Taking time for you: Where’s your self care plan?

In the past few weeks, I’ve had a few of my clients tell me how completely overwhelmed they are with their life, work, family and other commitments.

It got me thinking of a few methods that I find helpful to help reduce feelings of anxiety and overwhelm when I feel like it’s all getting too much. So here’s Dr Joseph’s top five tips to reduce feeling so overwhelmed with life.

1. Get back to nature.

There is something about fresh air and sunshine! Get to the beach (and get your toes in the sand), or a park, somewhere where nature really is at its best.

Then start to really open your eyes, ears and nose to experience all that nature has to offer from the tiny glistening spider web, to the pitches of birdsong, to the damp cool smell of the undergrowth or salty rugged driftwood.

2. Write a ‘Not-Going-To-Do’ list.

This is unbelievably effective. Whether you write a ‘Not-Going-To-Do’ list for that day, the week, the month, or even the year; just writing things down on that list will take them off your mental radar.

You can rest easy knowing there is no expectation to achieve that task until after the set period is up and you can revisit its priority.

3. Do something for your soul.

If you can shut off while reading a good book, pick up your book and just read. Set the timer if you really must, you’ll be surprised how good just ten minutes can be to switch off your intrusive thoughts.

4. Try a short guided meditation.

One of my favourites! I’m not so good at stopping my monkey mind from running wild so I find guided meditations helpful. Even a two-minute meditation can be helpful to break that feeling of being overwhelmed.

But start small if this is new for you. If meditation is not your thing, then simply take a deep breath in, right down into your tummy for 4 counts (1… 2… 3… 4…), then breathe out for 4 counts (1… 2… 3… 4…). And repeat 3 times.

Simply focusing on the breath will slow your body down and allow it time to rest and recover.

5. Put words to paper.

Another particularly helpful technique I use often is ‘free-writing’ or a brain dump. I just get a piece of paper and pen (I find this more therapeutic than typing what’s in my head, but each to their own) and I just start writing. No sentences, no structure; just thoughts, feelings, emotions.

If I’m diligent, I do this at least once per week and like regular yoga practise it is a way to keep my mind limber and free from thoughts and feelings that are causing a build-up in anxiety or stress.

Which one of the above resonates most for you? Or do you use a different technique to reduce pressure at times?

If you think mindfulness would help boost your wellness, resilience and performance, contact Clear Health Psychology.

Dr Joseph Fleming

Joseph is a qualified registered mental health social worker, counsellor/therapist and experienced group facilitator with over 25 years of experience in both government and non-government settings.

Joseph sees children (8+ years), adolescents, adults, couples & families. Find out more about Joseph here or book an appointment with Joseph at our Fremantle or Hillarys practice.

Joseph Fleming