What to do when you feel overwhelmed

what to do when you feel overwhelmed

Whether you have too much to do or are simply going through a rough patch: it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to handle life. 

As Lifehack.org puts it, everyone feels overwhelmed by expectations, responsibilities and lacking of time at work, in relationships and other aspects of life once in a while.

But even though we know that being overwhelmed is normal, it’s still not a nice feeling to have.

Today, I want to share a couple of tips that you can try whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressed. I really hope that you find them helpful!

Remove unnecessary tasks from your to-do list

Feeling overwhelmed is not always a by-product of having too much to do. For example, I tend to get stressed out by any administrative issues, even when I technically have enough time to deal with them.

Overwhelm often occurs when there are just too many different things going on, whether that’s in your life or in your head. And to remedy that, the first step is to remove unnecessary tasks from your to-do list.

You have a super busy week with tons of projects to finish, but your house needs cleaning as well? Maybe put that off until next week.

You have an upcoming test or appointment that’s really stressing you out and you simply can’t concentrate on any work? Try focusing on self-care instead and maybe complete your work after said test or appointment.

If you’re already stressed, try to be as nice to yourself as possible. It’s better to prioritise your mental health than to be productive at all cost!

Cancel plans that just don’t fit 

Sometimes, the only way to stop feeling overwhelmed is to clear up your schedule.

Let me give you an example.

Since my fiancé and I live far away from our families, we tend to program weekends to see them quite regularly. One of these visits was planned during a super busy time. 

During the entire week, I felt like I was unable to get my work done and also tackle the housework and prepare our trip. On Friday, I still had not packed my suitcase, although we were supposed to leave the same day. 

And then, it hit me: I didn’t have to go. I could simply decide to stay home and let my fiancé visit his family alone.

Suddenly, a giant weight fell off my shoulders. Within seconds, I had gained two additional days to tackle my to-do list. And I didn’t feel overwhelmed anymore. 

Sometimes, it’s better to let go of plans that make you feel stressed. Especially if you can easily reschedule them. 

And if you’re worried about disappointing someone: don’t be! Everyone knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed, and they’ll understand. 

Plus, it’s better to meet with people when you can actually focus on them instead of freaking out about a giant workload that’s awaiting you at home!

Ask for help

For some reason, so many of us never even consider asking for help. Maybe we unconsciously fear that people won’t be willing to help. Or we might feel like a failure if we can’t manage to do everything by ourselves. 

Yet in reality, getting some help might be the best solution to feeling overwhelmed. 

Think about it that way: if a family member, your partner or a colleague is struggling, wouldn’t you be glad to be of help? Unless they dump all of their tasks on you, you probably would, right?

So, consider that people will gladly assist you. As long as you don’t ask them to do everything.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed and ask my fiancé for help, he never says no. And him taking care of some of the stuff lifts such a weight off my shoulders!

Take time to do yoga or meditate

Overwhelm is a feeling, not a physical state. Most of the time, we don’t actually lack time. Instead, we feel like our brain can’t handle so many things at once. Multi-tasking just doesn’t work as well as we’d like it to!

A good way to calm down your nervous system is to practice yoga or meditation. It will help you get out of your head and see the bigger picture. Yes, your life might be a bit difficult at the moment. But you’ve felt that way before, and you’ve gotten through it. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t succeed this time!

Taking some time for yourself becomes even more important when we feel like it’s impossible. It prevents us from running around like headless chickens. Instead, it helps put things into perspective and approach that overwhelming to-do list methodically.

Start with the easiest part

Usually, I prefer starting my days by completing the most important and/or stressful task first. But whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, this doesn’t work as well.

Starting with something small and easy and working your way up can do wonders for your mental state. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the first tasks you tackle, you ease into them and tackle your to-do list one step at a time.

And when most of the tasks are done, you should feel calm enough to handle the bigger ones as well.

Sleep, eat and relax 

Nothing feels more overwhelming than feeling like you have no time to sleep, eat or relax. Taking care of yourself should always come first, no matter how big your workload is!

So, sleep in if you’re overly tired. Make yourself a healthy meal or snack. And whenever you feel like you need a break, take one.

While this seems counterproductive at first, it really works! Instead of wasting precious time, you’re actually making sure that you’re much calmer and more concentrated during the hours where you do work. You’ll make fewer mistakes, see solutions more clearly, and get done more quickly overall. Doesn’t this sound good?

And once you stop being sleep-deprived, hungry and exhausted, you’ll also feel much less overwhelmed!

What to do when you're feeling overwhelmed

Now, I would love to know what you like to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed! Please let me know in the comments. 🙂 And don’t forget to share this post on social media if you found it helpful!

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