I am, what they call, a catastrophic thinker, which basically means that things escalate in my head very quickly and before I know it I’m a crying mess on the floor. If there’s one thing I have learned in my short time as an adult it’s that being overwhelmed will achieve nothing, and that there are measures you can take to help yourself calm down and get some perspective. So here are my suggestions on what to do when it all gets a bit too much.
Take a step back.
Chances are one of the reasons you’re stressing is because you are so deeply entrenched in whatever is going on you can’t make head nor tail of it. Take a step back, examine the situation and reassess. Is it really as bad as you think? Probably not, but it’s only in distancing yourself slightly that you will be able to see this.
Work out the worst case scenario (and try to be okay about it).
This may seem like a strange suggestion but I find thinking about the worst case scenario really helps me when I’m feeling overwhelmed. If I can identify the absolute most terrible consequence of not achieving what I’m trying to do, or of things escalating even further, then suddenly what actually happens seems really okay and manageable. The worst case scenario rarely, if ever happens, and this way if everything goes wrong at least I have empowered myself to handle it. Plus the worst case scenario when said aloud usually sounds so ridiculous that I calm down right away.
Break things down into chunks
This is more for when you’re drowning in university or school work but it can be applicable in many situations. To-do lists can be a really helpful way to sort though everything you have to do, but don’t make it so large that it becomes more overwhelming! If the essay seems daunting, start writing an essay plan of anything that comes into your head. If you’re feeling a lot of emotion at once and can’t handle it, work out what is causing the individual issues. Little chunks are always easier to handle and you’ll be amazed at what you can get through once you start. Remember, any progress is still progress.
Writing a blog, working part-time, studying full time and still taking time to enjoy Paris is proving to be pretty hard to juggle. As much as I love blog writing I realised recently that sometimes my blog will have to take a back seat because when I am busy it can’t be my priority; it’s a hobby and everything else is either paid or a short-term thing that I need to focus on. Work out what your priorities are and what you can drop, but make sure to not sacrifice sleep or some leisure time – you’ll be more productive for it.
If having a good cry will make you feel better about it, do it. Crying releases stress hormones (apparently) and everyone knows a good blub can make us feel better. Sometimes I just need to cry a little and stamp my feet and I’m soon back on track and tackling the world.
These are by no means foolproof, but they certainly have helped me when I'm feeling like everything is on top of me. It's never a fun situation to be in, but these feelings will pass. Make sure you're really looking after yourself, and you'll be amazed at the progress you can make. Good luck!