If you are living in America, chances are you feel overwhelmed from time to time. We place high demands on ourselves to succeed in work and in our home life. If you feel overwhelmed, here are some ideas to manage your stress:
Be here and now: Mindfulness is growing in value across our nation. By focusing on the present moment we are able to escape the demands and fears of the past and future. To do this, focus on simple things like the temperature of the air, the feeling of breathing, or the smile of a loved one. It may take a little practice, but being able to appreciate each present moment can make a huge difference.
Reframe the situation: Often when we feel overwhelmed, we feel trapped with tons of expectations and no way out. Maybe ask yourself why you choose to be in your situation. Did you take on a demanding job? Can you remember the thrill of the challenge? Do you have children or family? Remind yourself why you are taking on such a large labor of raising children for 18+ years. If you are able to reframe your stress as an accepted challenge, you will remember an important part of life, that through hard work we are able to find great joy.
Ask for help: Community is an important resource. In America we place so much value on independence that we too easily forget the role of community. Building a network of reliable friends and family is hard work. This interdependence can be very rewarding for both parties as it provides an opportunity for someone to give back. It builds stronger relationships and deeper satisfaction in life, and yes, it helps to relieve stress.
Volunteer: I know this sounds counterintuitive, but taking time to get away from our own burdens to help another can be an enormous relief. Empathy and giving are known stress relievers. They allow us to take greater perspective, to understand the mutual struggles of others, and make it easier to ask for help when needed.
Feeling overwhelmed is no fun. Slowing down and working with yourself and your community can assist in managing the burden. Build a network of friends and establish a relationship with a counselor. This way, when the need arises, the community is there to assist.