What Is Making You Feel Overwhelmed by Life?
Before we launch into our 6 tips for dealing with feeling overwhelmed, you need to take a good hard look at what’s making you feel so overwhelmed by life. Until you identify the causes, any “fixes” you apply are unlikely to be effective over the long run.
Are you at a point right now where you feel you have so much on your plate that you aren’t sure where to start to begin clearing it? Between work, your home, your family, and financial burdens, it can all leave you feeling completely overwhelmed by life.
Sometimes when you feel overwhelmed by life, you know exactly what the problem is. For example:
> Your spouse is unsupportive and too many responsibilities are landing solely on your plate.
>You’re dreadfully unhappy with the way your life is turning out. It all seems like such a mess.
>Your boss is a jerk and doesn’t appreciate all you’re contributing.
>You doubt your skills and intelligence, and that lack of confidence is wreaking havoc at home, at work, and everywhere else.
>Money problems are mounting and you’re scared to death.
>You have the wrong belief that you’re a failure and feel completely stuck where you don’t want to be.
>Parents are adding pressure on you, and you can’t take it anymore.
>You can’t find a decent job. You’re either unemployed or seriously underemployed.
>Your young children are difficult to handle; you love them, but the stress is unbelievable.
>An older child is making horrible life decisions and you’re worried beyond belief, yet there’s nothing you can do.
Can you relate to any of those issues? Are there other issues on your plate that are making you feel overwhelmed by life?
Sometimes when you feel overwhelmed by life, the problem is that you’re facing many of the issues just listed. You could manage to handle one or two without being overwhelmed, but the weight of it all on your shoulders is just too much to bear.
Finally, there are times in life when you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, and you’re not exactly sure where the sense of overwhelm is coming from. You berate yourself because you think that’ll help you “snap out of it.” The truth is, self-criticism only adds to the problem; it never helps you reduce the stress you’re feeling.
Whether you completely understand why you’re inundated with stress right now or a bit confused about why you feel so overwhelmed by life, there is one thing that you must immediately do: get relief! Self-care and self-love are needed right now, but so are some good old prioritization and productivity techniques. With a little TLC and time management techniques, you’ll soon find you’re infinitely better able to handle the things that once overwhelmed you.
Without further ado, here are the 6 things you can do right now to deal with the feelings of being overwhelmed by life.
6 Things You Need to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed by Life
1. Exercise Your Cares Away
My yoga teacher used to say that yoga helps you get rid of the “issues in your tissues.” If you’ve ever felt aches in your back, neck, shoulders, and gut as a result of stress, then you understand that issues don’t only reside in your mind … they enter other parts of your body, too.
You must find time to move your body; you must incorporate some type of exercise into your day if you’re to move from overwhelmed to peacefulness. And, you deserve to return to peace and calm, so give yourself this gift.
How can you get moving? It’s okay to start small. Take a walk around the office every thirty minutes if you can, or with the family dog around the block before you start your day. Turn on a Tai Chi or Yoga routine on YouTube and follow along as best you can. Google ideas for stretches you can do before you head off into your day.
According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise releases a number of brain chemicals that improve your mood. This includes relaxing the mind and body and relieving feelings of stress.
Whatever exercise you choose, follow Nike’s advice and just do it. Not only will you notice an increase in energy and less stress, but you will also feel better about yourself as a whole.
2. Stop Multitasking Because You’re Not Any Good At It (Turns Out, No One Is!)
People who feel overwhelmed by life often have a habit of trying to do too much all at once. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is actually counter-productive. In fact, according to a study by Clifford Nass, a psychology professor at Stanford University, multitasking is a myth.
Have you ever had someone on speakerphone while simultaneously checking your email, preparing dinner, and hoping the kids weren’t destroying the house? While you might have felt like you were getting a lot of things done at once, you most likely did each thing haphazardly and felt stressed and overwhelmed while you were doing it. Do yourself a favor: give up the notion that you can do it all, all at once.
Schedule time for each task and give your total attention to the task at hand. You’ll get more done and you’ll remain much calmer along the way
3. Set Priorities and Manage Your Time
Here’s a secret that most people won’t admit: they like perfection. In fact, some people like perfection so much that they never get anything done; perfection leads to overwhelm. To-do lists become to-do novels. There’s so much on the plate, that it’s humanly impossible to get everything done.
If you feel overwhelmed by life, you need to get a handle on your time and improve your ability to set priorities effectively.
If you need help managing time and improving your productivity, enroll in Coursera’s free course, Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity. Thousands have taken this course and the reviews for it are overwhelmingly positive.
4. Commit to Taking on Less, So You Can Accomplish More.
When you were a kid, you probably remember your teacher having some rendition of the following quote on their wall: “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land somewhere among the stars.”
Aiming high is great. It gives you a goal or something to work towards. But what happens when you miss a goal by miles because you took on way too much and gave yourself way too little time to get it all done. You’re left feeling completely overwhelmed by life, and maybe even disappointed in yourself. How is feeling totally deflated helping you? It’s not!
Keep your standards high, but be realistic with what’s possible. Tackle goals in stages. Set ambitious, yet obtainable, goals each day. Crush those goals. Rinse and repeat.
5. Reach Out and Get the Help You Need
Do you constantly find yourself doing everything on your own? While it feels good to accomplish something independently, it’s not always the best route to take. Few great accomplishments in this world were ever accomplished by a single person. You were given special gifts, and others were given special gifts. Those gifts aren’t the same, that’s why we need to help each other.
People who feel overwhelmed by life often are the last ones to seek the help they need. There’s no shame in being proactive about getting the help you need.
We all need help. None of us were born with all the skills we need to deal with every challenge that comes across our path. Interdependence is not a bad thing; let others help you, just as you help others.
6. Give Yourself Some Tender Loving Care
Read this out loud, and then read it again for good measure. “I deserve to take care of myself and love myself. I deserve to live in peace and joy.”
Did you read that twice? Good. Now write it down and stick it somewhere that you will see it daily, this way you won’t forget.
If you feel overwhelmed by life, it’s time to stop neglecting your own needs. You think sacrificing your own needs for others is noble, but it’s not. No one can pull from an empty vessel! If you don’t take the time to answer the callings of your soul and give your body the care it craves, you’ll continue to feel overwhelmed by life. It’s not worth it.
When you take care of yourself, you’re far better able to handle the many challenges life throws at you; and, make no mistake, those challenges will keep being thrown your way. You can handle them, but only if you’re taking care of yourself.
Self-care is a very personal thing. What brings relaxation to me might not bring relaxation to you. So, devise a self-care routine that works best for you. Read a book. Learn something new. Take yoga. Go catch that new movie you’ve been dying to see. Whatever it is that your soul loves to do, go out and do it. The stress of your job, home life, or finances can wait until you are done taking care of YOU first!
Finally, make sure you create a loving relationship with yourself. Life is far, far too short to be self-critical. If you’re not sure how to give yourself the self-love you deserve, read B&C’s post, 7 Steps to a More Loving Relationship with Yourself.
First, Find Relief from Overwhelm. Next, Find Solutions.
The 6 things that we just mentioned to do when your life is overwhelming you will offer relief — and right now you desperately need relief.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by life, the first and most important thing that you need to do is take care of yourself. Stress that builds and builds over time will lead to serious medical issues. If you don’t take care of your body and mind, then your body and mind will fail you. Stress is no small thing; millions suffer major health issues because they allowed stress to continue in their lives.
In our list of 6 tips, we also included some tactics for managing priorities and increasing productivity in our list of ideas. Those are good ways to reduce the feeling of overwhelm, too. Now you’re ready for the next steps.
After your stress has subsided, you need to take action on the things that led to overwhelm in the first place. Below are some examples of the underlying causes of your overwhelm, along with concrete steps you can take right now to deal with those issues.
> If you’re overwhelmed because your sense of self-worth is poor, then you need to take steps to build your self-confidence. Recommended resource: We offer a free course called How to Believe in Yourself More Fully. Sign up now!
>If you need to figure out how to manage your money, get some help. Recommended reading: The Total Money Makeover.
>If you got overwhelmed because you ran out of energy, read our post 5 Healthy Ways to Increase Your Energy Immediately.
>If you need to make more money, explore ways to improve your career prospects or find other ways to make money. Recommended reading: Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do.
>If you need to improve your relationship with your spouse, try counseling. Recommended reading: Communication in Marriage: How to Communicate with Your Spouse Without Fighting
>If you got overwhelmed because you stink at setting priorities, read our post Setting Priorities for Personal Happiness and Professional Success.
>If overthinking is a problem for you, then read our post How Overthinking Destroys Your Peace and Happiness.
>If worry has become a regular habit with you, then learn how to break that habit. Recommended reading: Kick Your Worry Habit & Just Be Happier.
Stress and overwhelm are always symptoms of a deeper problem. Identify the real issues you’re going through and get the help you need so you never feel overwhelmed by your life again!
Avoid Burnout. Lower Your Stress. Instead of Feeling Overwhelmed, Feel Joy Again!
I hope by now you’re feeling a little less stressed and overwhelmed and a lot more hopeful for your life. You can’t expect that sense of overwhelm to go away; you must be proactive at reducing the load on your plate and improving your ability to handle life’s upsetting challenges. Reading this post was a great first start. Now, put the ideas you’ve learned here to use and soon instead of being overwhelmed by life, you’ll feel rejuvenated and inspired again!