Not Coping? Feeling Overwhelmed? Here Are Some Tips!
Written by: Bianca Villanueva – BS (Psychology)
Last updated date : January 06, 2022
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Have you ever felt so overworked that you just couldn’t keep going, even if you wanted to? Have you ever been so intimidated by your workload that you can’t seem to start? Are you not coping well with the things happening in your life? These are common feelings when we’re feeling overwhelmed. However, being this is not just limited to work. It can happen when we feel so much emotion that we can’t control it like we normally do. It can feel like a heavy load on our shoulders, maybe even worse than any physical strain.
When emotions like stress, sadness, anger, and even happiness are too much, it can get in the way of how we function every day. Everything feels demanding and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. This is a common thing that happens to us every now and then. Sometimes, even our own ways of coping don’t work or even harm us to the point it’s self-destructive.
In this article, we’ll discuss what it feels like to be overwhelmed and how to cope with it properly. We’ll also be looking into what the problem might be. Is it your coping style or your current lifestyle? Sometimes it can be hard to really pin down, or maybe finding out why is overwhelming in itself. Either way, let’s first get down to what feeling overwhelmed is.
What Is Feeling Overwhelmed?
What is Burnout?Many people who are not coping well, can experience burnout. Burnout is stress that you build up when you can’t cope well any longer. Is this the same as feeling overwhelmed? Not necessarily. In a way, burn out is the latter effect to too much overwhelming events. When these events aren’t addressed properly, it can become burnout. The end result can create a multitude of negative physical, mental, and social outcomes. So, what’s the difference?
Another difference is that burnout is almost total helplessness. When something overwhelming happens, we still cope like we can fix this if we act fast and efficiently. Burnout is the feeling that no matter what you do, the situation is already out of your control. It’s like you’re giving up and saying, “This is too much. I don’t care anymore. Coping with this is hard.”
If you think about it, which would be easier to fix? Your feelings after you give up or before you give up when you think you can still fix it? Obviously, the latter, right? That’s why we need to tackle the problem when we’re already feeling overwhelmed rather than waiting for burnout.
What are the Signs of Feeling Overwhelmed?It’s important to recognize when you’re feeling overwhelmed. When can you say that you’re on your way to burnout? Is it when your load is too much? Is it when you think, “I don’t think I’ll finish this in time”? There are many ways to gauge your stress so here are a few signs you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- You Panic about the Smallest Things. For some of us, it’s pretty normal to trip or drop things. However, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, even just dropping all your papers on the floor can cause a meltdown. You might even panic just because you can’t find that file you need for work.
- You Feel Sick. Your stomach churns, your head feels light, maybe you even want to use the bathroom. There are ways for stress to manifest and this is just some of it.
- You Have a Hard Time Focusing. Because you think that there’s so much to do, your mind might be somewhere else. Maybe it’s on the next task. Maybe it’s on something you’re looking forward to after. Eventually, you find yourself making mistakes in whatever you’re doing now as a result.
- You Isolate Yourself from Friends and Relatives. Why? That’s because if it’s unrelated to whatever you’re not coping with, these things can be distracting. You might also think your stress with seep into these relationships.
- Your Emotions Change Your Point of View. For example, when you’re not coping with your sadness over a loss, you tend to see things a little greyer. You might find yourself more pessimistic about pleasant things in life.
When Is Being Not Coping a Problem?
Other times, we don’t realize it can affect the people around us as well. Someone might ask if you’re okay because you haven’t left your house in days. Your closest friends and family might even talk to you and say you haven’t talked in a while. Maybe you’ve even been reprimanded at work for not doing it well. A decrease in you’re capacity to work is a sign that you’re not coping well, too.
Why Am I Not Coping Well?
You’re Not Managing Your ExpectationsWe all have our own idea of what we want to be. Many of us want to achieve our goals in a short amount of time. Some of us just want to get home early to enjoy their free time. What is it that you want at the end of the day? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
You might be feeling this way because you’re not managing your expectations properly. Have you recently felt like you have too much on your plate? As if you don’t have time to finish your work or do the things you like? It might be that you’ve overestimated yourself. Maybe things just kept on piling up until you couldn’t handle it anymore. It’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses.
You’re So Overstimulated, You’re Not CopingYou may be familiar with the experiment with Pavlov’s dog and how he salivates at the sound of a bell. At first, Pavlov’s dog salivates because of the smell of his food, as anyone would. Whenever the food appeared, it would always be followed by a sound of a bell. Eventually, the dog would salivate at the sound of the bell, even without there being food.
This is the same concept as when you keep your phone notifications on. Imagine you always hear these sounds when you’re at work. Each ring or buzz is an alert for more work. Eventually, even without there being work, you might start associating the sound of your phone to that feeling of tiredness. As a result, it might feel like work is piling up when in reality, it’s just your phone or normal messages outside of work.
You Have a Hard Time Saying NoMany of us want to make a good impression at work or with friends. In short, we’re naturally people pleasers. Sometimes, it is easier to keep saying yes, even at your own expense. At least people like your work ethic or they praise you for working hard. It can feel good and part of us is okay with sacrificing some “me” time to save face. However, what happens when we keep saying ‘yes’?
You have no room to be yourself. When you have too much time for work, you loose time for yourself and that in itself is a problem. Don’t stretch yourself too thin and learn how to say no. While you can do things you set your mind to, you need to be rational about how much you can take at a time. You can’t always take care of others. Take care of yourself too. Learn to take a step back from anything mentally or emotionally stressing you out.