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How to care for yourself when you feel stressed or overwhelmed

We all have stress, and it isn’t all bad, sometimes it serves a helpful purpose like keeping us alert or motivated to get things done.

A good first step in managing your stress is to figure out what’s causing it for you and see what you have control over. There are also some behaviors, thoughts and feelings that cause stress for you and make you feel overwhelmed that you can work on. We can’t blame our external circumstances for all our stress overwhelm and burnout, we have to look for ways where we can take responsibility to make it better and take care of ourselves within the stress of our life.

There are short-term and long-term ways to help yourself cope. Look for the triggers to your stress so you can start to put these coping skills into action.

Here are my top choices to use in the moment:

1) Breathe- take a few long slow deep breaths

2) Have a drink of water

3) Chew gum

4) Have a piece of chocolate

5) Stand up and stretch

6) Visualize a place of calm

A few others ones that can help over time:

1) Make it a priority to see people who support you

2) Take small breaks every hour; the largest study ever done on productivity shows that people who accomplish the most take an hourly break even if they feel they don’t need it. Just a quick re- charge so you don’t crash later in the day.

3) Focus on the small positives in your life and list them out loud to yourself intentionally

4) Compliment others or do something nice for someone. It's a great way to feel better about life

5) Clear the clutter on your desk or workspace

6) Write down or mentally say 5 things that went right today

When we get in a stressed state it's easy to fall into the trap that everything is awful. This can lead to self-deprecating thoughts and it’s a big spiral of more stress. Slow down, show yourself some compassion and intentionally practice stress reduction exercises DAILY. Life will have seasons of stress that ebb and flow and we have to learn to adapt to our external circumstances while make supporting ourselves priority.


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