How to Handle a Case of ‘The Overwhelmies’

When you wake up in the morning, do you feel like the day ahead is just too much? Is your to-do list a mile long? Are you worried about a lot of different problems in your life? Regardless of how much — or what — is going on, you might feel like you’re stuck in the mud.

If that’s the case, it’s a safe bet that you’re totally overwhelmed. It can happen to anyone. Whether you’ve taken on too much at work or your personal life is topsy-turvy, you need to regain control. Give these six tactics a try to feel like there’s less weighing on your shoulders.

1. Find Some Help


When you have too much going on, it’s easy for that over-burdened feeling to set in. You may have so many irons in the fire that it’s impossible to know what to do first. If it has you feeling anxious or depressed, you can find mental health treatment online such as Nurx. After being evaluated by a licensed mental health provider, you’ll get a prescription if you need it.

It’s OK if you still require more help, though. Finding a provider to talk to face-to-face may also be a good idea. They can listen to everything you have going on and help you determine what’s most important. Over time, you may learn some skills to use to avoid feeling out of control.

2. Learn to Say No

If you’re a people-pleaser, you might find yourself easily overwhelmed. Every time someone asks you to do something, you can’t seem to say no. That is a very dangerous habit. Before you know it, you’ve given up all of your time — and you don’t feel like you can do anything.

If you’re in this situation, it’s time to create a list of things to simply say no to. It’s an easy way to protect your time, as well as your mental (and physical) space. Maybe it’s your company’s virtual happy hour that drags on into the evening or your neighbor’s Saturday morning soccer game. If you’re not feeling it, don’t do it. Better yet, fill that time with something you enjoy!

3. Reach for Your Favorite Entertainment


Do you have a favorite feel-good TV show you love to watch over and over? It could be Friends, The Office, or even The Golden Girls. If you’re feeling buried under responsibility, take a step back. Grab a snack, cuddle up under a blanket, and indulge in a few episodes. Those few hours can be enough to recharge your batteries.

If watching TV isn’t really your thing, curl up with your favorite book. Walk the halls of Hogwarts with Harry Potter. Climb through the wardrobe and revisit Narnia. Or jump into the arena with Katniss Everdeen and let the odds be ever in your favor. Rereading your favorite stories can be comforting and help that overwhelmed feeling slip away.

4. Clean Up Your Space

Do you feel like cleaning your home is one of the things adding to your stress? It is — but not in the way you might think. It’s not the need to clean that’s bothering you. It’s the mess itself. If the space around you is chaotic and out of order, your mental space will be, too.

Don’t panic. There’s no need to do a full overhaul to feel more in control. Start with what’s literally right next to you. Organize the pens and papers on your desk. Clean off any dust that’s settled — that will help you breathe better, too.

Once you’ve cleaned up one spot, you can choose another later. Pretty soon, your space will be in order, and you’ll feel the clutter-free mental benefits.

5. Avoid Accidental Multitasking


For a long time, multitasking was considered a pride point. That’s not really accurate, though. Trying to do two things at once often means you’re not doing either thing well. Toggling between tasks pulls your brain in opposite directions. Think about it — it’s not easy to pay your bills while watching a suspenseful movie, is it?

The same thing happens when you don’t even know you’re multitasking. Trying to finish a project while watching TV is a recipe for mistakes. Even holding your smartphone constantly will suck your attention away from things you should focus on. Juggling too much simultaneously can frazzle your nerves, so concentrate on doing one thing at a time.

6. Try Mindfulness


Mindfulness is a great way to teach yourself to be in the moment and let everything else wash away. It can also help calm any swirling emotions you may have. One of the best techniques is the 5-4-3-2-1 strategy. It engages all five senses.

Here’s how it works: Name five things you can see where you are, then list four things you hear. Count three things you’re able to touch. Concentrate on two smells. Then, enjoy one thing you can taste. This type of countdown funnels your attention, and it stops your thoughts from whirling.

Having a lot to do can be a good thing. Busyness is sometimes better than boredom. If you have more things to do than you can finish in a day, however, that’s a problem. That feeling of being overwhelmed may swoop in quickly and make you feel like failure is inevitable. These six strategies will help you step back, avoid frustration, and rekindle your energy to tackle any task.