It’s February and are you feeling overwhelmed already for 2024? I know that often I feel overwhelmed, especially with all the changes that are happening with our center because of the expansion, all good changes, but still, it can be overwhelming. But that’s okay because I’ve found some great ways to cope and help with that feeling. Here is a great article that talks about being overwhelmed and different ways to cope with it.
According to Sanjana Gupta from verywellmind.com, here are some ways you can tell if you are being overwhelmed: “a person is flooded by thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations—often related to a specific problem—that can be difficult for them to manage, says Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University. 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. However, being chronically stressed out and constantly feeling overwhelmed can take a toll on your mental and physical health.”
The article continues with “some of the signs that you’re 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 avoiding them altogether.
• Disproportionate reactions: You may overreact to minor stressors. For instance, you may panic if you’re unable to find your keys.
• Withdrawal: You may find yourself withdrawing from friends and family. You may feel like they can’t help you or understand what you’re 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.
• 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
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.”
You may be asking yourself; how do I cope with this or what can I do?
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 rumination. 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’re 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 don’t necessarily hold true. You can try writing them down in a journal or voicing them out loud to someone you trust.
Seek Support — Reach out to your social support network. Your friends, family, and colleagues may be able to offer advice, support, and a different 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 very helpful when you’re 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.
See a Therapist — Therapy 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. Therapy 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.”
Sanjana from Verywellmind.com found exceptional information on this topic and presented it well.
Here at the Preble County Council on Aging we like to be able to help our seniors, so if you are feeling overwhelmed, know that you aren’t alone, but also that there is help there. Come on in and get your mind off of things or talk it out with someone here. We have plenty of activities of all varieties to help with that overwhelming feeling. Also remember that when you don’t know what you don’t know and you don’t know where to go either, come here to the Preble County Council on Aging, even if we aren’t able to help, we can help you find someone that can help.
(All information can be found at https://www.verywellmind.com/feeling-overwhelmed-symptoms-causes-and-coping-5425548 by Sanhana Grupta, a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.)
We’d love to see you come on down to the Senior Center for some fun, food, and socialization. It’s a wonderful place where you can connect with someone or get involved with something. Don’t forget that you can become a member for just $10 a year and you will stay up to date with all of our events and happenings. Membership is valid from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. We are looking forward to seeing you visit us soon!
Preble County Council on Aging is located at 800 East St. Clair Street, Eaton. For more information, call 937- 456-4947 or 1-800-238-5146 or email [email protected].