August 10, 2022

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How to Cope with Feeling Overwhelmed | Mark’s Daily Apple

“Some days you will feel like the ocean. Some days you will feel like you are drowning in it.”

—Lora Mathis

Ain’t that the reality. Life comes at you quick. You get laid off and don’t have the funds for in financial savings, a member of the family will get sick, your automobile will get totaled. All of a sudden, you’re completely underwater.

Often, although, it’s not one catastrophic occasion that will get you; it’s the sum whole of all of the small-to-medium-sized stressors in your life. Death by papercuts, if you’ll. Overwhelm outcomes from having an excessive amount of or not sufficient — an excessive amount of to do, too many duties, not sufficient cash or time.

Overwhelm shortly turns into a vicious cycle, because it requires power and assets (neither of which you will have in abundance) to dig your self out. A traditional signal of overwhelm is feeling such as you’ve misplaced management over your circumstances, like issues are occurring to you rather than for you or since you selected them.

You can’t govern all of the sources of stress in your life, however you’ll have extra management than you understand. At the very least, there are in all probability methods to govern your schedule and atmosphere so your stress triggers aren’t so triggering.

Start by asking your self, “What would need to change in order for me to feel less overwhelmed?” If simply that step feels overwhelming, don’t fear. You’re about to start out taking motion, and motion is empowering.

Coping with Overwhelm

  • Signs of overwhelm embrace:
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Trouble focusing
  • Catastrophic pondering
  • Worry, nervousness
  • Lack of motivation

When you’re already overwhelmed, taking motion can really feel not possible. However, even when you possibly can’t repair all the pieces all of sudden, there are nearly all the time small, manageable steps you possibly can take to get the ball rolling.


Get Organized

Disorganization feels chaotic, and chaos is overwhelming.

  • Everyone wants a calendar and a system for organizing to-do lists. Trying to maintain all the pieces straight in your head is a recipe for catastrophe. There are limitless choices right here: Google Calendar, iCal, Evernote, iPhone Memos, Anylist, old school paper and pencil, bullet journaling, and on and on. The greatest one is the one which works for you.
  • Start your day by making your to-do checklist, organizing duties so as of significance and due date. Before mentally testing for the night, look forward to tomorrow’s calendar so that you don’t miss early appointments. (Hint: Use behavior stacking to make these practices second nature.)
  • Create a shared calendar with members of the family so you possibly can see everybody’s schedule in a single place.
  • Use your calendar for every day appointments in addition to recurring commitments and duties, together with issues like paying bank cards and altering the air filter in your own home. That method, you by no means have to recollect to do them and stress while you neglect.

Cull Your Commitments

For most individuals I do know, being overcommitted and over-busy is their largest supply of overwhelm. Chances are, you say sure to too many issues, too.

What may be outsourced? Put off? Canceled altogether?

Delegate and Outsource

Delegating and outsourcing duties frees up time, psychological power, and different assets so you possibly can focus on the issues that matter most. Asking for assist can really feel weak, although. Rather than admit they’re struggling, people attempt to energy via on their very own, all of the whereas digging themselves right into a deeper emotional gap.

Delegating additionally means ceding management over how issues get completed. You must get comfy with letting individuals do issues their method, even when it’s not how you’d do it. Your method would possibly certainly be greatest, however theirs might be ok.

As Ann Landers mentioned, “Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”

Let children do extra

Parental burnout is a widespread downside, partially as a result of mother and father at present really feel (actual or imagined) stress to make their youngsters’s lives as straightforward as potential. Moms, particularly, typically consider we’re failing by some means if we aren’t doing absolutely the most. Yet, we additionally perceive that doing all the pieces for our youngsters doesn’t actually assist any of us in the long term.

While they will’t drive themselves to bounce class or cope with the barrage of paperwork that comes dwelling from college, children can do age-appropriate chores. Pick a pair stuff you’d wish to take off your plate and educate your children to do them. Let them choose up after themselves, fold their very own laundry, or pack their very own lunches (with choices you present).

Don’t fall into the lure of, “It’s easier just to do it myself.” That’s solely true till they discover ways to do issues correctly and settle for their new duties. Don’t allow them to put on you down with whining and half-hearted efforts. Power via. Short-term ache for long-term achieve.

Hire it out

To the diploma your monetary scenario permits, search for methods to purchase extra freedom in your schedule. There are loads of people who find themselves completely happy to take your cash in change for cleansing your own home, doing yard work, or serving to your children with their homework. Virtual assistants can schedule appointments, make journey preparations, and do different small duties that construct up in your to-do checklist.

Think of it as contributing to the economic system whereas additionally decreasing your stress, a win-win.

Say No More Often

You know this. I do know you already know this. So why is it such a battle? Because saying no means setting a boundary, and most of the people aren’t comfy with boundaries. They really feel icky till you get used the concept that, when employed appropriately, boundaries defend your house, psychological well being, and even your relationships.

Repeat after me: saying no isn’t imply, impolite, or egocentric. Saying no to stuff you aren’t enthusiastic about permits you to commit your valuable time to individuals and alternatives that gentle you up. They profit from getting a greater, much less frazzled model of your self.

The extra you say no, the extra you understand how lots of the issues in your calendar and to-do checklist are optionally available. The world doesn’t disintegrate while you flip down a committee project or miss a celebration, notably not while you proceed to indicate up as a dependable worker and caring good friend in different methods.

Start saying no to issues that aren’t a “heck yes!” If mandatory, attempt to extricate your self from ongoing commitments which can be now not rewarding. Explain that whilst you’d love to assist/take part/set up/donate your time, your scenario has modified, and also you now not have the assets. If potential, counsel somebody who can take your house.

Put Routines in Place

Routines cut back resolution fatigue and inject a comforting sense of familiarity into your day. morning routine units your time without work on the best meals, whereas a relaxed, comforting night routine places you in the best headspace for a restorative evening’s sleep.

Setting up weekly routines retains you organized and reduces strife with different members of your family. Chore charts, for instance, designate what chores get completed every day and by whom. Overflowing laundry hampers are much less overwhelming when you already know somebody will deal with them tomorrow.

Variety stands out as the spice of life, however while you’re feeling overwhelmed, embrace the idea of strategic repetition. Choose three to 5 favourite breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and exercises, then cycle via them on repeat. Mix in one thing new while you really feel bored or notably impressed.

Try Block Scheduling

With block scheduling, you divide your weeks into segments designated for particular duties. Your blocks may embrace:

  • Work
  • Chores
  • Parenting
  • School
  • Fun household time
  • Fitness
  • Personal/non secular progress
  • Hobbies
  • Friend time
  • Whatever else is sensible for you

Don’t neglect to incorporate a block for leisure and self-care (non-negotiable!) and a “miscellaneous” block the place you possibly can stick the random duties that come up.

Make a weekly template based mostly on how a lot time you want for every block, personalized to your wants. Organize your to-do lists round every block. For instance, you would possibly designate an hour on Tuesdays and Fridays for family adulting—paying payments, scheduling repairs, and the like. If one thing breaks on Monday, and it’s not pressing, put it on the family to-do checklist and deal with it on Tuesday.

Focus on One Thing at a Time

As a lot as I’d like to have the ability to multitask successfully, the actual fact is that it doesn’t work. It might really feel such as you’re saving time, however you’re much less productive total while you attempt to divide your focus between a number of duties. Plus, while you’re already feeling overwhelmed, having your consideration pulled in a number of instructions without delay could make you’re feeling much more frenzied.

When you’re working, place your cellphone out of attain and put it on airplane mode in case you can. Close extraneous tabs. Turn off electronic mail notifications and decide to checking your electronic mail much less typically all through the day—each hour or two as an alternative of each 4 minutes.

Give your self 20 or half-hour at a time to deal with one factor and one factor solely. Longer is nice in case you get right into a flow state, however don’t neglect to take work breaks to maneuver your physique, too.

Employ Transition Rituals

One of the tougher components of working from dwelling, as so many people have completed for the previous 12 months and a half, is the dearth of separation between work life and residential life. We’re all the time right here. Work bleeds into home life and vice versa, and it’s laborious to create applicable divisions of time and house.

Transition rituals give your mind and physique time to pause, reorient, and re-energize between duties. They sign that it’s time to vary gears, closing one door earlier than opening one other. For instance, when my children depart for varsity within the morning, I placed on correct garments (no working in pajamas), begin the important oil diffuser on my desk, and placed on some gentle music. That tells my mind that it’s time to work. On mornings the place I skip these steps, I really feel notably much less targeted. At the tip of the workday, I make a degree of closing my laptop computer and pushing in my desk chair.

Other transition rituals may embrace making a cup of tea earlier than sitting down to review or doing a fast microworkout earlier than conferences.

Automate Where You Can

It takes only some minutes to set payments to autopay, arrange reminders in your calendar for recurring duties, or activate electronic mail filters that preserve your inbox extra organized.

Small enterprise homeowners and self-employed people can profit from low-cost companies to assist automate payroll, invoicing, and different straightforward however time-sucking duties.

Lose the Clutter

When you’re already feeling overwhelmed, a crowded, disorganized dwelling atmosphere solely contributes to the stress. Look round. Does your own home really feel soothing, or does it make you’re feeling anxious in its present state?

If the latter, it’s time to wash, set up, and purge. Start small, with one room, even one drawer. Fill one bag with stuff to donate. Keep chipping away. Each little little bit of progress ought to present some instant reduction. If the issue is large enough and you may afford it, rent a housecleaner or skilled organizer to assist put issues proper. Then, do all the pieces you possibly can to maintain it that method.

Block, Unfollow, Delete

Sometimes social media supplies a welcome escape, nevertheless it will also be a breeding floor for social comparability, self-doubt, and FOMO. That’s the very last thing you want while you’re already feeling overwhelmed.

Ruthlessly curate your social media and unfollow anybody who makes you’re feeling insecure or sad. Hide or block individuals who drain you emotionally by inflicting drama in your timeline. Consider deleting apps altogether if you end up losing time you don’t must spare by scrolling.

Fill Your Bucket

Coping with overwhelm isn’t all the time about doing much less. Sometimes you really want extra—extra time with associates, higher self-soothing or leisure practices, extra enjoyable. All too typically, the issues that nurture our souls are the primary issues we let slide as a result of they really feel optionally available. Preserving your psychological wellbeing just isn’t optionally available. What do you want extra of?

What to Do In the Moment When You Feel Overwhelmed

In addition to mitigating sources of stress and nervousness, it’s best to have some instruments for self-soothing when that wave of feeling overwhelmed hits. Here are some fast concepts:

Take ten

What’s the very first thing you do when one in every of your digital units is on the fritz? You unplug it. Same goes for you. Walk away from the pc, put down your cellphone, and provides your self permission to show off for a couple of minutes. Take an influence nap or do one of many issues beneath.

Breathwork workouts

Any type of gradual, managed breathing will stimulate the vagus nerve and activate the parasympathetic (relaxation and digest) nervous system. A easy apply is the prolonged exhale, the place you breathe out for twice so long as you breathe in. For instance, breathe in for a depend of 4, pause, then exhale for a depend of eight. Repeat 5 instances.

Meditation, prayer, and chanting have the identical impact of enhancing vagal tone.


Getting issues out of your head and onto paper generally is a massive assist. Sit down and do a mind dump. Let the ideas movement with out censoring them.

Taking a minute to jot down down just a few gratitude statements might help, too.

Pop a bit of gum

Chewing gum relieves stress and nervousness!

Move your physique

It could also be cliche, however among the best issues you are able to do while you begin feeling overwhelmed is to get out of your head and again into your physique. Take a fast stroll or do a microworkout.

Mindset Shifts for Dealing with Overwhelm

Here’s the underside line:

1. Focus on the issues you possibly can management about your scenario. Address the main root causes of stress when you possibly can. When you possibly can’t, search for methods to alleviate smaller sources of stress and convey extra calm and order into your atmosphere.

2. But don’t attempt to management all the pieces. Ask for assist.

3. Let go of perfectionism. Get comfy with “good enough.”

4. Practice self-compassion. Everyone will get overwhelmed typically. Don’t make it worse by getting down on your self for the way you’re feeling. Focus on what you must do to really feel higher.


About the Author

Lindsay Taylor, Ph.D., is a senior author and neighborhood supervisor for Primal Nutrition, an authorized Primal Health Coach, and the co-author of three keto cookbooks.

As a author for Mark’s Daily Apple and the chief of the thriving Keto Reset and Primal Endurance communities, Lindsay’s job is to assist individuals study the whats, whys, and hows of main a health-focused life. Before becoming a member of the Primal crew, she earned her grasp’s and Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, the place she additionally labored as a researcher and teacher.

Lindsay lives in Northern California together with her husband and two sports-obsessed sons. In her free time, she enjoys extremely operating, triathlon, tenting, and recreation nights. Follow alongside on Instagram @theusefuldish as Lindsay makes an attempt to juggle work, household, and endurance coaching, all whereas sustaining a wholesome stability and, most of all, having enjoyable in life. For extra data, go to

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