When we have a lot on the go and we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it is easy for our wellbeing to slip. We easily fall into this cycle of feeling run down and exhausted all the time, we can become super irritable and intolerant to any changes, and simply not feel like ourselves. We can get so focused on doing, doing, doing and a slave to our routine that we have a hard time finding enjoyment in our life.
No one wants to feel this way but without being intentional about how you live, it can happen quite easily in busy points of our life. During these times where we are taking on more than usual, our wellbeing does not need to suffer. There are things that you can do to protect our energy, encourage recovery and stay motivated during those fuller times of our life.
Try out these tips to help you better survive the busy seasons of your life:
Envision already having completed that hard thing. Imagine the overwhelming thing is already done, think about how you will be feeling physically, mentally and emotionally and think about what you will be doing instead. The thing about visualizing this is our brain can’t tell the difference between us actually doing something and thinking about it. Simply thinking about achieving this overwhelming thing is going to release a hit of feel good neurotransmitters, giving you a little extra motivation and clarity to actually take it on. Plus a little manifestation never hurts.
Prioritize self care. Often when we are feeling stressed and overwhelmed the first things that go are our self care practise. We see them as a luxury not a necessity, so when we are tight for time, we take them out of our schedule to free up some more time. The thing is when you feel like you don’t have time to take care of yourself, that is when it is most important to prioritize it. Although practising self care takes time away from actually getting things done, when you take the time to practise self care, whatever that looks like for you, the remaining time you have is so much more productive. This is because the proper self care practise will leave you feeling revitalized, motivated and ready to take on what’s next.
Prioritize sleep. When we are tight on time, we often think “ohh, I’ll just go to bed a little later so I can get this done..” or “I’ll get up extra early tomorrow so I have time to…”. When we rob ourselves of these previous Z’s you really feel it. You inevitably feel more exhausted and simply don’t function as well. Similar to self care, when you sacrifice sleep, everything is that much harder. The extra time you found from sleeping less doesn’t make a difference because the rest of the time you are dealing with your tired, foggy-headed self.
Prioritize nutrition. When we are stressed, our eating can quite often get out of whack, for a multitude of reasons. First off, when our body is in a stress response, it turns off digestion as a survival tactic, so those usual hunger cues aren’t there. Have you ever had those days where you have been so busy getting things done that you realize you went all day without eating and haven’t even felt hungry? It is common. The other factor that can come into play is emotional eating or stress eating. Eating what your body is craving in that moment is not the worst thing as long as you are mindful of it and aware that you are using it as a coping mechanism for difficult feelings. The thing is, when you combine not eating regularly and eating less nutrient dense foods when you do eat, you likely aren’t fuelling your body properly to take on all you are doing. There is a blog post with more details on how to best eat when dealing with stress, but here are a few helpful tips to keep your body fuelled:
Eat every 3-4 hours throughout the day.
Eat protein, fat and carbohydrates at every meal.
Be mindful of how much of you are relying on your favourite go-to “energy boosters” like caffeine and sugary sweets and your favourite comfort foods.
Protect your energy. It is always important to be mindful of the things that drain your energy, but is it especially important when you have a lot on the go and need to use your energy wisely. Be mindful of people, places, habits or situations that leave you feeling worn out physically, emotionally and mentally. If you are finding things that aren’t serving you, even for the time being, it’s time to set some healthy boundaries and communicate them in a kind manner. You will be amazed at how incredible and freeing it feels to create some space between you and these energy vampires.
Breathe. When you start to notice that feeling of overwhelm in your body, whether it be racing thoughts, tightness in your chest or an uneasiness in your gut, be aware of that feel and take a few calming breaths. There are a lot of great breathing techniques you can use, so find one that works best for you. Box breathing (breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for four seconds, repeat) works well to release some of the tension in your body and allow you to switch from the “fight or flight” mode to “rest and digest” mode in a few short moments.
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