Helpful Things to Do When You Find Yourself Feeling Overwhelmed

  *This is a collaborative post. Although no one likes feeling overwhelmed, it's certainly a common occurrence in life, and can cause al...


*This is a collaborative post.

Although no one likes feeling overwhelmed, it's certainly a common occurrence in life, and can cause all sorts of stress and upset. There are many reasons someone may feel overwhelmed. Some of these may be quite obvious and clear, while others can be a little more difficult to pinpoint. A source of stress and overwhelm in life could be anything ranging from a real health issue experienced by a loved one, to looming deadlines at work that you're struggling to meet. You might feel overwhelmed if you find yourself falling behind with your household chores or interpersonal obligations and you feel like there is no way to regain balance and get back on track.

As there are many reasons to feel overwhelmed, this means that there are many things you can do to get rid of the feeling, ranging from things like finding out how to free up some space on your Mac, to more substantial subjects.

Here are some tips to help you feel less overwhelmed and get back in control.


Act in a way that helps your sense of personal coherence, and that aligns with your conscience

It is not always possible for you to change your circumstances. However, you have the power to act in a way that makes you feel whole and coherent whenever you are in such situations. Too often, stressful and difficult situations can put undue pressure on us and cause us to unravel in many ways. This includes destroying our daily routines, distracting from our true priorities, or placing us in situations that make us more likely to feel guilty at how we’ve conducted ourselves.

Listen to your inner voice to determine if you are on the right track or are allowing yourself to fall into patterns of action that make you dislike yourself. By acting in alignment with your true self and who you want to be, you can help yourself to make the best of a bad situation, and to be light to others as well. It's generally true that the more you're able to act in ways that make you feel whole and coherent, the easier it will be for you to keep your head up and not become overwhelmed by frustrating and stressful situations. 

Develop daily routines to help you step out of your own thoughts

Our own minds and internal chatter can be both a challenge and blessing. If you feel overwhelmed, it's likely that your mind is tangled up in negative thoughts that are making it difficult for you to get out of, or take an active break from, certain concerns or fears. If you get caught up in negative thought spirals, stressful situations can seem exponentially more stressful. It can be very difficult to shift to a more positive outlook that will actually help you make positive changes.

It is important to create a daily routine that will help you get out of your own thoughts and spirals or rumination.

There are many practices that do this, and meditation, mindfulness, and regular walks in the natural world can all help. In fact, the psychological concept of a "flow state," coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, suggests that any time you are engaged in an activity that you find deeply gripping, you can experience a sense of timelessness and can benefit from a break from your normal repetitive thoughts.

Take care of yourself to the greatest extent possible

Self-care is a topic that is being discussed a lot more these days than ever before. More people are realizing how important it is for them to take proactive steps to protect and nurture their sense of well-being. It's common to feel overwhelmed when you are frustrated or annoyed, but you can manage stress better during stressful times by following a self-care program to the best of your ability. It can also help you bounce back and keep a sense of balance.

You can have a simple self-care routine that includes listening to guided visualization recordings in the evening, taking a hot bath, and even indulging in regular spa days. Remember that taking care of your health is vital.


If possible, take active steps to gain ground and stay ahead

Often, feeling overwhelmed can be a sign that you are "behind" the curve in some way. If you feel overwhelmed by work or have multiple chores that need to be completed, you will likely feel that sense of overwhelm. It might be possible to delegate, defer, or reschedule some tasks. However, you can likely also find ways to eliminate certain tasks and increase your confidence by actively trying to gain ground.

To help you succeed, use a task management tool or planner

Using an effective task management tool and planner - whether that's a traditional notebook system, or a modern app or program such as Nozbe or Todoist, can really help you to properly deal with the tasks and obligations that you have on your plate when you're in a hectic and generally overwhelming situation.

You will feel less overwhelmed if you can keep track and manage the details in a systematic way. This will help you to feel more in control and restore balance. 

Say "no" more often

It is sometimes possible to avoid a stressful and overwhelming situation by practicing the age-old art of saying no to any potential commitments or obligations that you don’t absolutely have to take on. This can help to make overwhelming situations less overwhelming, and can enable you to regain control and a sense of autonomy. There are certain obligations that you simply can't and shouldn't say no to, of course. But if you feel overwhelmed all the time, it's possible that you're accepting too many obligations that you don’t need to. 

Reduce your time horizon, and only take one step at a given time

If you feel overwhelmed, it can sometimes be more harmful than beneficial to let yourself get caught up in long-term plans, concerns, and expectations. The best way to make the situation easier and more manageable is to reduce your time horizon and focus on one step at a time. It's certainly good to have a broad "big picture sense" of what's going on, and a sense of the direction you want to head in, but adding excessive concern about the future is certainly not likely to help make the present moment seem any less overwhelming. 



As school starts back and many people are adding daily commutes and in-person environments back onto their plates, it's more important now that ever to find ways to reduce stress and overwhelm. Hopefully a few of these tricks really resonate with you.



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