Life is busy, stressful, and overwhelming sometimes! Forme girls know that first hand—we are trying to balance careers, relationships, healthy living, and look fabulous while doing it.
We’ve all been there when you think to yourself: “I cannot handle one more thing in my life right now. If someone even looks at me wrong, I’m going to burst into tears.” Remember, we are all human and it’s okay to give yourself a break from the incessant pressure of life. Here are 5 of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed: 1. Exercise—not just for your body, it is extremely helpful for your mind, too! Research supports that physical activity can help improve your mood when you’re already feeling down or overwhelmed and it can help prevent you from feeling anxious and stressed. In general, people who are more physically active are less likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. So the next time you feel like your life is getting a little out of control, go work out—it will help! 2. Mindfulness—This buzzword has been popping up all over mainstream culture recently, but is actually a longstanding practice dating back thousands of years, rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism. The goal of mindfulness is to bring your awareness to the present moment and away from worry about the future or ruminative thoughts about the past. Think about the last time you were super stressed, it probably wasn’t just because of something in that moment—you were probably also worried about upcoming deadlines or an important event. The point of mindfulness is to take each moment at a time in order to live a more fulfilling life. The practice of mindfulness has been shown to be such an effective tool for mental health that it is incorporated into many therapies today.
3. Social support—when you’re feeling especially stressed, reach out to those who care about you! Studies consistently show that strong social support networks are protective against many mental health problems. Be careful not to “co-ruminate” though–we’re all guilty of getting together with girl friends and complaining about a certain job/boss/co-worker. While it may feel good in the moment to feel like you’re not alone in your feelings about something, this can actually lead to feeling worse and more burnt out in the long run. Try to keep conversations with your friends and family about your feelings and don’t waste time on people who bring you down! 4. Sleep—The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adult women get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. I hear you: “How am I supposed to fit that into my already crazy schedule?!” Well the idea is that if you’re more well rested you will work more efficiently throughout the day and it will probably take you less time to get things done. Also, it’s important to make sure the sleep you get is restful by sleeping in a dark, quiet and slightly cool room (60-68°F). And the least popular, but very important sleep hygiene recommendation is to limit “screen-time” 30 minutes before you try to go to sleep. This means not checking your phone, computer or watching TV. The light emitted from these devices interferes with your body’s circadian rhythm (the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle that can be influenced by light).
5. Cut back on the wine…. don’t drink to feel better, drink to feel EVEN better. Alcohol acts as a depressant on the body and the brain. This means that if you are feeling sad, down, and overwhelmed, the wine you drink is only going to amplify that feeling. Try swapping out the glass of wine for a cup of tea. Green tea has great benefits for the mind and body!
Susanna has a Masters degree in Psychology from Georgia State and is currently in school for a PhD in Clinical Psychology.
Sources: Chernomas, W. M. (2014). Social Support and Mental Health. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society. Hiles, S. A., Lamers, F., Milaneschi, Y., & Penninx, B. W. J. H. (2017). Sit, step, sweat: longitudinal associations between physical activity patterns, anxiety and depression. Psychological Medicine, 1-12. Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G., Masse, M., Therien, P., Bouchard, V., … & Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Mindfulness-based therapy: a comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical psychology review, 33(6), 763-771. Mammen, G., & Faulkner, G. (2013). Physical activity and the prevention of depression: a systematic review of prospective studies. American journal of preventive medicine, 45(5), 649-657. Stone, L. B., Hankin, B. L., Gibb, B. E., & Abela, J. R. (2011). Co-rumination predicts the onset of depressive disorders during adolescence. Journal of abnormal psychology, 120(3), 752.