This post is to help create awareness of the Double Whammy
In everyday life there is so much information to process and tasks that need doing, no wonder our minds can get a little bit cloudy with stress and overwhelm. I know mine doesn’t stop, as I brush my teeth in the morning I have thoughts of everything I want to achieve in the day racing through my mind. The start of the day isn’t as simple as getting the kids to school, we need to make sure we are eating a healthy breakfast, fit in exercise, packed healthy lunches, washed clothes and everything else in between. Feeling overwhelmed is a common symptom of anxiety, anxiety levels increase when we:
- are nervous
- have traumatic life experiences
- have sleep deprivation
- have poor diet
- have financial difficulties
- have relationship issues
- are putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves
- have problems with kids
- can’t keep up with the housework
- have underlying health condition
- are in poor health
- are managing a health condition
Any one of the above can trigger overwhelm. I put my hand up, I find I get overwhelmed quite easily these days, and I am sure I’m not alone!
We look after and care for all those around us, but tend to neglect ourselves and don’t recognise the signals our bodies give us. Overwhelm can alter your mood, trigger emotional eating, give a negative mindset and ultimately affect your health. How you are feeling is an emotional indicator, your body telling you to slow down and readjust your focus.
Below are a few steps I go through when I feel overwhelmed. Please note, I am not an expert and suggest you seek further advice from your GP.
RECOGNISE THE SIGNS
A person who is overwhelmed may become irritable, experience anxiety, stress over the smallest of things. Some people may feel physically ill or fatigued as a result, where others may develop social withdrawal by isolating themselves. One’s ability to act rationally and complete tasks may be affected by emotions.
My signs of overwhelm are headaches and insomnia.
Earlier this year my hubby’s body reacted to the stress and overwhelm from moving house. We happened to find a house that we loved, but it was going to auction in less than a week. Scotty, who runs his own business, stopped work, putting everything on hold to get all the inspections and finances in place. I am super impressed, he managed to do it all. But little did either of us realise that silently his body wasn’t coping.
Scotty has Psoriasis. Many know it as a skin condition (red, itchy, scaly patches), but it’s a long-lasting chronic disease of the immune system that can range from mild to severe. I wasn’t aware until recently that an estimated one in three people with psoriasis get the double whammy and also develop a joint condition called psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is a long-term condition that attacks your skin on the outside and your joints on the inside and if left undiagnosed can progress and may cause irreversible damage.
Scotty had pain in his ankle, and he found it hard to walk up and down the stairs as well as driving his manual car. Like most men they try to persevere through it. I could see he was in pain, so I booked him an appointment with the local GP. He was referred to a rheumatologist who diagnosed him with Psoriatic Arthritis.
Looking back after the diagnosis Scotty realised he’s been suffering joint pain for some time but put it down to aging. It is not uncommon for psoriatic arthritis to be interpreted as an alternative form of arthritis. As I mentioned above, if left undiagnosed, it can have lifelong consequences for the patient. We believe his psoriatic arthritis flared up because of the stress of moving and pushing back work commitments, or it may have just been a coincidence in timing. Whichever it was we made some changes to help reduce the overwhelm of everyday life.
If you or your loved one have red, scaly and sometimes itchy patches of skin (such as psoriasis) as well as swollen, stiff or painful joints, they may be experiencing psoriatic arthritis. Please visit Double Whammy to complete a short symptom checker and seek guidance from a GP.
To become stressed and overwhelmed you get yourself into a pattern and forgetting to look after yourself. It’s easy to get in a state of panic where you may be feeling flustered and out of control. Take this moment to pause and separate yourself from the situation. A fresh perspective will help you determine the trigger of the overwhelm.
You may be feeling overwhelmed because you have so much to do, the further you indulge it in the more you are feeding it. Stop and take the time to prioritise and create a sense of direction.
Be brave and tell people that you are feeling overwhelmed and enlist help with areas that you are struggling with. You’ll be amazed at how many people are willing to help. Be open to receiving what others are willing to give.
MAKE TIME TO EXERCISE
It’s simple…. physical activity boosts the body’s natural feel-good hormones.
It’s a common instinct to want to please others to avoid disappointment. Our intentions can end up having us more committed to what we realistically have time or energy for. Saying yes will take away the time for the important things that matter, so say no, it’s not that you are letting anybody down, it’s that you’re putting you first.
With a limited number of hours in the day, we need to fill it with only what is important. Define and create personal boundaries, separated from work, chores, etc.
- how much alone time do you need to recharge?
- how much time to do you want to spend with the family?
- how do you want to spend time together?
Once you work out what is important, ensure this goes in your schedule and everything else around it. No matter how busy life gets Scotty and I always make sure that we eat dinner with the kids at the table, spend time chatting (debriefing as I like to call it) about the day, simply watching TV and have some time alone to unwind. Especially as Scotty runs his own business, it’s important for him to define his work hours and make sure that that important time is off limits.
No matter how hard your day was today, remember every morning gives you the chance to begin again. A new chance for you to rewrite the story of your life.
This post is run in accordance with my disclosure policy.