When Feeling Overwhelmed, Here’s How I Reduce Stress
I have felt pretty overwhelmed lately.
After months of sheltering at home and being relatively inactive, I’ve suddenly taken on a ton of new responsibilities. I’m trying to get into the habit of having a busy schedule again and managing my time more effectively, but sometimes I feel like I’m barely staying afloat. I’m stressed and worried about burning out or disappointing those who are counting on me.
I shared my concerns with those around me, and they assured me that things would improve over time. As I become more familiar with my new routine, things will get easier. People tell me not to worry too much, because it takes time to adjust, and no one expects me to be the best — I just have to try. I need to cut myself some slack and take it one day at a time.
When I have time to myself, I try to relax and unwind. Normally, I’d scroll through social media, hoping to find something that makes me laugh or warms my heart. But it has become increasingly difficult to do so.
In the past few weeks, social media has highlighted a range of injustices happening all over the world, such as police brutality and bad governance in Nigeria, and the atrocities in Congo. All of this and more are taking place in the middle of a pandemic, which is a lot to process.
Exposure isn’t the problem — being aware of world issues is the least I can do. Just because certain tragedies aren’t my reality doesn’t mean I should turn a blind eye and pretend they don’t exist.
But exposure to global injustices makes my heart feel heavy and increases my stress.
It is essential for me to find ways to de-stress, as too much stress can trigger a sickle cell crisis. To help me unwind, I need to focus on things I wouldn’t typically do. To accomplish this, I have tried the following:
Finding practical ways to help those in need
I initially thought I couldn’t do much to help those I’ve seen struggling, because I’m not in the countries where some of these tragic events are happening. But this is not the case. I can donate to charities that have a presence on the ground there to support the betterment of the people. Spreading awareness also is essential, as getting more people behind a movement draws the attention of those in power and encourages positive change.
Limiting time online
Once I felt I had done all I could to help, I started limiting my time online. Some of the pictures I had seen earlier were extremely graphic and sensitive and did nothing to improve my mood. Better to log off for a while.
After intentionally reducing my time online, I realized how much I rely on social media for entertainment. So, I sought alternative sources. I had a canvas, paint, and paintbrushes from a paint party I attended recently, and I thought painting might be a great way to spend my time. It turned out to be very relaxing and helped me unwind and take my mind off things.
When you feel overwhelmed, how does it affect you? What steps do you take to change course? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.