A lot has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic has taken hold of our lifestyles. It has created a new normal for many of us. There has been a significant amount of change to our daily lives such as new social protocols, no self-care, increased drug and alcohol use, financial strain, labour shortages, online meetings and gatherings, restricted recreational activity, physical isolation, and potentially concerns about health if you have experienced the virus first hand or taken of care of someone who has.
The removal of aspects of our life that we have become accustom to can put extra strain and drain on our batteries and result in an increase in personal and societal tensions.
With all of this change we can start to feel overwhelmed. This can happen when we have too many responsibilities with not enough time to do everything. Small things can become earth-shattering and feel impossible to do and have the feeling as though we are in a pressure cooker.
If others are not aware and you don’t communicate where you are at, it can have significant impacts on our life such as mental health issues, decrease engagement and productivity, addiction risks, increase suicide, loss of purpose, mental distress, cause chronic disease, breakdown of relationships and an increase in anger levels.
Recognizing the signs that someone is feeling overwhelmed is important. What people do when they feel overwhelmed may include:
- Starting sentences with “I can’t…”
- They look scared. Scared of failing and the consequence for failing.
- Pushing people away or compartmentalize things.
- Start apologizing a lot because they feel as though they are letting people down.
A few micro skills for working with your thoughts and feelings of being overwhelmed:
- Remove one thing that you can do later, prioritize for another time or not do it at all.
- Normalize anxious feelings by letting them take their course.
- Stop multi-tasking. It is not doing two things at once, but rather switching your focus from one thing to the next. You don’t have total focus on one thing when you are multitasking.
- Forget perfection. Getting it done to the point it meets the needs is sometimes good enough rather than over engineering something. It is good you care but at what cost is it affecting your mental health.
- Delegate when you can.
- Set Boundaries. Say no when you can and give a reason for the “no.” You have the right to push back.
- Challenge assumptions. Don’t assume that things need to be done but ask if it needs to be done.
- Ask for help!
- What is the area of your life that has you feeling overwhelmed right now?
- What is one thing you can do to address your concerns?
Dr Bill Howatt from Howatt HR compares our mental health to our physical health. He says you diet and exercise to prevent obesity, diabetes or heart issue. Why not take preventative measures to for your mind as well.