In life, we take on many roles and responsibilities. At work, you take on the role of employee and perform the duties of your job to the best of your ability. If you have children, the role of parent becomes demanding as you are responsible for the growth of another human life.
Whether you are single or married, male or female, the roles you play in the relationships you maintain are all demanding your attention, time, and energy. And to top it all off, you still have to deal with yourself!
At times, life can seem overwhelming when all the roles that we have make so many demands on us. Often when the stressors of life begin to pile up we also start feeling angry and exhausted, and would much rather avoid our circumstances than face them. Furthermore, feelings of defeat and wanting to give up become deafening and tempting.
In these times of being overwhelmed, we rely on the things and places that bring us comfort and provide relief and peace. Sometimes, the things we expect to bring us comfort actually don't deliver the relief they seem to promise. As a result, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms can surface as our minds and bodies are stressed to capacity.
In order to become better managers of our lives, we must firstly become aware of when enough is enough, and find ways to find peace in overwhelming moments. Here are three simple ways to bring you to a place of peace and solace when you are overwhelmed with the stressors of life.
1. Take a Breath
I know, I know, it sounds so simple, yet there is power in taking a breath. Research shows that deep breathing in stressful times can bring relaxation to your mind, as well as improve our physical health and wellness.
Taking time to take deep breaths slows down your mind and body bringing relaxation and balance. Just try it. Take a deep breath in, hold it for 5 seconds, and breathe out for 5 seconds. If you practice it a few times, notice the change in your body and notice the clarity of thought you gain. Slowing down and taking a breath does not remove the stressors of life, but it can provide some relief so you can better manage your responsibilities and priorities.
2. Use your Resources
Many times we find ourselves overwhelmed due to our inability to use the resources that are around us. Using the resources around us can provide a sense of relief and ease to the stressors that overwhelm us. It could be as simple as asking a coworker to partner with you on a project, or using a tool online to make a task easier, or talking to a trusted friend or family member to gain perspective.
Need another example? The disciples used their resources in order to handle the needs of the people. As the flock grew. The disciples were overwhelmed with preaching ministry duties and the needs of the people. The disciples told the people to find seven men of good character, full of wisdom and of the Spirit to help serve the people (Acts 6:1-3, English Standard Version). The disciples acknowledged their feelings of stress and realized their limitations. They created resources that would allow them to focus on spreading the gospel. We must use our resources so that we might release and do our jobs and tasks completely.
3. Give yourself Grace
If you are anything like me, I take pleasure in knocking things off my to do list. Yet I found that as I knock things off, somehow my list continues to grow. As a result, I am overwhelmed by the never-ending tasks of things to do. One day, a friend asked me if I didn’t get all the things done, would I be okay. In my overwhelmed state, my answer was I don’t know. It was in that moment, when I stopped and took a breath, I was able to take in the thought of grace. Giving yourself grace means to give yourself permission to press pause on the noise of life and tend to yourself.
Often, we end up in a frantic state due to ignoring ourselves and not taking the proper rest needed to rejuvenate so that we can operate at full capacity. Allowing yourself to take a time out does not mean that the work won’t be done on time. Rest and clarity is necessary to work at your full potential. Giving grace to others is important, but giving grace to yourself is essential to your well-being.
In conclusion, being stressed and overwhelmed at times can seem like they are just a part of life. In our society, it seems the more stressed you are, the more success will come your way. I would like to reframe that thinking with this thought. Less stress equals to more potential which leads to more success in life.
Bio: Jennifer Ngaonye is a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Program at Moody Theological Seminary. She is a wife and mother of two, and serves as an associate minister and Sunday school teacher. Jennifer loves to help others and works hard to make an impact in the lives of others.