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.
With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the impact of Volunteering and its amazing benefits are enormous to you and your community.
The right role can help you to:
-Connect with the community
-Learn new skills
-Advance your career.
Volunteering offers vital help to worthwhile causes, but the benefits can be even greater for you. Even simple ways to help others can improve your health and happiness.
Volunteering connects you to others
While some people are naturally outgoing, others may have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering gives the opportunity to develop your social skills as you meet other people with similar interests. Once you start, it’s easier to branch out and make friends.
Volunteering is good for your mind and body
Volunteering reduces stress, anger and anxiety. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person. Working with animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Volunteering increases self-confidence. Doing good for others provides a natural sense of accomplishment. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life.
Volunteering can advance your career
If you’re considering a new career, volunteering can help you get experience in your area of interest and meet people in the field. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving and project planning.
Just because volunteer work is unpaid, it does not mean that the skills you learn are basic. Many volunteering opportunities provide extensive training. For example, you may become an experienced counselor volunteering in a health centre or gain extensive knowledge of history while volunteering in a museum.
Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life
Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. It can be meaningful and interesting and an energising escape from your routine.
Many people volunteer in fields which overlap with their hobbies. For example, if you have a desk job but wish to spend more time outdoors, you may volunteer and help plant a community garden or walk dogs for an animal shelter.