Overwhelmed? 6 Things You Need To Do To Destress

Is your life stressful? Do you get overwhelmed with everything that’s going on around you? You don’t have to let anxiety get the best of you.

I’m like every one else. Sometimes, I get frustrated. I feel stress and get overwhelmed by life’s pressures. But I’ve found a way to limit the amount of pressure I deal with. Pay close attention to the first point on today’s list. 

1. Stop Trying To Change Other People

You can’t.

I could stop here, but I won’t.

I’ve found myself frustrated and stressed due to the actions of others. I think we all have. We mistakenly think the solution is to get other people to change. Forget it. People are who they are. I can’t make my daughter not be a tween girl and get her to act exactly how I wish she would act.

The only thing you’ll get from trying to change others is overwhelmed. You need to learn to emotionally detach yourself from the people who push your buttons. Remember, it’s their life, their choices, their thoughts. Your job is to control your own.  

2. Stop Trying To Control Things That You Can’t

This is similar to the first point. You can’t change certain types of situations. You can’t make traffic go faster. No one can make the rain go away. The logical solution is to accept these things and control your own response behavior. 

When you respond with frustration and anger, it only increases your level of stress and keeps you feeling overwhelmed. If you want to destress, you need to control your emotions.

3. Stop Doing More Than You Need To Do

I’m guilty as charged.

Sometimes, I get too many projects going. I push myself to complete things on perceived deadlines. If you try to take on too many responsibilities, you’re bound to become overloaded and burn out.

You can keep from being overwhelmed by controlling how many activities you choose to do. Take a critical look at your schedule and make some changes where you can. I limit my time in groups. I limit Annie’s activities. And I limit how much I volunteer. Why? Because it gives me more space to stay calm and destress.   

4. Start Getting More Exercise

I know I just said to do less, and that exercise is more. But if there’s one thing you should make sure to fit in your schedule, it’s exercise

I use the gym at work a couple times a week. The results are amazing. When I’m feeling nervous, anxious, or overwhelmed, I know it’s time to visit the gym. I can actually feel the tension leaving my body as I run on the treadmill, work the elliptical, or do a set of presses.

But you don’t have to go to the gym. A simple 10-miniute walk will go a long way in helping you to clear your head and relax. 

5. Start Making A Point To Breathe

When we’re stressed, we breathe more shallowly. We hyperventilate. That reduces the amount of oxygen in our bloodstream and induces the adrenaline response.

If your body thinks there is immediate danger, you’ll feel stress. That leads to being overwhelmed. Stop. Take a few moments to breathe deeply. This will slow your heart rate and calm your mind. 

6. Start Taking Purposeful Personal Retreats

As a single parent I get little reprieve. But recently I decided to change that. My daughter is supposed to spend two weekends a month with her mom. Often, either Annie or her mom end the weekend early. That means I become the responsible one by default. 

Starting last fall, I began planning weekend getaways for myself. I discovered that these alone times were just what I needed. I get time to relax and destress. The overwhelmed feeling goes away and I come home refreshed and relaxed. It also gives me opportunity to read, write, play music, and explore new places.

My daughter and her mom get more time together. That’s important too. It’s a win-win situation. 

If you need to destress, consider a personal retreat. It can do wonders.

Don’t Be Overwhelmed: Be Intentional

We all have choices to make. You can feel overwhelmed or you can choose behaviors and actions that help you to avoid frustration. Relax. Make intentional decisions to practice these 6 techniques that I’ve presented. I encourage you to start today.

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James Ewen
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