Most people I know who care about their mental health screen the information that comes into their minds. This may mean risking being labeled “uninformed” by people who saturate themselves in the latest upsetting news story.
But despite such preventative measures, it’s not possible to screen out all the trauma in life. Some of it will touch you no matter what. When a lot of touches you all at once, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed.
What does overwhelm look and feel like? It’s a little different for everyone. But there are several common symptoms: extreme fatigue, short temper, listlessness, lack of interest in usual hobbies or habits, inability to make simple decisions, a desire to cry for no particular reason, a continuous feeling of doom or dread, a negative outlook on the future, depression, etc.
When the normal stresses of life become overwhelm, this is an acute condition. It’s important not to ignore it or drown it out with food, alcohol, or any other crutch. Consider it an emergency that needs first aid.
The best first aid I have found is to opt out of as many things as you can for at least a few days. You may not be able to opt out of everything. But consider if you were hit by a car or were diagnosed with cancer, the people around you would have to step up and help. You would be expected to be in the hospital and resting.
Overwhelm isn’t visible or obvious most of the time, so you have to be your own advocate. Accept the fact that you need some self-care and insist on the help you need. If people get upset because you’re taking care of themselves, be firm. Tell them “I know you may not be able to tell, but I’m at my edge. Please help me so I can recover.” Anyone who truly loves you will come to your aid, even if they don’t completely understand. Anyone who doesn’t – well, you might want to question their place in your life.
Meditation, journaling, and walking are the practices that help me the most. The best advice and counsel actually comes from within. These first two practices allow you to get in touch with how you really feel about stuff. Walking allows you to move stuck energy through your body so it doesn’t keep cycling back up to your mind in the form of obsessive and repetitive thoughts that don’t help.
Overwhelm is usually the result of not feeling heard, not having time to reflect on your feelings, or not being able to process your fears about something. Once we take the time to get back in touch with who we are and how we feel, we can usually deal with stress much better. The solution to most problems are within the problem itself, but you need some distance and peace of mind in order to see it. Meditation and journaling give you the mental clarity and distance from the problem in order to formulate a solution that works for you.
Thank you, Spirit, for this message.
Thank you, dear reader, for being here.