Are you feeling overwhelmed? Time to lighten the load

Published 8:05 pm Thursday, September 13, 2012

The season is changing; cool breezes are replacing the oppressive heat and humidity, there are peeks of color on the beautiful foothills landscape and the sunsets are spectacular.
However, autumn can be a very stressful time of year. School routines have returned, vacations are over, the holiday season is on the horizon, businesses race to meet year-end goals, financial pressures intensify and daily demands can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, which can be a time in life when there seem to be far too many demands and never enough time.
Merriam-Webster defines “overwhelm” as “to cover over completely, submerge, overpower in thought or feeling, to upset or overthrow.”
The more tasks we have to do, the more difficult it becomes to complete one successfully. The stress resulting has negative effects on mind, body and spirit.
If we are continuously trying to keep up with demands without accomplishing anything, it may be time to take a break. While this may sound counterintuitive, the feeling of being submerged, overpowered or covered over completely requires our attention.
Anger, frustration, anxiety and depression may result from these feelings.
There are healthy ways to cope and transform “trying” into accomplishment.
The first step is to recognize that there is a problem and accept that it is necessary to take steps to get out of “overwhelmed” mode.
Then, stay in the moment, notice your surroundings; pause, move and breathe. Move your body, stay in the moment. Take deep intentional breaths and clear your mind.
When you feel calm, begin to consider the circumstances that led to the “overwhelmed” state. Organize, prioritize and eliminate. Let your logical mind take precedence over emotion.
Make a list of tasks, concerns, and issues at hand. Then, examine and prioritize each item on the list. Ask yourself a few questions:  Are you expecting too much from yourself? Can someone else handle some responsibilities? Are you saying “yes” to every request?  Is that necessary? Do you demand perfection from yourself? Are you critical of your efforts to be all things to all people?
Now you are ready to make a list of what requires immediate attention, what can wait and what can be eliminated all together.
First on the list is take care of yourself, nourish mind, body and spirit. Be present in the moment, notice the beauty surrounding us and be intentional in your efforts for a healthy life balance.
If life is feeling “overwhelming” and you are having difficulty coping, consider seeing one of the experienced therapists at Polk Wellness Center. Short-term, solution-focused therapy with a focus on development of healthy coping skills can give you invaluable tools in avoiding the “overwhelmed” state.
If you are in need of a family doctor, primary medical care is also available.
Wellness is a journey but you don’t have to go it alone. We are ready to partner with you on that journey.

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