Taking care of yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed

I want to give you an excerpt from my book, Courage Road: Your Guide Through Grief to Hope. It’s written as a guidebook through the grief journey. I’ll take you through the various terrains of grief common to many, such as Torrential Rain representing Sorrow, or Tornado representing feeling loss of Control. Throughout the guide are Traveler’s Tips and Traveler’s Tales. Along the Road, I give tools to put in your backpack that are essential to healing. My hope is for this book to be practical, relatable, and, dare I say, enjoyable if a book on grief can be that.

QUICKSAND / Overwhelm

There is too much to deal with. Things feel beyond my ability to cope. Even the smallest things feel like too much to do. I want to run away. I want to be rescued. I want my life back the way it was. It feels like there is no relief, I have no more room in my pain bucket. I feel like I’m drowning.

The best way to deal with being overwhelmed is to take care of yourself. This sounds too simple, but just consider the consequences if you do not take care of yourself. Your system will not be able to do the healing and you will not be able to function at a higher level in order to make all those decisions that you need to make. So, this means getting adequate sleep, feeding yourself properly (comfort food if necessary but not to excess), and staying hydrated to offset the loss of those tears you have shed. All of this is essential for your brain to work properly. If your brain does not work properly, then you cannot think clearly about your next step, let alone the bigger decisions that are pressing down on you.

In addition, breaking down your To Do List, or decisions, into realistic and manageable steps will help control the overwhelmed feeling. Learn to ask for help in specific ways. All those people who vaguely said to call them if you needed help, do it. Put them to the test. You will find that most friends truly want to help but they do not know how. If you give them a task, even if it is putting out the trashcans to the curb, they may feel privileged to help you. This will stop the feeling that you are sinking further and further into the quicksand with only your head above the ground.

Practice the Buffet Approach to healing. This means that you are going to try a little of this, a little of that.

All the tools in your backpack need to be practiced. In this way, you will be building up your healing muscle. So, for overwhelm, you could write down three top things on your mind today and accomplish one. You may need to ask for help to get you started. Then drink lots of water and feed yourself a nourishing meal so your brain can function. Then—and this is critical to rewiring your brain—reflect on your accomplishments. Look at what you did instead of what you didn’t do. For some, even getting out of bed is a victory. These seemingly small accomplishments often snowball momentum.

Posted on June 21, 2017 .