Knowing When to Reach Out

What to do when you feel overwhelmed: You can always reach out for support! 

Do you need to take a “time out” to make sense of what’s really happening in your life?

Are you incredibly busy or feeling intensely stressed?

Are things just feeling a bit out of control?

Perhaps you hurt inside or need to put things on hold for a while. Or maybe you just need a warm hug.

This happens a lot during graduate school, but you need not be a graduate student to feel overwhelmed. There are times when you can feel totally alone, like there is no one in your life who really understands what you are going through–or seems to care.

Trust me, I’ve been there. Life can be totally overwhelming at times. It’s okay to admit it.

It is also okay to close your eyes and rest, meditate, be at peace. Listen to your favorite music, take a walk in the evening. Listen to the sound of your breathing or your heartbeat. Reach out to your closest friend, partner, spouse or family member and say I need you. Take an oath of loving kindness for yourself.

If you are a highly sensitive person like me, you’ve probably learned a lot already about your personality, your temperament, your needs and your passions. Consider the advice from Carmen Jacob, author of How to Build a Personal and Family Support System.

I would love to help you sort things out. Gradmentor provides a range of career and personal resources, research tools, counseling services and guidance. Most of all, you may contact me for further assistance. 


Author: Scott Kerlin

Dr. Scott Kerlin received his Ph.D in Organizational Behavior and Counseling from the University of Oregon in 1992. He also holds Master's degrees in Management/Organizational Psychology and Public Administration. He has extensive academic research leadership and professional development work with graduate students in U.S. and Canadian universities. Details are available at

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