5 things to do when you are feeling overwhelmed

According to Google, overwhelm means to “bury or drown beneath a huge mass.” Are you feeling overwhelmed? If yes, know that you’re not alone. I mentioned in my last article that a BCIT student takes a minimum of seven courses per term – that’s a lot.

As a second-year student at BCIT, I’ve had plenty of encounters with overwhelming episodes already. How did I overcome them? Here are the five things I do when I feel overwhelmed.

1) Talk to a friend

Verbalizing my overwhelming thoughts lets out all my bottled emotions. It was scary at first, but with the right person, I felt understood. My advice is to open up to someone you know very well. Also, the Counselling and Student Development office provides confidential counseling sessions with an expert. In this way, you rest assured that you’re in good hands.

2) Take deep breaths

Taking deep breaths is an effective way to reduce stress. It combats the rapid and short breaths caused by feelings of panic. So, inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this until you feel relaxed, calm, and collected. If you’re a person who loves phone apps, there are some great apps out there that can help you with these deep, slow breaths. For example, try Calm or Headspace.

3) Do something you love

BCIT-When Feeling Overwhelmed This is my favourite part because you get to do something you enjoy doing. I like watching movies with a delicious dessert while in my pyjamas. When I feel overwhelmed, I take a pause and do something I enjoy. Take a moment and think about what you like to do. Then, do it.

4) Speak positive affirmations to yourself

Talking to yourself may sound foolish. However, with practice it gets easier. I frequently say to myself that I can do it and that I am doing a great job. Sometimes, the only way to help yourself to get out of overwhelming situations is to be kind to yourself. Now, say it with me: “I can do this!”

5) Meditate

BCIT-When Feeling Overwhelmed Having quiet time helps me to calm down in stressful situations. Personally, I like reading the bible, meditating on a bible quote, and praying quietly. BCIT is very diverse, with people of different beliefs and religious affiliations. Take time to reflect on whatever has meaning for you. There are contemplation rooms at each campus that you can use for meditation. Additionally, Counselling and Student Development offers a 30-minute Mindfulness Breaks workshop.

BONUS: Develop your resilience

Here’s a bonus tip for you: work on developing your resilience. Resilience is the ability to overcome your feelings of overwhelm. Check out this great guide for Developing Personal and Academic Resilience. The activities can help you identify the strategies that will work best for you.

My fellow BCIT students – hang in there! We’re at the last leg of midterms, and every moment of hard work you put in counts towards a brighter future. Therefore, keep your head up. It’s all going to be worth it.

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