101 Essential Tips for when you are overwhelmed
Perhaps you’ve had this feeling when everything seems like it’s too much. Sometimes there are days, weeks, months and even years when getting through the day, doing your job or getting out of bed feels unbearable for no particular reason. It might be due to anxiety, depression or another mental illness. It might be due to a physical or mental distress. It might be because you broke up with the love of your life. It might be because you are in grief. It might be for no vivid reason as well – you are feeling bad and that’s it. Whatever it is, I want to tell you that it’s alright to be going through difficult times. It doesn’t make you a bad or less lovable person. It simply means that you are a human being with all the painful and complicated experiences. Below I suggest 101 things you can do to take care of yourself if everything just seems like too much.
1. If you feel like crying, do it. Do not try to hold tears, cry freely and take as much time as you need.
2. Talk to a person you trust and try to describe how you feel.
3. Take a day off work and devote it to yourself.
4. Refuse to do any extra tasks that rob you of your self-care time.
5. Make an appointment with your therapist.
6. Do not expect too much from yourself and others. Know that change will come slowly.
7. Choose a book that excites you and hop into bed with fresh sheets early.
8. Watch a comforting or uplifting movie or a TV show.
9. Reread a book that you loved as a child.
10. Make a social media post asking for some more love and appreciation from your friends. Simply read what they will say.
11. Visit a gallery or browse some beautiful pieces of art and enjoy.
12. Watch the Ellen show on YouTube and listen to the message Ellen DeGeneres translates to the public.
13. Browse through faith-in-humanity-restoring lists on Buzzfeed.
14. Tell others that you need help – it can be your mom, partner, boss, therapist, friend or anyone else.
15. Wrap yourself in a cosy blanket and sip a cup of hot chocolate or tea.
16. Notice your breath. Count to four as you breathe in and to six when breathing out.
17. Drink water.
18. Don’t forget to eat something healthy and nourishing.
19. Get enough sleep. Have you slept for 7-9 hours today?
20. Take a nice long shower, dry your hair and put on some clothes that makes you feel good.
21. Step outside and spend some time enjoying the sun.
22. Make gentle moves with your body in any way that feels nice and natural. Do it for half an hour or start with ten minutes if it’s too long.
23. Read stories of people who overcame bad times (J.K. Rowling story is great).
24. Visit a group meeting to get support – it can be a church, a hospital, a school or any other organization.
25. If you think you might have a mental illness, visit your psychiatrist or doctor – professional help will be the best in this case.
26. Light a candle with a nice scent and take a warm bath.
27. Read some inspirational quotes.
28. Cuddle! You can cuddle you partner, your pillow or a friend’s dog.
29. Letters or postcards from your loved ones will remind you of good times.
30. Do something manually – cook, sew, paint.
31. Get your body tired! Choose an activity you like the most – running, exercising, doing yoga, swimming.
32. Get a journal or a sheet of paper and write everything that comes to mind freely. Don’t mind the grammar.
33. Make a plan for when you are overwhelmed. Make a list of what you can do in this situation. Every step should be small and manageable.
34. Remind yourself that you don’t have to live your life all at once. You only need to get through five minutes. And then another five. And so on.
35. Sit on a chair with a straight back and meditate.
36. In your journal, make a list of twenty things why you will be alright.
37. Make a list of twenty things you’ve already overcome or accomplished.
38. Make a list of twenty things why you are worthy and good.
39. Make a list of twenty things that make your life beautiful.
40. Try aromatherapy – use your favourite essential oil in a diffuser or simply apply it on your skin diffused in a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil.
41. If you feel that in person conversations are tough for you, text or voice message your friends asking for support. Let them check in with you weekly.
42. Lay down on the ground and let it hold you. Now you don’t have to hold everything on your own.
43. Trying tidying up a little. It can calm your mind.
44. Ask yourself what you next priority is. Do it. Then ask yourself that question again.
45. Read poetry. Rumi, Hafiz, Mary Oliver are all brilliant.
46. Have a digital detox. Delete your social media accounts or simply delete the apps for a while if they seem triggering.
47. Alternatively, get on tech. If you feel isolated, interacting with people via social networks will feel good.
48. Go to a coffee shop, a park or a museum and soak up the atmosphere of people around you. You don’t have to engage if you don’t want to.
49. Alternatively, get back home and spend some alone time if you don’t feel like being around people.
50. Talk to your family and friends and ask them to remind you that everything will be alright and what you are going through is temporarily.
51. Decorate your room with some Christmas lights – get yourself in the mood of joy and magic.
52. Spend money on yourself. Treat yourself to make your daily routine seem like a celebration – order a taxi instead of riding a bus, get yourself some flowers, buy yourself a nice lunch instead of packing it with you.
53. Create something beautiful with paint or crayons. You can even paint a rock!
54. Walk around your neighbourhood and observe nice houses and gardens. Notice how different are all the designs.
55. Volunteer at a local animal rescue, play with animals.
56. Look at pictures of your loved ones. Use them as wallpaper for your phone or laptop.
57. Remember the music that you enjoyed in your happier days. Make a playlist and listen to it.
58. Read a book on spirituality.
59. Release your energy with a scream or pounding a pillow.
60. Eat you comfort foods.
61. Watch old Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood videos online.
62. Sit in a dark room and lower your gaze a little or stare into the space. Do absolutely nothing.
63. Think of something that will make you think of a progress that you are making. It can be anything from answering emails to doing the dishes.
64. Visit a church or any other community devoted to spirituality.
65. Have a dream? Take some time to really think about it.
66. Watch Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response videos to help you calm down and fall asleep at night.
67. For soothing your mind and relaxing, listen to some nature sounds, Amazon shamans or Tibetan monks singing
68. Buy a colouring book for adults and enjoy colouring.
69. Remember a hobby you used to enjoy. Engage yourself in it again and see how well you can still do it and whether it can still bring you joy.
70. Go to the ocean, sea, river, pond – any water you can find in your area.
71. Go to the mountains. Feel how powerful and strong they are and safe you feel around them.
72. Go to the forest. Notice the trees, birds singing.
73. Stop reading your self-help book and pick up a good fiction.
74. Don’t forget that your only task right now is to take one step after another.
75. Notice and express all of your feelings. Don’t be ashamed or afraid of any of them.
76. If you feel the urge to cry and release tension, listen to some sad music or watch a sad movie.
77. Remember the music they played at dances in high school? Turn it on and dance wildly!
78. Do some gardening. If you have a garden, take care of it. If you have an indoor plant, tend to it. If you don’t get yourself one or go to a nearest place where you can smell beautiful flowers.
79. Want to spend the whole day at home in your pyjamas watching Netflix? Do it!
80. Turn on a comedy or a funny podcast and laugh.
81. Find your inspiration by googling for stories of people who overcame the same problem that you are facing right now.
82. Hire a professional to help you with your issues. It can be a lawyer, a therapist or anyone else who is an expert in their field.
83. Be educated in your problem. Read about it and learn what you can expect next.
84. If you feel like there is chaos all around, establish a routine. It will help you feel calm and grounded.
85. Make your home or bedroom as cosy as possible – bring in some blankets, pillows, pictures, plants – whatever makes you feel good.
86. Wake up before the sun and enjoy the sunrise.
87. Watch the sunset outside.
88. Create a list of things you can do to feel better that would engage all five of your senses.
89. Create and follow a ritual every morning to start you day right.
90. Make yourself an evening ritual as well and follow it.
91. Join a support group.
92. Become a volunteer at a local hospital or shelter – see how you can be helpful for others who are struggling.
93. Join your friend or a family member when they have to go somewhere or do something. Even if they are just running errands, ask to accompany them.
94. Go for a walk with your dog. Don’t have one? Borrow your friend’s dog.
95. Challenge your negative thinking.
96. Practice grounding, relaxation techniques.
97. Be spontaneous. Walk or drive a different way to work. Order something new off the menu. Listen to a Spotify playlist of new songs.
98. Work with your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist to develop a physical exercise plan and diet plan that will be supportive to whatever you’re facing right now.
99. Pray. Meditate. Write a letter to God/The Universe/Source/Your Higher Self, whatever you believe in.
100. As much as you can, please try and trust the process.
101. Finally, please remember, what you’re going through right now is temporary. It may not feel like that from inside the tough time you’re in, but this too shall pass and you will feel different again someday.