We are living through something that no one alive has lived through. Our lives have been completely upended. The amount of overwhelm you are feeling has you exhausted. Some days the best you can do is wake up, eat something and make it to the couch. You know that when you are overwhelmed and anxious, you should do something to pull yourself out of it, right? Not so fast:
1. Overwhelm is Normal You are facing something that no one alive has ever faced. Being overwhelmed is normal. You are receiving information from everywhere that things are at a crisis point. Details keep changing daily. The way you live your life has been restricted and those restrictions keep changing almost daily.
2. Exhaustion is Natural With the overload of information and the massive amounts of changes you are experiencing that are beyond your control, it’s very likely that you are exhausted. Honor this. Honestly, taking a nap right now, zoning out with something like video games or Netflix, allowing your children to watch cartoons all day, etc. can be exactly what you need right now.
3. Let Go of Business As Usual Crises like this put you in mental overload. It’s difficult to focus and concentrate. This mental overload makes it difficult to perform tasks that under normal circumstances would be easy to do. Do only what is necessary to make it through a day, nothing more.
4. Let Yourself Off The Hook Accept where you are today. Not being able to function at 100% during a crisis situation is natural. Often we judge ourselves harshly when we aren’t able to perform at the level we are used to performing. Being able to accept your situation and your overwhelm can free you to discover what is necessary and essential versus what is unnecessary and superfluous.
5. Know When To Get Help While points 1 to 4 above are true, there does come a time where overwhelm becomes debilitating and threatens your mental health. If you find that you are unable to cope with daily survival during this crisis, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and family for support. And, if reaching out to friends and family aren’t good options or aren’t enough, seek professional help. There are many therapists doing online sessions now, like me. Also, there are crisis hotlines that can help in a mental health crisis. I have included some below for your convenience:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area. Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.