Have you ever been in a situation where you constantly feel like there’s just so many things to do and you just don’t seem to have enough time to handle all of them?
Do you always find yourself feeling overwhelmed, feeling like you are being so busy, yet, are not getting anything done?
That’s the sign of feeling overwhelmed.
Let’s face it, nobody wants to feel stressed because they have so much to do, but so little time to handle them.
When you are feeling overwhelmed, you feel stuck, like you can’t get much done, but there are so many things you need to get done. You have no idea where to start and everything seems like falling apart.
So, what can you do to overcome feeling overwhelming? And how can you stop this feeling?
Before you can get rid of being overwhelmed, you need to understand why you’re feeling overwhelmed in the first place.
What Makes You Feel Overwhelmed?
Before you can fix something, you need to know what causes it to break in the first place. You can’t heal an overwhelmed situation by simply getting rid of the symptom. If you want to get rid of feeling overwhelming, you must fix the cause.
There are a couple of reasons why you feel overwhelmed, below are some of them…
1. You have unrealistic expectations for yourself
Do you set unrealistic expectations for yourself? Imagine you’re eating a buffet. What happens when you take too much food on your plate? You can’t finish it. This is what happens when you overestimate your ability.
Like having a to-do list. When you have too many tasks to accomplish and you can’t seem to finish all of them, you started to feel stressed. And when the next day comes, you add in new tasks that make the list even longer.
The good news is that you are always in control. You decide how much work you can take. You can decide what to put on your plate. And guess what, you can always take more once you finished what you have on hand.
Hence, stop setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Do not over-commit.
2. Too many distractions
Do you know that having too many distractions can make you stressed and feel overwhelmed?
Imagine you are working in a noisy environment with blaring sounds. Can you focus on your work? No, you can’t. And that is one of the obvious reasons you feel overwhelmed.
The same goes can happen for your notifications. If you are constantly being bombarded with notifications from your phones, instant messaging, social media, etc., and you can’t focus.
You will end up being distracted and switching between tasks. When you are reading, your phone buzz, and you check it out. And it takes away your attention. When you get back to reading, you need to readjust your state and put yourself into reading the mood again.
When this happens, you tend to use more of your willpower to switch your focus from one thing to another. This will tire you out and make you feel exhausted. And eventually, you feel overwhelmed by the tasks you’re trying to accomplish.
3. You don’t take enough breaks
Do you take breaks from time to time? One of the key reasons productive people are able to maintain their level of productivity throughout the day is because they understand when to work and when to rest.
If you think that taking breaks is counterproductive, you’re wrong.
This article from Psychology Today explains that taking breaks increases productivity and creativity. Working long hours lead to stress and exhaustion.
Taking breaks refreshes your mind and replenishes your mental resources. Plus, when you have recharged your mental energy, you tend to become more creative and able to focus better.
4. You don’t know how to say “no”
Are you a people pleaser? Do you tend to say “yes” to everything that comes to you? Being a “yes man” only increase your stress level and make you feel overwhelmed.
You don’t have to be a people pleaser. You don’t need to say yes to everything that comes to you. If you are serious about being productive and getting things done, you need to learn how to say no.
I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.Bill Cosby
5. You don’t see yourself as a priority
Do you always feel like you have to react to things and your life is always out of control? If you are feeling this way, it is because you are not putting yourself as a priority.
For instance, when your life is all about work, work, and more work, you’re giving attention to yourself. When you don’t take care of yourself, you will end up feeling overwhelmed because you don’t see yourself as a priority.
Just like taking breaks, you want to give yourself the focus and attention to do what you love. When you are the priority, you arrange things around your life rather than arranging your life around things.
When you give yourself the priority, you will do things that make your heart sings. You become happy, fulfilled, grateful, and of course, you won’t feel overwhelmed with life.
How to Get Rid of Feeling Overwhelmed
Now that you know what makes you feel overwhelmed, it is time to learn how you can stop this feeling and start making real progress in life.
Below are a couple of ways how you can overcome feeling overwhelming…
1. Accept the feeling
Yes, if you want to get rid of feeling overwhelming, you need to first accept the feeling. If you don’t know you are overwhelmed, you can’t cure it. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. You must learn to notice and be aware of your feelings.
Feeling anxiety is a normal part of human experience. But it doesn’t mean that you need to be stressed and continue to feel the anxiety, instead, you can accept the uncomfortable feelings and try to understand it. You don’t have to run away from your feelings. Learn to accept them.
2. Take some deep breaths
When you take deep breaths, it puts your body in a relaxed state. And this is a useful technique to handle stressful situations. This is why practicing yoga and meditation lower your stress and can help you clear your mind for better focus.
Practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique: Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of 8.
You can learn more about this breathing technique here.
3. Live in the moment
One reason you feel overwhelmed and stressed is that you are not living in the present. You are either being too concern with your past or too worried about your future.
When this happens, just bring your focus back to the present moment. Live in the moment. Practice being mindful.
When you are drinking coffee, stop thinking about other things and just focus on drinking coffee. Do it slowly. Feel the warmth of the cup. Smell the coffee. And when you drink, feel the taste and the flow of coffee through your throat into your body.
This is how you practice being mindfulness. No matter what you do, focus on it, and stop thinking about the future or the past.
Here’s a good guide about practicing mindfulness and I suggest you check it out.
4. Do a brain dump
Another great method to get rid of feeling overwhelming is by doing a brain dump. Usually, you feel overwhelmed because there are too many thoughts going through your head at a time.
You feel like too many things going on at the same time and you lack the capability to handle all of them.
Hence, what you need to do is to do a brain dump. Take a piece of paper and write down everything that is in your head. Write down every thought that comes to you.
After you wrote down everything, pick one thing that is most important, and do it now. As for the rest, you can always come back later.
And trust me, after you write down everything, your mind will become clear and you will feel lighter. It is like putting everything in front of you, allowing you to see the big picture from above. It clears your mental clutter and gets your focus back.
5. Take a break
Taking breaks is important. And most of the time, people feel overwhelmed because they don’t give themselves enough breaks.
You can’t work 24/7. You’re not a robot. And so, if you want to continue to be productive, you need to learn how to take short breaks throughout each day. And every week or month, take a longer break.
When you take breaks, you allow yourself to recharge your energy and mental power. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Thus, schedule breaks so that you can become more productive.
6. Go for an exercise
Exercise is not only good for your physical health but also your mental health. When you exercise and when you sweat, your brain releases endorphins that make you feel happy.
Plenty of studies have shown that exercise can help relieve your stress level and get rid of anxiety. This article from Mayo Clinic explains that besides stress-busting benefits, exercise also improves your mood.
This is why health experts suggest we exercise daily. It makes us feel good and at the same time, improves our overall wellbeing.
7. Stop comparing yourself with others
Here’s an interesting quote from Dale Carnegie:
Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.
If you want to get rid of feeling overwhelming, stop comparing yourself with others. When you compare, you tend to focus on what you lack and what you don’t have that others do.
When that happened, you feel stressed, overwhelmed, and doubt your ability. Instead, you should practice gratitude…
8. Practice gratitude
Happy people are grateful people. When you are grateful, you appreciate what you have. Instead of feeling lack, you focus on what you got. And being grateful is a great way to overcome your feeling of overwhelming.
Sometimes, things may not go according to your plan and every day may not be good. But if you are grateful, you tend to look for the good in every day. Even when things are not going according to your plan, you can still be appreciative of what has happened.
Being grateful makes you feel that you are living in abundance. And when you appreciate life, you will never feel overwhelmed or stress.
Here’s a guide from Lifehack.org for a list of 40 simple ways to practice gratitude.
9. Do something that makes your heart sings
When you’re overwhelmed, do things that make you happy. That’s the easiest way to handle the situation. You can’t think clearly when you are being overwhelmed with everything. So, why don’t you just take a short break and do things that make your heart sings?
Change your mood and you will change your thinking. When you are in a joyful state, you tend to be more creative and able to tackle things in a better way.
Therefore, change your mood by doing something that you love. Once you are happy, you won’t feel overwhelmed. And when you’re not overwhelmed, you know what you need to do to make things work. As simple as that.
10. Get help
Finally, if everything doesn’t seem to work, seek help. Talk to people and share them how you feel and think.
Of course, try to share your situation with people who are encouraging and people who support you. Don’t get help from negative people, which will only make the situation worse.
Try to talk to a good friend who understands your situation and who is empathetic. If things still don’t work out, seek help from experts.
Feeling overwhelmed is a common stress issue that we all experience in life. There are so many things to do, yet so little time. And sometimes you will feel that you have done so much, but are not getting the results you want.
However, like all other emotions, you have to look at being overwhelmed and accept it as a sign for you to change things. When you feel anxiety and stress, it means that something you do isn’t right, and you need to change your approach.
And this is where this article can help. Sometimes, you need to slow down a little, take a bird’s eye view on your life, and learn to live in the moment to really start making progress.
So, tell me, are the tips here good enough to stop you from feeling overwhelming?