Originally published on Post Grad Purpose
Wow, this is my first post in June and the month is more than halfway over. Oops. As you can tell from the title of this post, I’ve been super overwhelmed and have pretty much neglected Post Grad Purpose. I was even considering quitting, but I’m not doing that. I’m really passionate about this idea and the potential for the blog and I’m excited to start focusing on it more. First though, I need to calm down.
I’m a pretty stressed out person. I think I once told my boss that stress is my baseline emotion and all other feelings work around it. Anyways, I think there’s being stressed, and then there’s being overwhelmed. Stress is more in the moment or related to a specific thing, but to me being overwhelmed occurs when the stress just builds up to a point where you can’t handle it anymore. Being overwhelmed feels like you could break down at any moment, and sometimes you do.
Being overwhelmed is pretty common in post grad life. You’re trying to find a job or you hate your job or you feel like a failure or you can’t manage your finances or you literally have no idea what to do with your life or maybe all of these things at the same time. There’s a lot to figure out and you can feel alone in the struggle. I have been there more times than I count. Thankfully I’ve learned a few ways to deal with these messy overwhelming feelings.
I’ve found that when I’m overwhelmed, social media doesn’t help. Scrolling through people’s presentations of seemingly perfect, successful lives isn’t going to make you feel better when your own life feels like it’s falling apart. Turn off your phone for an hour or two (or longer if you can) and forget it exists. Social media and other updates can feel like endless inescapable chatter from the rest of the world and it can send our minds into overdrive. Step away from your computer too. The less electronics, the better. It’ll clear your mind and help you focus on more important priorities.
Go into nature
Because I was feeling so overwhelmed, I went on a camping trip last weekend. I used to go camping all the time as a child, but lately I’ve barely been at all. It was amazing getting away from the noise of my life and just relaxing in the woods by the ocean with my boyfriend. My phone died on Friday and I didn’t charge it until Sunday and it was so freeing not having it. Being surrounded by nature puts things into perspective because it reminds you how small you are and how your problems will eventually pass and work out. If you can’t go away on a camping trip, go for a hike or to a local scenic spot.
Visit family and friends
Something about going home always makes me feel better. Depending on your family situation, spending a few days in your childhood home and seeing family and old friends is so nice if you’re feeling overwhelmed. It reminds you of simpler times. Whenever I go home I find it so easy to forget about the stress of my “adult life.”
Lose the drama
As in TV shows. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, bingeing dramatic or intense shows doesn’t help. Earlier this year I was watching The Fosters on Netflix (which is such a great show!), but since I watched so much so fast, the heaviness of the show really bought my mood down. If you’re feeling overwhelmed don’t invite more drama into your life. Stick with lighter shows – I suggest Friends, Parks and Rec, and The Office.
Write it out
I have been journaling since I was seven years old and I swear by it. Writing down your thoughts and worries is so helpful because it gets them out of the swirling mess of your head and down onto paper. Writing helps calm me down and shows me that things aren’t as bad as I built them up to be. I usually surprise myself when journaling because I reach new conclusions and find new ways to look at whatever I’m dealing with. It’s gotten to the point where my mind can sense if I haven’t journaled in a while. It’s like this weird gnawing feeling that’s telling me to just write it all down.
Take a break
If you’re feeling super overwhelmed, it’s ok to take a break. Your mental health is more than worth it. Take a personal day from work if you can or at least step back from a few other commitments and let yourself slow down. Sleep in, let your emails build up, and breathe. We’re all humans. We can’t have it together all the time.
If you have any other tips for dealing with stress and being overwhelmed, please let me know in the comments below!