Matrix exercise. Journal to externalise your thoughts so you’re not holding the worries in your head. Make a list and distinguish what is true, what is not true. Break up into chunks what you can do, delegate and let go of the things you can’t change. It’s important we don’t stay down for too long because things can get worse the longer we don’t do anything about it. Those deadlines will come, we will have pressure put on us, but we must learn to manage it in order to keep going.
I hope you can take something from these tips and know that you can still rise above the issues, be productive and come out on top.
Do you have any other ways of dealing with stress? If so let me know! I am starting a series on mental well-being and would really like to collaborate with experts and like-minded people on the same journey who have experience and can offer advice for improving our mental well-being. Please get in touch with me here.