COVID-19 has left many of us feeling overwhelmed with so many aspects of our lives impacted. It can be really hard to pull ourselves out of a funk. We’re all facing so many different issues, from pressing financial concerns, whether to send our kids back to school, through to being bombarded with a 24 hours news cycle. Feeling overwhelmed is normal when there is so much disruption to our lives.
Feeling overwhelmed can be a response to the events around us, but we can take comfort by the fact that there is a lot we can do to combat these feelings.
Try these five helpful tips to control your feelings of being overwhelmed:
- I will go by what I know, not by how I feel
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when we don’t understand the scope of what we’re dealing with. Our feelings can be stirred by imagined scenarios where things seem insurmountable. Calling up Centrelink or looking for work can feel like impossible tasks, but it doesn’t mean it is. By improving our knowledge and understanding of the situation, we’ll probably find that things are not as bad as we first thought. If we keep ourselves in the dark about our options, then our situation will not improve, and neither will our thoughts.
We’re best to face our problems head on, one at a time.
- I can compel my muscles and limbs to do the right and healthy thing in spite of my feelings
We know that feelings are just feelings which in themselves have no power over us. When we’re feeling overwhelmed, we can feel like it’s impossible to make breakfast, exercise, or even get out of bed. This particularly can be the case if we have lost our routine due to unemployment, gyms and fitness studios being closed, or our social routines being disrupted. In these times it can feel quite hopeless. But our feelings will get better as our habits of thinking and acting get better. We can compel our limbs to get up and make the most of each day so that we slowly make inroads into the things that are distressing us. We must remember that feelings are just feelings and they cannot stop us from doing the right and healthy thing.
- Don’t rely on substances
To habitually take pills, drugs or alcohol to meet the ordinary stresses and crises of life weakens our natural and personal resources for living. In times of stress and uncertainty it can be tempting to cope by increasing our alcohol use or using other substances. Any relief from doing this will be temporary and will likely increase the negative feelings the next day, leaving us less equipped to deal with the things that are bothering us. Keeping a clear and active mind will ensure we are able to cope with the things we need to do.
- Constant improvement
Whatever the limitations in our lives, our existing situation can be constantly improved by good habits of thinking, acting and cooperation with help. Life will inevitably bring us stresses and challenges and COVID-19 has certainly escalated the disorder in many people’s lives. We need to remind ourselves that if we make small incremental gains each day we will solve our problems. We just need to remember that if we keep getting up and achieving something each day our problems will begin to resolve, and our lives will improve.
- I am more durable than vulnerable
Humans are incredibly resilient. People have overcome famines, disease, floods, fires, war, and poverty. We’re designed to adapt and be resilient – it’s our natural state. We can see this through the way many people have adapted to working and socialising online. Some of us have adapted to cooking instead of eating out, and others are existing on a reduced income. Adapting is key to the human spirit. During these difficult times it’s important to remind ourselves that durability is part of who we are, and we were perfectly designed to adapt and survive life’s challenges.
Use this time to consider what is important to you. The rapid changes in the way we are living our lives has created many new and unique challenges. We understand that we must exist in a sometimes-overwhelming environment for the foreseeable future. Feeling overwhelmed is challenging for all of us. Make use of this time by joining our Growing Resilience program. The program will offer you the tools to strengthen your resilience during this pandemic and you’ll also hear and learn from your peers because we’re all in this together.
The Growing Resilience program meets twice a week through a Zoom meeting. For more information visit www.grow.org.au/growing-resilience