In partnership with Guernsey Mind
How are you? The chances are you'll answer this question with "Fine", followed by "Busy". For too long now, being busy has been accepted as part of our modern lives, often even worn as a badge of honour. For so many, being successful is synonymous with being busy. 'Booked and busy' means you are on the right track. This is great if you are busy living the life you actually want to live and your days are filled with a good balance of activities and rest - quality experiences that add to your life.
But if being busy is making you feel overwhelmed then maybe it's time to take a step back and do something about it.
Here are some signs that may mean that your busy lifestyle is taking you in the wrong direction. If you recognise yourself in any of these situations, we've got some practical tips to help you take back control.
1. You are neglecting your wellbeing and unhealthy habits are taking over. Are you skipping self-care, looking after yourself less or allowing habits to creep in that you know don't make you feel good?
2. You feel tired all the time, mentally, physically and emotionally, and you are more pessimistic and less motivated than you once would have been.
3. You’ve lost your get up and go, meaning you literally sit around more. You may also be using food, caffeine or alcohol as props to get you through the day.
4. Your health is suffering - or you can see that’s where things may be leading in the longer term with the onset of digestive problems, weight changes and low mood.
Guernsey MIND: "Do you need to take time to refocus on your wellbeing? Have you considered joining the Sunday morning Red Balloons walk and talk group or Isle Health's Walking Wednesday evening session? Or find a swim buddy with the Guernsey SAS sea swimming group? The support offered by these small, friendly groups can help you on the path to taking control of your health and wellbeing."
1. You feel unenthusiastic or disillusioned with your work, and you are less productive, even though you may be putting in more hours.
2. You feel stressed and find it difficult to concentrate when you are at work, or find it hard to switch off from work in your down time.
3. You’ve lost your ‘spark’ and no longer have the energy or enthusiasm to embrace new experiences or opportunities.
4. You’ve lost your sense of ambition and feel disillusioned with your career.
Guernsey MIND:"If this is you, are not alone... in the latest local Wellbeing Survey, 38% of respondents stated that work was often or always a cause of stress! Guernsey MIND offers Workplace Wellbeing Training, to help managers and business leaders understand how an individual might feel at work and when they have to take time off."
1. Your relationships are suffering, either because you are irritable or because you have become withdrawn.
2. You have no energy or desire to spend time with your friends, and when you are with them you don’t connect in the same way.
3. Time spent with your family is often a chore rather than a pleasure, and you are more often than not grumpy or distracted.
4. You feel like you are losing emotional connections, and you no longer have the same physical connections and intimacy with the people you care for.
Guernsey MIND: "We can offer support focused on the impact of your mental health on your life and relationships, offering an opportunity for you to be fully heard and listened to confidentially and without judgement. Our services include Systemic Psychotherapy, Art Psychology, Equine Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy. Here's a link to the full range of wellbeing sessions we provide."
Do you recognise yourself in any of these situations? The next question is, what can you do about it? Well, the good news is that by reading this, you are taking the first steps towards identifying the signs of overwhelm, and recognising that there may be a problem is a good place to start taking back control of your life.
Here are some practical tips to help you turn things around and make the situation more manageable:
1. Speak to family and friends and explain how you are feeling. It may help to rebuild relationships if they understand why you have become more distant or a bit grumpy.
2. Challenge unhelpful thoughts. You don't have to believe everything you think. Whilst we can't make your problems go away, we can help you to find a different way of looking at them with 5 Ways To Worry Less.
3. Look at your schedule and slow things down where you can. It’s ok to say no to social invitations for a while, you’re really not missing out as much as you think. Choose the ones that mean the most to you.
4. Rethink your priorities. It’s not the end of the world if your kids miss their dance class or football training once in a while - having a relaxed time with you at home is better than being ferried around by a harassed and resentful parent. Let yourself off the hook.
5. Prioritise your own health and wellbeing. This can be as simple as a 10 minute walk every day to clear your mind, a quick stretch before bed, or maybe you would benefit from trying something new like the Hope Singers choir - no audition necessary!
6. Set yourself up well for a good night’s sleep. It may not come easy, but there are some simple steps you can take to improve your evening routine. Let us help with our tips on How To Prepare For A Good Night's Sleep.
7. If work stress is at the root of your feelings of overwhelm, speak to your HR manager or a trusted colleague and find out what support is available to you - and how to get some things off your plate.
8. Encourage systems around you. Why not sign your workplace up for Workplace Wellbeing Training with Guernsey MIND? You don't have to be at breaking point to need help. Prevention is key.
9. Finish work on time, and try to switch off by setting clear boundaries between work and home. It really is worth separating your work and and home life so you have an opportunity to recharge and refocus.
10. Book some holiday time. You don’t need to travel to exotic locations to benefit from time off work and by taking time to rest, the time you do spend at work will be more productive.
If you feel you need professional help to deal with feelings of overwhelm reach out to your GP, or get in touch with Guernsey Mind for details of support and services you can access locally if you have concerns about your mental health.
You might also want to take a look at Where to Find Mental Health Support in Guernsey.