The Raphael Remedy

10 Steps to Help You Get Through Those Days that Overwhelm You

by | Oct 16, 2016 | Counseling

Facebook has this nifty feature in which you can view what happened in the past on that very day. Often I’ve forgotten what happened 6 or 7 years ago, sometimes even a year ago. Sometimes I laugh, but on one particular day of the summer, my memories on that day just seem to weigh me down. On that exact day over the past years I’ve faced the death of a loved one, hospitalizations and surgeries of other people I love, and reminders of another tough period in my life. All these events bring up so many emotions in me and causes me to go into a “funk” that is not normal for me, and something I don’t like. Add to the present day “stuff” and I tend to feel overwhelmed by life on that day.

I tell you all this because what I’m describing is not unusual; we all go through days in which the weight of the world holds us down emotionally, mentally, and physically. So how do you, and I, get through these days? Here are a few tips from my playbook of funk ablation…

1. Acknowledge that there will be days like this and give yourself grace. There’s an old song by The Shirelles  that goes, “Mama said there’ll be days like this. “There’ll be days like this,” my mama said.” and this song runs through my head when I have these types of days. If there’s a song about these kind of days, then I know I’m not alone. Unless this is a daily occurrence for you, this too will pass. If this is a daily occurrence for you, then you should talk to a Catholic therapist.

2. On days like this when your emotions are on edge, it’s wise to take care with what you think, do, or speak. The words and/or actions may not be the true you coming out, but the emotional you. This is not the day to get in an argument with a spouse, for example, because the filter you may normally have on your words may not be there. It’s your emotional self speaking, versus your rational self. Sometimes it’s just best to say, “I’ll talk about whatever is on my mind in a few days when I’m not so emotional.” (This may be a good day to talk with your therapist though.)

3. Tears are therapeutic, and a good cry can cleanse your soul, so don’t be afraid to cry. I personally find the shower the best place to cry. Second best is to cry to my furry therapists, preferably one who purrs. (My cat curls up next to me on the bed as I have a good cry.)

4. Quiet is also very therapeutic and often needed to sort out all the emotions being experienced. We cannot think when our minds are being bombarded by noise – be that spouses, kids, coworkers, music, traffic – the list goes on and on. Taking a few minutes in a quiet place and just being present in the moment is so important when we’re overwhelmed by life.

5. Let’s also get physical. Take a walk, run, swim, kick a bag, whatever you can do that releases endorphins and brings you back to that natural “high”.

6. Understand how physiological factors affect your emotions and all those feelings of being overwhelmed. Hormones can run havoc on emotions, as can pain, lack of sleep, and stress, among others. The weeks this past summer that lead up to this particular day of heart-rending memories, I had not been sleeping well due to it being too hot at night (and living in a house without air conditioning), body aches, and a series of weird dreams. Therefore, I was just tired, and when I’m fatigued I do not handle things emotionally as well as I do when I’m well rested. I know this, though I must remind myself of this too.

7. Find a reason to laugh. Talk to that one person who never fails to make you laugh, or read a book or watch a movie that tickles your funny bone. Watch all the silly animal videos on YouTube or the videos of babies laughing and give yourself permission to just laugh at their antics. Laughter isn’t called the best medicine for nothing.

8. Journal all those thoughts and emotions. Just writing this has been helpful for me.

9. Pray. When my heart is troubled is when I know my prayer life needs a boost. God and I then need to be talking more. “Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1

10. Finally, love yourself today. If you are overwhelmed by things in the past, remind yourself that those things are in the past and you were able to get through it. Adversity leads to growth, so think about how you grew from the experiences and give yourself a hug.

Life isn’t easy. If you struggle each day to get through, then contact a Catholic therapist.

Jane McGill, LPC
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