We've all been there: you wake up one morning and life just seems too big for you to conquer. You're overwhelmed, overworked, and lacking rest. No matter what you seem to do, you can't get ahead.
People always ask me, "What do you do when things just don't seem to go your way?", and this formula is exactly what has worked for me. It won't make your problems go away, it will just make them easier to deal with.
Have A Plan
When you're feeling overwhelmed, it will be difficult to know where to start. That is why I recommend every person with and without diagnosed depression to have an action plan for when they begin to feel overwhelmed. According to Everyday Health, "A depression action plan can help take the guesswork out of where to get started each morning."
Don't wait until you're overwhelmed to figure this out, figure it out when you're in good spirits if possible. That will give you the clarity you need to figure out what creates a good day for you. Some things to add to your plan are safe spaces, songs that get you through tough times, activities that boost your mood, and last but not least the people and things you need to avoid until you get back on your feet. Write it down on your phone, so that you always have access to it.
Use Deep Breathing
Let's say you're already in the bad mood and not prepared to put together a plan, deep breathing is a great technique to use to calm anxiety and stress. Yoga is great, but you can't just do a downward dog in the middle of the management meeting. You have to use stealth techniques in certain spaces, and the great thing about deep breathing is that you can do it in almost any setting without someone realizing it.
In fact, shallow breathing creates anxiety on a physiological level. According to Harvard Health, "Shallow breathing limits the diaphragm's range of motion. The lowest part of the lungs doesn't get a full share of oxygenated air. That can make you feel short of breath and anxious."
To practice deep breathing, count your inhalation and exhalation starting with 3 seconds.
In your head say:
Increase the count by 1 until you feel relaxed. If you're interrupted, just start back at 3.
Write It Down
Nearly every time I present a workshop on actionable ways to improve life, I'm going to bring up writing. Writing allows you to visualize exactly what's going on in your head, and get it out of your head at the same time. According to Barbara Markway, Ph.D., "One of the most useful things you can do to combat stress and anxiety is keep a running record of your thoughts on paper."
The first thing you want to write is everything and person that is currently bothering you and why.
One example would be "I just cannot get this saving thing under control."
The next thing you want to write down is how you can solve it. Not when, but how.
Following our example above a solution could be "I will write down a budget and put aside x amount of dollars every check."
Remember these tips won't make your problems go away, it will just make them easier to deal with. If you want to solve your problems you will have to be dedicated to the solutions you have written down, and possibly get an accountability partner to keep you strong. So plan, breathe deeply, and write it out - most importantly remember that most days are not bad. Most days are filled with blessings, and we allow mini-tragedies to ruin them. Stay positive, thankful, and productive to see the best days of your life.
Gabriella Payne builds teams and communities through inspiration and strategic confidence development. She works with universities, athletic groups, and corporations to help students and recent graduates transform their mental thought patterns by teaching new, healthier habits. She is also an advocate for the prevention of domestic abuse and teaches a series called "See It Coming".