Feeling overwhelmed lately? If you are, you are not alone. Being overwhelmed is a prevalent feeling this Mental Health Awareness Month in both the workplace and at home. Digital Wellness Author and Human Connection Expert Mark Ostach has been overwhelmed with requests by employers to provide mental health programs for their employees in the hybrid workplace.
According to a March 2022 survey by the American Psychological Association, 87% of Americans feel like there is a constant stream of crises over the past two years of the pandemic. American adults reported feeling emotionally overwhelmed and fatigued, with 87% agreeing that it “feels like there has been a constant stream of crises without a break over the last two years.”
“Whether it be with work, family, health, or just life in general, we all can feel overwhelmed at some point,” shares Ostach. “It is important to recognize that a hybrid workplace, COVID-19 pandemic and inflation have made things complicated and it can be difficult to handle all of our responsibilities at the same time.”
When we are feeling overwhelmed, Ostach encourages us to take a moment to HALT to take care of your overall mental and physical health. HALT is German word that means, Stop. It’s also an acronym that reminds you to stop and ask yourself, “Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? If you say yes to one or more of these items it’s probably a great time to stop and take a break. The mindfulness method comes from the recovery community but it can be applied beyond addiction.
“When one of these areas is out of balance, we need to take an internal inventory,“ said Ostach. “If you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, you need to take a step back and take the steps necessary to address your need to protect yourself.”
If Hungry, don’t just skip lunch and work right through it. Take a break and try to get a well balanced meal. If you don’t have time to make a meal, try making something simple like a smoothie. Just make sure you don’t load up on carbohydrates and sugar as this can have a counter effect.
If Angry, stop and breathe. Then ask yourself, “What am I holding onto in my mind that’s not serving me? What do I need to release?” This will help you anchor yourself in the current reality, not the thoughts making you angry that are probably rooted in the past or the future.
If Lonely, pick up the phone and call a friend or family member. Sometimes just talking to someone else is all we need to help when we are feeling lonely. And if you have the time, set up a cup of coffee or walk at the park.
If Tired, take a 10 minute break and shut your eyes! All of the sensory overload from our devices and the media can make us feel more tired than we actually are. If shutting your eyes won’t work, go take a walk around the block and let the fresh air recharge your batteries.
Turn Down Technique
According to Ostach, another tip to turn down the noise in our minds that’s making us overwhelmed is called a Turn Down Technique. H3 first heard about this technique in Jon Acuff’s book Soundtracks (a must read!).
Mark goes on to share that the Turn Down Technique don’t require an Amazon Prime account or a gym membership. They are 5-25 minutes long and are typically physical in nature, flexible, fun and free such as going outside for a run.
“If you are having a hard time relaxing and quieting your mind, moving your body and using your hands are great ways to get out of your head. The Turn Down Technique is great to integrate into your daily routine.”
Turn Down Technique examples include:
- Jumping rope
- Playing music
- Getting coffee with a friend
- Taking a drive around the block
- Making lists
- Accomplishing minor tasks like doing the dishes
- And many other things that are physical, flexible, fun, and free!
“Managing our mental health is critical and needs to be a priority. It is linked to physical, mental and emotional well-being. While we will be overwhelmed at certain times, the last couple years during the pandemic has put mental health in the spotlight. Do yourself a favor and establish a Turn Down Technique that works for you and the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, just HALT and take a break!”