You might feel like something is a bit off. You might have a hard time connecting to your thoughts and your feelings. You might be feeling stronger emotions and not fully understanding why.
The other week I did not feel like myself at all. I felt very disconnected, stressed, overwhelmed, and emotional. It was tough, and I did shed some tears. Fortunately, I am feeling better as I write this blog post thanks to the help from some friends and my steps to help get myself back on track and feeling more like me.
I know I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed, and I can't imagine the stress level that you may be experiencing in school. It is a lot to manage, and if you were home all last year, you might feel like a rubber band being stretched to the breaking point.
Start with a brain dump.
Take a sheet of paper and just let the thoughts, feelings, experiences, missteps, hurts, to-do lists, worries, and stressors out of your brain and onto a sheet of paper (or several sheets if needed).
A brain dump allows you to take what has been weighing on your heart and taking up space in your mind to have a new home. A brain dump is a tool I often use, but my friend Tiffany, known as The Wellness Champion, helped me with this exercise. I was so not myself I couldn't come up with where to start.
Look at the critical issues in your brain dump and group your issues into different categories.
This is a tip that Tiffany helped me work through. When I started to link things together, it helped me have a little more perspective on my feelings of overwhelm. I could see how situations were related to one another and how stressors had built up over time. Tiffany suggested creating a visual representation of my categories, and I thought how these issues were like columns to my house of life. I drew three columns; one represented my work, the second represented creativity, and the third was family and health. In each column, I outlined how I wanted my ideal situation to look. I walked away from this activity feeling more clear on all the "things" and having a bit more perspective.
Reach out to someone that knows the real you.
Having conversations with loved ones can help us feel reconnected to ourselves. There is somebody that you have in your life who truly knows you and gets you, and I want you to connect with that person!
If you can't have an in-person meet up I want you to call them on the phone- no texting unless you are setting up the phone call. Can't think of anyone to reach out to? This person could be a
This person could be aparent, a childhood friend, a cousin, an aunt, an uncle, a coach- anyone that knows you.
Spend some time alone without distractions.
Put your phone away, get off Netflix, and allow yourself some time to be quiet and to be away from all the noise of the world. This space may let you listen to what is in your heart and what is going on in your life that you may need to pay more attention to. Asking yourself
"What is this feeling trying to tell me?"
Self-care strategies to help your mind and body are essential.
Meditation, exercise, eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water, and getting good sleep are essential. What we are putting into our bodies can be medicine or poison, and this isn't just the food we eat. It is also the content we consume. Have you been off in one of these categories?
My favorite resource for meditating is the Insight Timer App that can be found in the app store https://insighttimer.com/
Let go of toxic people.
Just like food, water, and exercise can be food or poison to us, so can the people we spend time with.
I want you to take a moment to explore how your relationships are going? Do you have kind and supportive friends that you can be yourself around, or do you have relationships that leave you feeling hurt and alone?
A fundamental way to determine if someone is not a good friend for you is to think about how you feel after spending time with them. If you feel anxious, sad, or less than after you hang out, this is a sign that the relationship may be having a more significant effect on you.
Schedule time for FUN!
I want you to make sure that you're scheduling time for fun. Having something to look forward to can make a big difference in your day. Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking I have to earn my fun- DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE!
Schedule your fun, put it on your calendar, and stick to that appointment with yourself.
If you feel like you can't even remember what you used to enjoy, start with something small. There might be an old craft project that you have in the corner of your room; pick that up. It may be a book you still haven't finished; pick that up again, start somewhere trying to do something fun, and experiment. Say yes to different things that friends are inviting you to. Say yes to discover something new that is fun for you.
Create a daily schedule.
Often, we feel like we don't know ourselves because we are overwhelmed with everything we have going on. If you have a routine and a schedule, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed by what you have to do, like homework and chores.
A schedule helps you take control of the to-do's and your time which can help you feel more like yourself rather than stressed and running around from task to task.
Take a social media break.
When you aren't feeling yourself, looking at someone else's highlight reel on social media isn't going to make you feel any better! C.S. Lewis said it best when he said, "Comparison is the thief
of joy." Take several days away from social media. You can uninstall the apps and still re-install them so that you aren't tempted to take a peek!
Step outside of your comfort zone.
When you're not feeling yourself, everything may feel like a step out of your comfort zone. Please take that first step of faith in doing something that you know is positive. Say yes to different invites with friends even if you don't feel like it or know you will have a good time. Trying other things can help connect you to that younger self when learning something new.
REMEMBER, THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT CAN HELP YOU!
When you don't feel like yourself, it can feel confusing and frustrating. Sometimes it feels like you'll never find your way back to how you used to feel.
If you have been experiencing this and it has lasted longer than a few days, you need to share this with your parents, a school counselor, a teacher, or an adult you trust. Notice here that I am asking you to communicate with adults. The reason for this is because adults have the resources and connections to help you get the support you need. Your friends can be a sense of support, encouragement, and advice, but they may not have the resources or life experiences to help you get the help you need.
If you feel overwhelmed and need someone to talk to, you can always text the word HOME to 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You do not have to be suicidal to call this hotline. If you need emotional support, they can help you.