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5 Things to do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

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Anyone else feeling stressed, swamped, or just generally overwhelmed – or just me?

Admittedly, I have some incredible things going on in my life (book out this fall! Another book in the works!) but that doesn’t stop my brain from creating a whole host of reasons to feel anxious. I’ve always been a deeply sensitive person, so even just watching the news for five minutes can send me into a tailspin of catastrophic thinking. Sometimes, car commercials make me cry. Thanks, brain.

Over the years, I’ve  rounded up a whole host of tips, tricks, and strategies to get out of overwhelm and start feeling sane again. I’ve been using these on repeat lately, and I hope you’ll find them helpful.

feeling overwhelmed

Clean Out Your Brain

Is your to-do list continually running on a loop in your brain? Get. It. Out. Write it all down on a piece of paper. Every single thing. Keep going until you can’t come up with anything else. I often find that just by getting all of the things taking up mental energy out of my brain, and onto the page, I start feeling some relief. Extra credit if you can delegate some of the items on your list or let go of them entirely.

Move Your Body

Nothing like a brisk walk and some fresh air to help you reset and recharge. Even fifteen minutes can make a huge difference. Get out in nature if you can. Move, breath, take in the sights and sounds around you. Overwhelm comes from the thoughts in our head. Moving your body can help you instantly slow the mental chatter and regain a sense of perspective.

Get Quiet

Although my instinct is often to seek advice from everyone I’ve ever met (and even some strangers), I’ve learned that slowing down and getting quiet is generally a much more effective way of combatting overwhelm. Shocker, I know. No need to master the art of meditation here. Just carve out a slice of time for yourself (even fifteen minutes!), sit in stillness, take deep breaths, and slow your roll.

Unplug

We live in a culture of constant digital stimulation. The omnipresent buzz of texts, email, and social media notifications clamoring for our attention is enough to send even the most evolved among us into a state of panic. Try closing your computer, silencing your phone, and stepping away from the apps, and experience the joy of being totally off the grid – even if only for a few hours. Want more info on this? I have an entire post dedicated to digital minimalism – you can click here to read.

Do Less, But Better

I am often guilty of believing my brain when it tells me I need to do ALL OF THE THINGS RIGHT NOW. But really, when I slow down and ask myself what actually needs to get done immediately, it’s typically only one or two things I need to prioritize. Start by questioning everything that is sitting on your plate. Ask yourself: What can I let go of? Do my kids really need to do soccer and gymnastics? Do I really need to go to all of the events I’m invited to? Do I need to accept all of the projects at work? Remind yourself that the less you take on the more you can show up and be fully present for the things you do commit to. If you’re looking to feel less overwhelmed – less, but better is the way forward. Choose wisely. 

Overall, I’ve found the biggest key to dealing with overwhelm is to have a handful of quick and accessible strategies I can rely on to help me reset when it all feels like too much. I’d love to know: what strategies have worked for you?

Image Credit: Vivian Johnson Photography

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4 comments on “5 Things to do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

  1. Thanks Shira! Great ideas and very helpful. I too still feel stressed and overwhelmed even though things seem to be returning to normal. So, trying to unplug and slow down are great ideas. I saw a note recently that said: “Our stop-doing list needs to be longer than our To-do list.”

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