Feeling overwhelmed is a huge and difficult emotion! Your heart may be racing and it feels like it is hard to breath. Like you are drowning with no way out. You are overcome by life’s problems to the point that you feel paralyzed and unable to move forward. It sucks!
Feeling overwhelmed can also be a symptom of anxiety. Do see a healthcare professional if you need to.
Want to stop being overwhelmed with life? First, know that there are things that you can do. No matter your energy levels, how much you have on your plate or the life circumstances you cannot control or change.
Sometimes feeling overwhelmed just comes upon us and other times its a huge long season. Take a small step forward today with one of these helpful ideas below. Choose one or two that resonates with you to start with. Make some of them a regular practice as you can!
Things You Can Do When Life Feels Overwhelming
Set a timer if you have to for 15 minutes. Lie down somewhere comfortable and focus on your normal every day breathing. The sound of your breath and the movement of your chest up and down. When you brain gets squirrely and distracted, as it will multiple times, bring your thoughts back to noticing your breath.
Whether it feels like it or not, this helps! This is now a daily practice for me and it has made such a big difference. To learn more check out the book, Peak Mind.
2. Reduce The Noise
Sensory overload can lead to feeling overwhelmed very quickly. Lots of noise, a cluttered or busy environment, smells and textures. Move to a place that is quieter or turn off some of the noise. Notice how you feel as you make changes to your environment.
3. Get Outdoors
Get out into the sunshine. Notice what you can hear, smell, see and feel around you. Change your perspective by looking up into the trees or gazing up at the sky. Similar with going outside at night and looking up at the stars.
If it is available to you, walk or drive to a place where there is water. Look out at a huge expanse of ocean, hear the crash of waves, feel the sand and water.
4. Talk To A Friend
Share your worries with a safe friend. It is powerful to voice aloud the rambling of thoughts we carry in our head and not feel alone. Sometimes you just need to start the conversation with a text.
Do whatever it is you enjoy doing for exercise. Make it a priority! Similar to sleep below, taking time to exercise will give you more energy to do whatever you need to do.
Don’t have a habit of moving? Go for a 10 minute walk around the block. Start small!
6. Go To Bed
It may seem counterintuitive when you are feeling so overwhelmed, to spend more time sleeping. However getting 7 to 8 hours sleep every night actually helps you to be more productive, get more done and make better decisions on how to use your time.
7. Write A List
Write down all the things you feel you need to be doing or should be do. Go through and cross off anything that is unimportant or could be done at a different time. If you have difficulty deciding what to let go of, ask yourself “What would happen if this task didn’t get done?”.
8. Say No
Feeling a huge sense of dread about a project or event that you’ve committed to. See it as a sign to reconsider your involvement. It is ok to say no, even after you’ve said yes!
9. Have A Cup Of Tea
Not only have researchers found that drinking tea lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol but the practice itself of making a cup of tea and sitting down to drink can be helpful too.
10. Practice Gratitude
Simple really! Think of 3 things that have been good about your day. Or think of 3 things that are good at this current moment. Write them down if you like.
The book, The Resilience Project is amazing for motivation to have a daily gratitude practice.
11. Write In A Journal
Give yourself permission to think and feel deeply. Write it down just as it comes. No judgement. Tear up the paper when you are finished and let it go.
12. Take A Bath or A Hot Shower
It feels good and it is relaxing. It can help with the next suggestion too. Even better if you can turn into an experience of self-care; candles, scents, self-massage.
13. Sort Out A Cupboard Or Clean
Accomplishing a task gives you a boost of feel good dopamine. It also provides movement for your body. Trick is to only take on something small that will have a big visual impact. Choose a task that doesn’t require a lot of mental energy and decision making.
14. Read A Book Or Watch A Show
Take a break from thinking and worrying by getting engrossed in the lives of other people. Keep the content light hearted. Even better if its something that makes you laugh out loud!
Think back to high school. What was one of your favourite songs? Play the tune, turn it up loud and move your body.
These small things won’t change the problems you are facing initially but hopefully they will help you to feel less overwhelmed. Take care of yourself. You are worth it!