Strategies for the sick and overwhelmed

Everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes.  Life is particularly difficult to deal with when given a serious diagnosis.  I looked for an article that would help people feeling overwhelmed while dealing with illness and discovered that I will have to write it!

These strategies will help anyone feeling overwhelmed but are particularly useful if you are sick:

  1. Remember to take one step at a time.  While I am all for looking at life from a big picture point of view sometimes the reason we get overwhelmed is because we are taking too much on at once.  Often it helps to break problems into steps.  If you are looking at years of treatment, focus on what you need to do this week, and then today to reach your treatment goals. Today you might need to: eat plenty of fruit and vegetables; go for a five minute walk; take your medication.
  2. Get organised.  I find using a week to a page diary gives me a good overview of the week and helps me stay focused on what needs to happen.  Organising food and an outfit the night before doctor's appointment takes stress away.  You may need to get your carer/s to do this but it will help them and you.
  3. Keep life simple.  We tend to get overwhelmed because we make life unnecessarily complicated.  I recommend making life as simple as possible by throwing out unnecessary stuff.  I recommend reading Peter Walsh's books.
  4. A treat a day.  Make sure you do something that's enjoyable every day.  It can be as inexpensive and simple as: a cup of tea in sunshine; calling a friend or family member you trust to be supportive ; taking your dog for a walk; picking fresh flowers and putting them in a vase; reading a favourite book.
  5. Colour therapy.  I find cheerful colours help me feel better.  Splashes of bright colours can cheer up your surrounds in no time and need not be expensive.  As much as is reasonable banish grey colours from your decor as it does nothing good for mood.
  6. Ask for help and support from people who can give it to you.  Talking to your church pastor and a psychologist you trust, a social worker or chaplain are all good ideas.  Sometimes friends and family do not have the skill necessary to be helpful.
  7. Journal. I find writing in a journal can help.  Sometimes just writing on a piece of paper and throwing it out is helpful.  
  8. Creative outlet.  If physically possible find a creative outlet to give your mind a break from thinking about your problems.  You could do a puzzle; play board games; draw pictures; create a scrap book.

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