A Survival Guide For Stressful Days

We all have days where we feel so overwhelmed that it seems impossible to function. Since the start of quarantine, we've all switched to online classes, maybe gone home, experienced job loss, etc. It can be incredibly hard to focus on what we have to do in the days ahead when everything is uncertain and the world has been turned upside down. This is especially true if you're living with a mental illness such as anxiety or depression. For this unique time and after, I've put together some tips and reminders about getting through stressful days when you're feeling overwhelmed.

Make A List

When you’ve got a lot of things to do, it can be hard to focus and get them done. Making a list of everything I have to do always helps me gather my thoughts and get on track. It gives you a plan of action and can help ease the stress you’re feeling. Start with the most urgent tasks and work your way through. When you finish tasks, it can also be incredibly satisfying to cross or check them off. It gives you visual validation of what you've been doing and accomplishing throughout the day.

Whether it is electronic or on paper, lists can be both satisfying and great for organization. If you prefer using your laptop, phone, tablet, etc. feel free to make a list in your notes or on a document. If you prefer paper, I suggest using a planner if you have one, or just regular paper if you don't.

Talk to a Loved One

When you bottle up stress, it will always come to a point where you're ready to explode (A.K.A a breakdown). Whether you’re there yet or not, it’s important to put your emotions and struggles out there. It can be hard to reach out, but it's usually worth it. Talking to a loved one may help you relieve the pressure of stressful days and get your feelings off your chest. Whether it be a friend, family member, coworker, etc., find someone who is willing to listen and let them know what’s going on. Ask the person of your choice for advice about how to relieve stress or for encouragement to get you through the day. Sometimes it just helps to know that someone is thinking about you and rooting for you. 

Take One Day At A Time

I'm in quarantine away from home, but every time my mom and I talk on the phone, she reminds me to take one day at a time. Things may be tough for you right now, but all you have to do is take one day at a time, even one minute at a time, and go with it. Do your best to get done what you can, and then you can move on to the next thing. Time won’t stop for anyone, but we can try our best to stay focused and make the most of the time we have.

Think of the Future

Even though the future seems pretty bleak right now, we all have things that we’re looking forward to. A lot of our plans have changed but many things are still happening even if it's not as we planned. Whether it’s a zoom call with a friend, seeing people again after quarantine, getting your degree, whatever it might be, keep the things that you’re looking forward to in mind when times are tough. This will give you the motivation to do whatever you need to do and get through the rest of the day. Tying in with my last point, all you have to do is take one day at a time until these events happen.

I’d like to leave off with my best advice to those struggling right now: we're all going through it. No matter how stressed you are right now, just remember that you aren’t alone in that. We are all struggling, but how we handle it will determine how well and how fast we get through it. Take a deep breath, make your list, and get started!