Dear Girlfriend,

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Is your TO DO list TOO BIG? Do you feel like your schedule, home and life are out of control? Does stress keep you up at night?

As a girlfriend who cares, and who wants to help you be a better friend, we want to share some girlfriend advice to help you – and we invite you to share your suggestions and stories in the comments below!

Taxes looming, a new home to decorate and fix up, a list of problems and projects, two jobs and a desire to maintain my friendships … I know the feeling! I’m overwhelmed and, to be honest, I’m just like you … feeling stressed.Very stressed.

Albert Einstein said:

“When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

If you know me personally, you know that I spin. Usually about 7 hours/wk – more if I can. Some might call it an addiction, but I call it ‘therapy.’ When I work toward SOMETHING beneficial, it helps me feel hopeful, hopeful that I’ll accomplish my goals in other areas as well. When I’ve been at my lowest point, my highest stress, my least hopeful moment … something, ANYTHING, positive was a move in the right direction, a way of ‘working to make things better.’ Each day was a new day, and a spinning class at least meant I’d accomplished SOMETHING beneficial that day.

When you’re overwhelmed, it’s the little things … the little things that can move you toward a less stressed life. The moments of the day that hopefully add up to making things better.

You are not alone, overwhelmedThe major part of my ‘therapeutic’ spinning? That I spin with a group of friends. We check in on each other if we don’t show up. (We’ve been known to send pictures of lonely bikes to guilt our spin friends into being there the following day.) In fact, last week I thought we weren’t spinning and got a text that Lisa was there waiting on me. What did I do? I got in my car and went to spin with a friend!

I’ve found, these 5 Things to Help when you Feel Overwhelmed:

1. BREATHE. Stop. Deep breath. Close your eyes. Another deep breath. If you can, put your timer on five or ten minutes and sit on your couch or lay on the floor, and just breathe deep. Concentrate on you. Don’t go over all the things you have to do, give yourself a break to just breathe! Shavasana yoga girls!

2. Do SOMETHING Productive. Like my spin class is to me, get off the couch and take a walk,  take a yoga class or do yoga to a video on YouTube. Check off one item on your list, SOMETHING. Whatever you can look back on at the end of the day and know you’ve accomplished something productive. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that doing something productive will make you feel better.

3. Make a LIST. Make a PLAN. I’m a big list-maker. It helps me remember things. It also can help me combine errands, plan my day. Get on a schedule of reviewing your list in the morning, re-assessing your goals/strategy on Mondays – whatever works for you. Just come up with a plan to make it through this stressful time.

4. Volunteer. Help someone else. Nothing like focusing on others to re-set your thoughts and mood. Even at my most overwhelmed, stressed, challenging day – it’s got to be better than the young girl with the dog who holds a sign asking for money. It’s definitely better than the friend dealing with cancer or the loss of a parent or loved one. Better yet, grab a friend and start the girlfriend tradition of volunteering together – do good and have fun with a friend!

5. (Our favorite here at Girlfriendology!) Phone a Friend. Phone the friend who is calming, caring, supportive, positive. Choose to either tell her about your situation and ask for her help, advice. OR just have a fun conversation. Laugh together. Share your lives. It will help. Guaranteed.

I’m sorry that you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s not an easy feeling to shake. It’s the thing that keeps you (and me!) awake in the middle of the night. It’s the excuse we have for snacking, for being short with others, for retreating from our friends.

Did you know that female friendship reduces stress? It does. There are studies that prove it. (Like the book, The Tending Instinct.) We’re not suggesting that a few minutes with a friend will remove ALL your stress and eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed. But, it will help. And, it may be just what you need to give you a reprieve from the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Try it. Make whatever arrangements you need to make to plan a night with a girlfriend. (It could be a group of friends but make sure that the dynamics will be very supportive of you and your current ‘dilemma’ of stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed.) Get your most supportive girlfriend(s), and plan a night of just plain and simple ‘girlfriend therapy.’ There’s nothing else like it for reducing stress, for reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Try it. Then share about it below.

So, Dear Girlfriend who is feeling overwhelmed – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You have your friends.

They’ll be there for you when you’re stressed. They’ll remind you to be hopeful and that you can accomplish things toward your goals, they’ll help keep your dreams alive, they’ll hug you and make you laugh when you wanted to cry.

How do YOU deal with being overwhelmed? What’s your girlfriend advice? Share below!

More to help you with feeling stressed …

This week on Girlfriendology …

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