positivity: recent publications

5 Things to Do When You’re Beyond Stressed

A few months ago, after decades of solo entrepreneurship, I took a job as a freelance writer.I knew there would be an uphill learning curve, but I believed that a certain amount of stress would be good for me. In fact, studies show that some amount of stress is healthy, for many reasons.Fast forward to a snapshot of me at the end of day one of my new job: I was camped out on the couch, so completely wiped out that I could not muster the energy to get up and make myself a cup of tea. My mind was a puddle.A conversation between my husband and me went a little like this:“What do you want for dinner?” he asked.“I don’t know,” I answered.

“Whatever.”“Would you like a glass of wine?”I nodded.“Red or white?”“Um, I don’t know.”“Are you okay?”I wasn’t okay. And I wasn’t just stressed out after a busy day. I was completely overwhelmed.

I sat immobile for several hours, presumably watching television, but not really seeing anything. I felt frozen, mute, and completely checked out from the family activities going on around me.I had been excited about the opportunity to learn and grow, and I’ve never minded getting in a little over my head. But I’d taken in far more than I could digest for one day.

Perhaps there should be a condition called “mental indigestion”, for that describes how I felt.Overtime, I got the hang of this job, and the overwhelm shifted to something more manageable—something that I would simply label “stress.” In that state, I was able to make good decisions, know what I needed, ask for help, and communicate it all with effectiveness and clarity.But overwhelm is a whole different ball game. You can’t “positive self-talk” your way out of this state. And you can’t follow through with any of the usual advice that

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