Lessons from Yoga: What to Do When You're Feeling Overwhelmed
Posted on 12/12/2016 by Emma Cushing
It’s the holiday season again, and stress can easily grow alongside all the festivity and cheer. Things get super busy, many end-of-year loose ends need tying up, and large/multiple family events can quickly lead to sensory overload. It’s a recipe for letting your self-care regimen grind to a halt. Many people wind up overwhelmed during the holidays and start of the New Year. How can you prevent that from happening? Here’s a list of relatively quick and efficient decompression tips and tricks that you can fall back on this winter.
- Do some yoga! Some deep-stretch, deep-breath type poses can slow your jitters and help you feel less over-revved. Even just some meditation or breathing exercises can chill you out a bit if you don’t have time for a full set of poses.
- Make a list. If it looks daunting, try color-coding it and then highlight the most important chores. Take all calendar-oriented tasks (holidays, birthdays, appointments) and add them to your phone with reminders. Take all work tasks and put them in their own list. List items still look too daunting? Break each thing down into smaller and smaller steps until you feel like you can take one of them on.
- Turn your internet off, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, and wear earplugs or headphones or whatever else will give you some space from the stimulus around you for a while. Give yourself some space to reset.
- Drink lots of water and/or soothing decaf tea like chamomile. Hydration is tremendously important for all sorts of body regulation, mood included.
- Write yourself a letter of your frustrations, or call a friend and ask if they have a few minutes to just let you vent.
- Make 10 minutes to do something you love/that relaxes you – you’ll be infinitely more productive after you do.
- Change your scenery. Sometimes a crowded or messy location can also crowd and mess up your mind and focus. Or, being alone in your own head might be too much at the moment - find a café with some nice ambient music to keep you grounded.
- Google what is bugging you (e.g. “how do I focus better at work”) and see what you get. Take notes on what seems like it might work for you. But set yourself a timer, maybe for 15 minutes, and then turn the internet back off and put what you’ve learned to use.
- Alternatively, google motivational quotes, write down your favorite one on a sticky note, and put it someplace visible for the day/week/however long! The power of positive thinking is remarkable.
- Delegate. Most people are chronic micro-managers. In some cases, this really is necessary. In others, it truly isn’t. try to use your lists to very honestly pick out things that can be temporarily reassigned to other people while you get your feet back under you.
- Be in nature and/or move your body. Go to the gym, do some yoga in your living room, take a 10 minute walk outside. Do whatever you have access to - it will help.
- Animal therapy. ’Nough said.
- Color! There’s a reason kids love it so much. It is a soothing activity with just enough structure to be stressless and just enough creativity to ease and engage the mind.
- Take a moment to be grateful. Make a 5-item list of the things you’re grateful for today.
What chills you out in the winter holidays? Leave us a comment with what works for you!