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Emotional Distress: The Warning Signs and How to Stop It

It is normal for people to get stressed. Life can get very busy, we have work responsibilities, home and childcare duties, as well as taking time to take care of our mental health – personal time with friends or spending some quiet moments alone. However, there are times when emotional stress can become overwhelming and when it stops you from being able to function or even makes you feel like you’re going crazy, this is emotional distress.

When we aren’t coping with our daily tasks and don’t feel like ourselves, this can take a massive toll on our relationships and contribute to isolation, depression, and other mental health challenges. To avoid this, it’s important to know the warning signs and how to stop these symptoms.

Become aware of your changed emotional state: distress

The first and most important thing you can learn to do is recognize when you are not coping. It is best not to deny that you’re feeling distressed so that you are able to tackle your stressors head-on and become solution-focused.  

You may not have a reason for why you’re feeling distressed, but this isn’t always important at first. You don’t need to rationalize or justify why this is the outcome – just to admit you’re not coping – to yourself and then to a trusted loved one. You may need some extra support, so opening up to at least one person is a great start. If you begin struggling more, you will have someone on your team to help guide and support you, as well as encourage you when you might be feeling too down to motivate yourself through the hard times.

Create a routine

Most people already have a routine, especially if you have children, but this is a routine centered around self-care. Unfortunately, you will need to get your responsibilities taken care of first and make sure that your duties, such as your bills, going to work, childcare, are sorted. Making prioritized to-do lists and utilizing a diary can help your brain focus on getting the most important things done. Then, you will be able to see what chores, duties, or plans can take a back seat while you spend some more time with yourself, relaxing, and figuring out how to move forward.

Focus on one task at a time and try not to think about the other things you’re not achieving. Give yourself some leeway in doing your best, but developing a routine that helps you stabilize through some structure.

Consider your action plan

Are you going to enter therapy? Do you need a coach? You may want to consider joining a support group or instill a weekly self-care coffee session with a friend. Counselors of this site indicate that you might want to explore professional help if there is an underlying problem. Attending even one session with a professional can guide you in the right direction, giving you more peace of mind about your personal plan to get back on track!

Get social support

You may want to consider telling someone else in your inner circle, family, or friend group that you aren’t doing well. Choose someone who can be emotionally available and someone who you talk to often and with whom you are comfortable.

Everyone hates feeling like others are checking on them, but you do not need to suffer alone. Telling someone you’re distressed might be e relief. They may ask questions that will lead to some insights, clarity, and greater perspective on your situation. They can perhaps help you if you aren’t keeping up with your personal needs or responsibilities. Additionally, you can also reach out to them if you’re needing a voice of reason and they will understand where you’re at and how best to help you.

Always reflect on your progress, and improve!

Looking back on how far you’ve come, you may realize after some time that a crisis was inevitable. Sometimes – and often for too long – we do a great job at holding our stressors and struggles together! Then suddenly, or perhaps over a long time, our ability to hold on dwindles. And when we stop coping, this is when emotional distress takes over…Coping with mental health is not always easy, but there are endless mental health resources. Though it may not be comfortable tending to your life stressors and personal issues, learning more about yourself can be life-changing. For now, it is worth pursuing strong social support, building skills and coping techniques for your mental health toolbox, and having the self-awareness that will allow you to take control when your current way of living is not working.