You know the feeling.

You wake up in the morning and already feel like you are behind. Your heart and your thoughts are racing. During the day when a friend or co-worker asks how you are doing, you reply, “I’m overwhelmed.”

You are stressed.

Most stress is born in the gap that lies between the demands and expectations we are facing every day and the resources and ability that we believe we have to meet those demands. Stress comes when we feel that we do not have enough time or money or skill or energy to do everything that needs to be done. At times the gap seems insurmountable and we do not know how to manage.

There are three ways to understand and address this kind of stress.

If the gap between demands and resources is the problem, one way to deal with it is to adjust the demands or expectations. Did I just hear you laugh?  Demands don’t usually feel very adjustable. But the truth is, there are some demands that can be adjusted. You might discover that there are demands you make of yourself by expecting perfection when good enough will do. You can learn to say no more often in order to give yourself some breathing room. You can take time to prioritize so that all of the demands on you don’t feel like equal burdens.

The second way to address this kind of stress is to increase your resources. Self-acceptance can increase your emotional fortitude. Improving communication skills might help you ask for support from the people in your life. Organizational skills can help you feel like you have more time.  And trying new things might make it easier the next time around. You probably have strengths that you don’t always recognize that can help you live your life more fully.

The third way to deal with stress is to learn to live more comfortably in the gap. You can identify the kind of stress that can be accepted as a challenge to push yourself further. Relaxation and mindfulness skills can help you get through the day and sleep better at night. Practicing gratitude is a powerful spiritual resource when life is harder than you expected. A sense of humor can go a long way.

Stress does not have to be a way of life. If you’d like to change your answer from “I’m overwhelmed” to, “I’m feeling more like myself.”  I’d love to work with you to find solutions to make that happen.

Cari Shields

Cari Shields

Womens & Couples Therapist

When you come in by yourself or as a couple, my goal is to make it okay for you to be you. I provide a space to restore healthy connections & the joy of life.

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