It’s hard enough to feel kind, compassionate and thoughtful on a normal day, but when you’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, it’s nearly impossible.  Stress makes us less able to see the positive things that are happening around us. It also makes us more easily upset and we have a more difficult time coming back to calm even after a small problem. This is all a normal part of feeling stressed out. When we’ve been under and undue amount of stress for a while, we can easily tip into feeling overwhelmed. That’s when it seems like even the smallest and simplest of things is just too much to bear. We feel like the hits keep coming even though we are doing everything in our power to stay on top of things. And we feel we’re failing.

Stress takes a big toll on our relationships, too. When we feel overwhelmed and annoyed, our possible level of patience (which may not be great on a normal day) is even smaller. We are more likely to be short or even rude to others, and small problems bloom into big ones with the slightest provocation.  Our tempers are close to the surface, and we do not feel like we can manage one more thing. And when we find ourselves being negative towards the other people in our lives, it’s easy to judge ourselves rather harshly.

I find that when we are under a lot of pressure and feeling overwhelmed it’s particularly difficult to be compassionate towards ourselves. It’s hard to see all the ways we really are working hard and tend to think that the reason we are not seeing results is because we are doing something wrong. It’s also hard to acknowledge that maybe there isn’t anything we can fix in this moment. It’s important to also remember that this is temporary and this, too, with change soon.

Something we can do in this moment, though, is to develop more compassion towards ourselves and our situation. We can listen to how we are talking to ourselves and try to say more kind words that will support us in difficult times. We can stop and take a break from all the hustle and stress to do things that will really make us feel good, whether it’s taking a walk to calm ourselves or taking a nap to get some much-needed rest. We can ask for help from others, or at least let them know what is going on with us so they can make different decisions about how and what to approach us with. We can let go of some of our own expectations of ourselves that might be a little too high so we can be more realistic about what is possible. We can laugh at ourselves to lighten up. We can take a long look at what really is going well, because we’ve probably lost sight of that.

Take some time today to be kind to yourself. You’re worth it!