Many of us are forced to live such fast paced lives at the moment that we constantly feel overwhelmed and stressed. A certain amount of stress is completely normal, however it is important to recognise the signs of things getting too much and the steps that you can personally take to fix them. Signs of being overwhelmed can include insomnia, feeling sad, guilt and IBS type symptoms.
- Anxiety related insomnia– The first thing I want you to do today is to invest in two journals. One will be used for the purpose of ‘brain dumping’ which is when you transfer of accessible knowledge about a particular subject from your brain to another medium. About an hour before bed I want you to write down everything that has caused you stress that day and any worries or anxieties which you may have for the next day. Next spend around 10 minutes on a to-do-list for the next day and split them into the following categories- Things I need to do- Things I would like to do- Things I could do if I want to. I always keep the lists small and start with the most important/boring task first, so that once that is completed you know that the rest of your tasks will be manageable and hopefully more fun. Writing these down before bed will help reduce anxiety and any fears for the next day, and aid a more restful sleep.
- Practice gratitude- The second journal will be for gratitude. I do this before bed and it only takes around 5 minutes. Reflect on your day and write down things which you are grateful for. Maybe you caught the early train to work, which meant that you had time to have a coffee or maybe your child came home from school with a handmade card or gift.
- Digital Detox- Social media has made it possible for us to always be contactable and when I talk to people a vast majority state social media as the reason for their anxiety. Try to have a digital detox in the evenings, one day over the weekend or one day a week. Turn off notifications and call a friend instead of contacting them over social media.
- Say no and don’t feel guilty for it- This one is very common. I wouldn’t say that I am a people pleaser however I do find myself giving reasons when saying no to an invitation or when someone requires something from me. We all do this because we don’t want to seem rude or unhelpful. Refrain from apologising and simply say “Thank you but I can’t make it” or “Thank you for asking, I can’t come but lets catch up sometime soon.” Practice doing this so that it becomes second nature.
- Your eating habits change- You may find yourself eating less or binge eating. Try to schedule in regular breaks for food, or arrange to meet a friend for lunch. Reduce caffeine and keep hydrated. Increase your serotonin levels by eating a diet rich in nutrients and reduce processed foods.
- Mood Changes- Feeling irritable, moody or emotional is completely normal. One thing which helps me is take some to move. If you can get to a gym then great, if not getting some outdoor time for 30 minutes works as well. I also find plants to be a mood booster so maybe treat yourself to a houseplant or visit a garden centre.
- Negative thoughts- Reach out to a friend, partner or family member and schedule in an appointment with your GP who will be able to refer you to someone who can offer help and support.
- Good resources to read such as Breathe magazine.
I hope these steps will help you doing forward.