Overwhelmed? 8 Ways to Cope with Stress, and Feel Better

Have you ever felt so stressed that you developed an eye twitch?

Last spring, I was incredibly overwhelmed: I was finishing my last full-time semester as a college student, was involved in multiple plays, and I was planning a wedding. I was exhausted, and I had an eye twitch to show it.

I had spent the last several years in a constant state of stress as I balanced academics, theatre, and various other responsibilities. During that time it was so hard to imagine I would ever be on the other side of all the hard things I had to accomplish! I struggled with not only over-committing to too many activities, but also adjusting to all the changes as I transitioned from college student to college graduate and fiancée to wife simultaneously.

Definition of Overwhelm:

  • bury or drown under a huge mass.
  • defeat completely

Looking back on it now I realized I was dealing with two very different types of overwhelming events: first,  I was struggling with the stress that was a direct result of committing to too many activities, and secondly I was adjusting to major life events.

If you are overwhelmed because you have said yes to too many things I really encourage you to start saying no. Begin culling your schedule. Give yourself space to breathe.

However, if you are overwhelmed because of the death of a major life transition such as a move, a death, or a marriage  then you are struggling with an entirely different type of overwhelmed: both types of stress can make life utterly miserable for you as well as those around you.

No matter where you are today I want you to be able to take a breath. Here are ways that I learned to cope with stress when I felt like the water was getting too far above my head.

1. Delete social media apps from your phone:

Just recently I removed every social media app from my phone except for Instagram. As a blogger, I had gotten into the habit of always being available via my phone, and that had drained me immeasurably. I realized that when I managed my social media accounts solely through my laptop that I was a lot more intentional, and a lot less overwhelmed. Getting rid of those apps gave me a clearer mind, and a calmer spirit.

2. Delegate something:

Think of one thing you can ask someone else to do for you. Could your friend pick up your kids? Would your husband call the insurance company for you? Or maybe your mom help you pack? Part of feeling less overwhelmed is having the courage to ask someone else for help. Ask them. Then the next time they need help you would be there for them.

3.Throw a meal into the slow cooker:

When I have something in the crock-pot simmering all day I feel so much better about life. Coming home to a meal ready to go, and a home that smells heavenly is often the best gift you can give yourself. It is so easy to throw in some ribs with a barbecue sauce and potatoes, or some chicken breast with tomatoes to make tacos. It takes less than ten minutes, but it makes home feel homey.

4. Finish something. Anything.:

As humans we are wired to feel good when we accomplish a task. What is one thing you have been putting off that you can get done in ten minutes? Set a timer, and go do it! Yesterday I got the absolute ickiest thing on my to-do list done, and while it was so hard to push myself to do it, it felt so good to finish it.

5. Make a decision:

I tend to put off big decisions, worry about them, and wait until the last possible moment. Putting off the inevitable tends to make me stress out. It is better to think about it, talk about, weigh all your options then just make the decision and be done with it. Let go of that weight.

6. Kiss your husband or hug a friend:

Studies have proven that physical touch relieves stress. Just sayin’.

7. Do something kind for someone else:

Do you know a single mom who is struggling? Or maybe a friend who has had some bad news recently? Send them a gift card or just a sweet note to let them know you are thinking of them. Or pay for someone’s coffee next time you are in the drive thru.

8. Eat some blueberries:

There are actually a handful of foods that help us combat stress. According to Dr. Mercola some of those foods include blueberries, fermented foods, turkey breast, avocados, and dark chocolate!

What about you? What are your tips for handling stress?

Comments

    • Isn’t that wonderful to hear? It just makes blueberries even better! They are one of my favorite berries as well. My Mom even figured out how to grow them in Nebraska (which is rare) so we grew up with fresh blueberries!

  1. Hi Bethany! I love this post! Such great advice. I’d have to say #1 is probably the best thing all of us could do, but it’s also the hardest one! I find myself wondering how much time I would have to do other things if I didn’t spend so much time on social media! 🙂 Thanks for sharing such great ideas.

    • Thanks for reading, Kimberly! It can be so hard to give up that reliance on social media, but it really does free up your mind. We live in such a technology-saturated world that even one small change can make a big differece!

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