Self help

Perhaps when you were young, someone taught you that when you feel overwhelmed, step away and give yourself a moment.

Maybe you grew up practising that and maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t you might find that as an adult when you feel overwhelmed you don’t quite know how to handle it.

The feeling might end up growing and growing to the point where it’s now unbearable. Then all of a sudden you remember that in the past it helped to give yourself a moment.

Even though you know it could help, you don’t do it straight away because you’re almost skeptical. It might not work, you might end up feeling exactly the same.

But then you do it, you step away, get some fresh air and take a few deep breaths.

It helps.

You feel calmer afterwards.

In that moment you remember that (even though you forget time and time again), you’re capable of supporting yourself in difficult or uncomfortable situations.

Don’t just talk to anyone

I think I’ve used the phrase talking helps at least half a dozen times on this site (turns out I was exactly spot on as shown below).

Talking helps

Making a breakthrough

Worth seeking advice from

Managing stress and deadlines

When you don’t have anyone to talk to

Unexpected but needed

I say it because that’s what has works for me and like everything I share here it comes from my experience. If this was around 3 or 4 years ago things would have been very different. Back then, I wasn’t talking about the challenges that I was facing or things that I struggled with because I didn’t know how.

Plus, at the time I didn’t think that talking would help.

But I also think a lot of people forget to mention that it’s more than just talking to anyone.

For example, the person that is feeling suicidal might not to find much solace in talking to their friends. Their friends aren’t equipped or trained to help in that kind of situation.  Friends not knowing what to say doesn’t make them bad people.

Instead they might find it more helpful to talk to a professional, someone with training or someone who can relate to their experience.

Further to that, think about you want the outcome from talking to be. Of course there’s no magic fix but if you just want someone to listen and leave you feeling hopeful, talking to the person that will just dismiss your issues probably isn’t the best idea.

And if you don’t have anyone to talk to, that’s okay too.

If you live in the UK or Ireland call Samaritans on 116 123.

For anyone else the country you live in probably has a helpline you can call too.

The easiest way to get things done

Is to start.

Not soon, not later and not tomorrow but now.

So often we find ourselves overwhelmed by our ever-growing to-do lists that we end up thinking more planning, more thinking and more organising is the way forward. But at the crux of it all without taking action, nothing is going to change.

You’ll be surprised at how at ease you feel once you start getting things done and actually commit to it for a chunk of time wholeheartedly instead of half-heatedly. Not long after starting you’ll find yourself getting into the flow of it and the anxious feels will begin to simmer.

Often it is merely the thought of doing the work that is causing you to feel overwhelmed not actually doing it.

Do you really want to do it?

When someone comes to you, asking some thing of you, how do you respond?

Do you simply think about whether or not you want to do it?

Do you worry about how the other person will react if you say no?

So often we grow up inadvertently being taught to people please and unless we later unlearn it, it stays with us.

Then you find yourself saying yes to something you don’t want to do because you’re worried about hurting someones feelings, to the point where you place that above doing what feels right for you.

If that’s something you can relate to, you might want to start learning to say no.

It gets easier over time, practice makes perfect after all.

Don’t focus on the fear

It is so easy to get carried away.

There are lots of things that you could be afraid of but it doesn’t mean you should be.

I find that the more you focus on fear the more you amplify it until all of a sudden you’re having heart palpitations over something that would be better off as a passing thought.

There’s so much more to you and your life than the things you’re afraid of.

And sure it’s easier said than done but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try.

Go with the flow

It’s hard to balance tense and triggered aspects of self with the softer more malleable bits.

My anxiety makes me tense and rigid but it also deeply influences the way I write. But my softer more malleable side deeply influences my writing too.

It is often through writing that my anxieties subside and I am able to go with the flow, follow the words and not worry about the order or things making perfect sense but to instead stay inflow allowing the words to pour.

To be able to follow the flow no matter how brief or specific is something worth cherishing. When you’re tense and rigid or feeling overwhelmed by life it seems impossible that there’s any other way, but there is.

The flow is always there whether you choose that path or not. You can go back to it at any point because the moment you realise that what you’re doing isn’t working or should be different is the moment the solution becomes available.

An act of spontaneity (don’t overthink it)

Around 8 months ago I went to see one of my favourite singers in a city a couple hours north from where I live.

I booked my ticket 6 months in advance because I didn’t want to miss out and knew the opportunity may not come around for a while.

But I also didn’t have anyone to go with which was caused some initial hesitation.

In the end, I went alone had a great time and bought a t-shirt from the merch stand.

Looking back it really was an act of spontaneity (albeit a pretty small-scale act one all the same).

I’m glad I didn’t get stuck overthinking, I’m glad I didn’t miss out and I’m glad I went alone.

There’s often a lot of judgement (both internally and externally) when it comes to doing things alone but when the alternative is missing out, ask yourself ‘Are those voices worth listening to?’.