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Bethany Ainsley

Bethany Ainsley, Wellbeing Specialist

Dealing with overwhelm in uncertain times.

Reflecting over the past week, I imagine I’m not alone when I begin to feel overwhelmed at the thought of the challenges we have and will continue to face as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Seeing and hearing that most people are being affected in some way by the pandemic brings my attention not only to the businesses I manage, the team and our families but the wider community and those most vulnerable.

Overwhelm happens when we start to believe a stressor such as COVID-19, is too great for us to manage. It can manifest itself through our thoughts including worry or helplessness for example,  or through an intense emotion such as anxiety or irritability.

I have put together six steps to help manage overwhelm;

1. Accept how you are feeling.

Rather than fighting feelings or emotions begin by accepting them. At a time when there is uncertainty and so much unfamiliarity it’s likely that many people can relate. Try speaking with friends and colleagues to start building a support network. 

2. Remember this too shall pass. 

It’s important to try and take control of your thoughts. Unhelpful and unreasonable thoughts are likely to spark negative emotions. Pay close attention to what your thoughts are telling you and begin to create new ones that are more positive and helpful. Remind yourself, this period will pass. 

3. Be present.

Worrying about what may or may not happen in the future will consume time and is likely to be unhelpful. Instead, try being present in the moment, do things you enjoy, practice gratitude and schedule time for productive future planning where necessary. 

4. Remember you are not alone.

With social events cancelled, social distancing put in place and many of us working from home, the sudden change can be a shock to the system. Remember social wellbeing is essential. Find new ways to continue interacting such as reconnecting with old friends on social media, having video calls with loved ones and regular conference calls with colleagues.  

5. Make a plan.

Many people will be experiencing some change to their normal routine. It’s important to find a ‘new’ routine that helps you to be as productive as possible, whilst also quelling overwhelm. When you’re not working, remember to engage in activities that you enjoy such as listening to music or being creative. Perhaps there’s something that you’ve been wanting to do for a while but have struggled to find the time, such as writing a book or a blog.

6. Give back where you can.

Giving back to those less fortunate can offer a new perspective, create a sense of purpose and be incredibly rewarding. There are many charities desperately seeking support for those most vulnerable. If you’re not in a position to donate funds, consider donating time.

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