I’ve been overwhelmed for a few weeks. That’s no secret. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. Balancing more than I can carry. And quite frankly, I popped a little, in a controlled kind of way.
All this anxiety and overwhelm and feeling buried under a mountain of feels and annoying habits that make me avoid the feels– I’ve finally had enough. It’s time to deal, recognize and change what might be making me more anxious and overwhelmed than I need to be.
I am SUPER excited about this post. Not only did it make me dig deep to understand what actually fills my cup, but I also have GUEST CONTRIBUTORS. YAY! I reached out to the blog-o-sphere and interwebs to find out what other bloggers, mental health advocates, podcasters, youtubers and human-ers do when their world seems a bit big to manage.
AND I CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE, so on to this long and epic (dare I say overwhelmed?) post!
Overwhelmed Management Realizations
After writing about overwhelm and emotional drain last week, I Skyped my war buddy in Germany. We had a conversation about everything that has been going on. As we were talking about my empty cup, she asked me the simplest question.
“Do you know what fills your cup?”
I thought about it for a minute. I felt like I should have had an answer. Like I was DEFINITELY the kind of person who would have a list, but nothing came to mind.
In my work life, I’m a little bit better at organizing my life and setting goals and prioritizing the crap off my to-do list. But this simple question made me realize I’m not really doing that in my personal life.
Of course I’m friggin’ overwhelmed when I have a million and one ideas in my head. I’m trying to realize and accomplished everything while over-promising to myself and other people more than what my time allows. How can I head in the direction that I want to head in if I don’t know first, where I want to go and secondly the fuck to get there?
I don’t. I don’t know how. I’ve kind of been throwing darts at a moving target. It feels like every few months my goals and my directions completely change. I may have the fanciest, nicest, hardest working darts there are. Or I may even have a great aim but what’s the point of all of that if I can’t see where I’m throwing?
I need some mother fuckin’ tools and lists.
Why I’m Building an “I’m OVERWHELMED AF Toolkit”
Now that I’ve realized that I don’t have a toolkit and need to build one, I want to share why having one is so damn important.
The Overwhelm Emergency Kit
Think of having a list of what to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed like your emergency kit. You want your emergency kit to be stocked when you need it, right? You don’t want to scramble in the middle of an emergency to scrap together a kit. When’s the best time to actually create and put together the toolkit?
Before the emergency ever even happens.
Then why aren’t we treating our mental health the same way?
Preparing a list of the things that I know will make me feel better when I’m dealing with overwhelm is so important. When I’m in the middle of overwhelm, it’s very hard to think of anything that will make me feel better other than food, alcohol, or shutting down. While there is as time and a place for those things, it’s also nice to have options that are actually good for me and don’t just numb the feels temporarily.
Lists and Plans
It’s easy to think lists are dumb. The idea that we can control anything is sometimes laughable.
But who cares if it makes me feel better? Who cares if it gives me a sense of direction and a feeling like I’m moving toward something?
It’s not a bad thing. And I’m ready to stop feeling so overwhelmed while also taking on more projects and responsibilities.
That’s unavoidable. But how do I make room in my brain for all the things I want to do if I can’t focus on one thing and start avoiding other things because I’m so overwhelmed with all the things floating around in my brain!?
I decided to start, with this list.
Important Questions to Consider When Feeling Overwhelmed
But first, I need to answer some SUPER important questions as we head on this guided journey.
- What do I want to do?
- How do I want to do it?
What Do I Want To Do?
I want to deal with this overwhelm. While also being able to take on more because I have so many things and ideas that I want to do and accomplish. I want to do all that without getting overwhelmed and with not losing all the balance. While I don’t think true balance is actually possible, I do think a little bit of balance is always nice. And I’d like to start figuring what the hell is going to fill my cup when it’s empty.
How Do I Want to Do It?
I want to start by figuring out what the hell fills my cup so that I can refill it when it’s empty. I want to put actual actionable things on a goddamn list so that I can turn to it when shit gets crazy. Which is often.
So let’s start then, yeah?
1. Clo Bare
Bout to get meta on you.
I love it for the connections I make and for the people who reach out and let me know that it’s helped them. Every time I get a message that the Bare inspired someone to go to therapy or made someone realize their anxiety symptoms or even just made them feel less alone, it fills my heart.
This. This makes me feel alive and connected and like I have a place here on this weird and lonely world.
Recently one of my close friends and I started a small networking group called Chicago Boss Babe Brunch where we invite women to come network with their peers in a way chiller vibe than what I’ve seen at any other networking event I’ve been to. It’s been an incredible experience so far and it reminds me how important connecting with like-minded people is.
It fills my cup and inspires me to do the things that I do and then some more. This group has revitalized and re-framed my perspective of my role in the world and reminds me that I am a connector.
I like connecting people, I like making other people feel comfortable in a space that may be unfamiliar, I like being part of the glue that brings people together. It makes me feel like the world is a magical place and even though it’s work just like the Bare is, it fills my cup too.
This extends to all connections. Grabbing dinner with my friends. Meeting someone new for coffee. Getting inspired at a conference or in a class. These things take energy but when I do them, they fill my cup.
3. Easy Friend Time, aka “Fam Night”
I absolutely love friend time but my absolute favorite friend time is the kind of time we spend that has no plans involved and no effort required.
I LOVE and it fills my heart upteemthtimes when I have “fam” nights with my best friends that involves hanging out in cozy clothes, watching TV, cooking dinner or ordering in, and just chillin.
Even thinking about it now makes my eyes tear up because of how much it makes my heart burst with love. I love sitting on the couch across from my best friends, watching Netflix and dicking around on my phone. It’s simple. It’s easy. And it goes to show just how comfortable we are just being with each other and how being together makes even the most ordinary things wonderful.
Game nights with my closest friends has the same effect but there’s something special about just lounging around and being lazy and hanging out and sometimes barely talking to the people I love most.
It reminds me of how big my extended family is, even though we have no shared blood.
Why I Wanted to Talk about Filling Cups First
Now, I think it’s important to mention some of the things that fill my cup before I dive into what tactics I employ to deal with overwhelm.
If you noticed, the things I mentioned above are all things that take some amount of work, especially Clo Bare and Chicago Boss Babes. Sometimes, more work when dealing with overwhelm is the LAST thing I need or want, so I have a tendency to screech all things that might be considered “work” (outside of my day job) to a halt.
But I don’t think that’s the best thing to do.
I think that when I’m feeling drained and emptied, I would benefit from doing and focusing on at least one of the things that brings me joy and fills my cup.
Yes, it creates more work for myself, but when I make the effort to do Clo Bare or CBBB or even just a fam night, it fills my cup in more ways than simply doing yoga or meditation does. Do I need to limit it when I’m feeling overwhelmed?
But having this list reminds me of the things that are most fulfilling to me. And that’s important.
When I feel overwhelmed, I feel like I’m failing at all the things and should give up on all the things because everything is too much and too pressing.
But these things that fill me up help serve as a reminder to what’s important, and what my priorities should be simply due to the fact that they make me happy.
These are the things that I want to make time for, even if it’s just ten minutes, because these things remind me of my purpose and what drives me. That purpose, calms me and focuses me and helps me to aim the darts at the targets that matter most to me.
Now anyway, as important as knowing a few things that fill my cup, so too is knowing how to manage the overwhelm in a time of complete and total emotional drain.
This list I had a harder time coming up with because to be honest, as my friends and family and probably past co-workers will tell you, I don’t always handle overwhelm well.
That’s why I wanted to reach out to other friends, bloggers, podcasters and interweb friends to have them share what helps them in time over overwhelm as well as how they experience the feeling.
On to the list.
30 Ways to Overcome Feeling Overwhelmed*
*The thirty comes from adding up all the pieces of advice from the contributors listed below PLUS my advice. Tricky, I know.
1. Incorporating Silence into my Day
I’ve already talked about meditation and how it helps in my last post, but something as simple as silence helps me.
Like in the car ride home.
Or while I’m cleaning.
Even when I go for a walk.
Sometimes I even wear ear plugs around the house just to recenter myself and listen more to what’s going on inside my brain instead of all the stimulus going on outside my brain.
The world is total sensory overload all the time, and sometimes taking away this little thing can help me calm down immensely. Plus silence makes the creative thoughts come out, the ones I want to make space for and listen to.
2. Talking it Out
When I’m down and out and overwhelmed, I need people in my life to tell me I’m not failing. While I know deep down somewhere that I’m not failing even when it feels like it, I need reinforcements sometimes.
So I call my best friends. I hang out with people who don’t need me to be “on”. I let it out and I ask for assurance that I am indeed not failing and that it is indeed okay to be still, chill, and do nothing.
3. Yin Yoga
I love yin yoga, and lately I’ve really enjoyed Yoga with Kassandra because she has a few (FREE!) YouTube videos for Yin Yoga, no props.
A lot of yin yoga uses props to help keep you comfortably in a pose but as the cheap ass that I am, I do not have any props. Yin yoga makes me feel like I’m wringing out my body of all the crap, tension, anxiety and buzzing energy.
If you’re new to yin, it’s not the type of yoga you do for a work out. It’s the type of yoga you do to feel like you’ve had a deep tissue massage afterward. Each pose is 3 to 5 minutes long and the asanas (poses) focus on stretching and loosening the fascia tissue that often gets hard and stiff from the day to day toll on your body.
By sitting in a pose meant to stretch those areas, like our hips and back and chest and neck, we soften the tissue and get rid of that lactic acid buildup. It’s wonderful and forces me to sit with my own thoughts for extended periods of time. It’s kind of a mental work out sometimes because allowing myself to sit in discomfort as my body tries to work out the kinks can be uncomfortable, slightly painful and difficult, just like working out the kinks in my brain.
It helps me, it centers me, and it even re-energizes and centers me when I turn off my phone and focus on staying present in the poses.
4. Turning Off My Phone
Lately I’ve been listening to the podcast Bigger Pockets and on one recent episode Cal Newton talked about the toxicity of our addictions to our smartphones and how our smartphones and the associated social media have shown to produce more anxiety than we realize.
He talks about how necessary boredom is for our brains to process the never ending stream of “content” we are hit with on a daily basis. It’s good to be bored. If we are never bored, we never get to process, and the thing about our cell phones is they are there to ensure that we never get bored.
This really hit a chord with me so I decided to try turning off my phone while I’m at work except for a few intentional fifteen minute breaks. I also started turning my phone off at home except for times when I need to look at it or plan to look at it.
And you know what?
This worked probably more than anything else I’ve ever tried.
I was able to focus more and I felt a resounding calm that hasn’t been there before. It is strange not responding to texts or allowing messages on social media to go unanswered, but I feel better. And that’s more important than feeling like a jerk for a delayed response.
I’ve been letting my notifications run me and now it’s time for me to take that back. Hopefully, I can keep it up. But I think this might be the healthiest move I’ve made in the last year or more.
What’s also interesting is when I do get back into my phone and let the reigns loosen on my phone use, I start to feel the anxiety creep back in. It’s almost as immediate as eating something I’m allergic too and immediately feeling the itch in my throat. That alone is showing how much smartphone ownership has actually probably impeded on my sanity and well being. I’m excited to continue pursuing this and see what the lasting effects are.
5. Master Lists/ Brain Dumps
I do this thing at work that helps me feel less overwhelmed and more organized. At the beginning of the week I make a huge master list of everything that I need to do. Even things that have several weeks lead time or no immediate action required.
Then I update the top things that I need to do each day from that master list.
Sometimes those things carry over into the next day. But what’s nice about it is I know exactly what I need to do before I allow myself to leave the office. This works well for me. I love crossing things off a list and I live to see the master list get smaller and smaller, even though it never actually disappears.
It makes me feel better writing it out on paper and looking at the list. It’s like I can hold all the busy-ness in my brain in my hands, and that feels more controllable.
It wasn’t until this week that I even considered doing this for my life outside of work. But last week when I was feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, I figured it couldn’t hurt.
And it didn’t hurt. It actually made me feel better.
It made me realize that all the things I thought I needed to do weren’t as big and scary as I thought. The list helps me prioritize my week and reminds me that my tasks are manageable if I remember my priorities and keep distractions to a minimum.
These are a few things that help me with overwhelm, and they are things I’ve actually been doing. They aren’t perfect but they’re working for me at the moment.
The Overwhelmed Contributors List!!!
Now, all this conversation about overwhelm made me reach out to some of my interweb friends to see what they do when the world seems to be a little bit too nuts. I am SO excited to not only share with you these beautiful humans, but also the awesome tips they sent me as well as the experiences each person is having.
What I love about the submissions I received is that they are SO totally and completely different. Some give outright tips, some write poetry to explain how they feel. Each submission is so perfectly representative of the person who submitted it that I decided to leave them for the most part unedited. Which means this is a long ass post. But it’s exactly how I meant it. Bare, unedited, and super friggin human.
Hope you enjoy, and hope this is another reminder that we are all dealing with the same shit.
Overwhelm and How You Deal: Bare Guests
The thing that helps me the most when I am feeling overwhelmed is to do a huge brain dump of everything that I feel I need to accomplish on a piece of paper. Having too much to do is the biggest trigger of overwhelm for me. Getting everything written down and out in once place frees up a little head space for me to think more clearly.
After I have everything dumped out onto a piece of paper I then break each task down into micro tasks. For instance if I need to write a blog post, that task contains lots of little tasks like making an outline, editing the photos, writing the copy, writing the recipe, proofreading, etc… The act of breaking tasks down into smaller pieces helps me to see what I can realistically do in a given time frame. Often times, I feel overwhelmed because I have a very unrealistic list ahead of me given the amount of time I have available. The broken down list helps me reel it in a little.
Next I prioritize tasks and schedule days to complete the most important ones and move the ones that can wait down the list to think about at a later date. Having them written down to address later helps me to not let my brain stress about them now.
Once I start tackling tasks, I focus on one small piece at a time. I focus my brain on completing only the one small part I’m working on before letting it wander to all of the others. I struggle with staying focused, but breaking down tasks and focusing on one part at a time has helped me tremendously.Kristin Hoffman, Aka “Baker Bettie”
2. Anna Bisch
1. Disconnect the devices, reconnect with nature.Anna Bisch
The best thing that I can do when I am feeling like my world is too much, is step outside. It can be as simple as grounding myself with my bare feet to the grass and feeling that connection to the Earth or I can take a long walk into woods or the beach and sit and think about how wonderful this world is and how my problems seem so small compared to everything that happens on Earth at any given moment.
2. Sing it Out
Singing is my stress reliever and my solitude. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, I get in my car with some jams and belt it out like my life depends on it. Some of my favorites are ABBA, Disney, Waitress The Musical, and Wicked. (If there are any New Girl fans, think of Winston rocking out in the car unknowing that Schmidt and Cece were in the backseat hiding…that’s me.)
As someone struggling with C-PTSD, I feel overwhelmed quite often. It’s tough to balance the normal, everyday activities of life alongside the constant anxieties and noise within my own head. I find myself starting each day with a long To-Do list running in my head, and it never seems to end. The second I cross one errand off my mental list, another one appears. Because of this, I never feel like I can relax. There’s always something to do.Bethany Avery
I’m still figuring out how to make this work for me and my lifestyle, but I’ve had to learn to spend time doing nothing. No chores, no work, no emotional processing–just…nothing. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet, but I’m getting there. I’ve rediscovered my love of long, hot baths, and I’m hoping to start reading and hiking again too.
Hopefully, with a little self-love and appreciation, I’ll find the balance I need to stay on track of my goals without getting overwhelmed in the process. My therapist put it best when she said, “It’s okay to plan for the future, but you have to make it out of your 20s first!”
1) GET NOSTALGIC WITH PHOTOS
I spend time a lot of time scrolling through the Camera Roll on my phone. If I’m really overwhelmed I might even plug in my external hard drive. It holds every photo from high school, college, and post-grad life (AKA the complete debauchery that was 21, 22, and 23… and fine, 24).
The point of this practice is not to sit and simply be nostalgic or long for happier times. It is to look back and appreciate the waves of your life. You’ll be surprised at how much you remember. Like the picture that was taken the day before your boyfriend broke up with you. Your smile was so unknowing and unaware of the heartbreak that awaited you. Meanwhile, the photo of you covered in Mardi Gras beads on your 23rd birthday will have you wondering how many people you actually flashed that night. The selfie you took on the last day working at a job you hated will leave you feeling empowered again. And if you’re anything like me, the screenshots from intimate conversations will remind you of that sweet thing they said that you wanted to remember forever.
Through this process, you’ll smile, laugh, maybe even cry; but, in the end you will have this sense of calm as you sit back and say: “Look at all that I’ve done. Look at all the waves I’ve ridden. Look at all the things that led me here.” Ultimately, you will grow to trust in the feeling of overwhelm knowing that it is leading you to a new sense of being. You just gotta ride the wave.
2) COMMIT TO ONE THING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Our lives are always go, go, go. On top of that, we are constantly multitasking, even if it’s watching TV and scrolling through Instagram simultaneously at the end of the night. I do my best to choose one thing to focus on, as much as possible.
If I’m going to watch a TV show, I am giving it my undivided attention. If I want to listen to a podcast, I am going to lay in bed with my phone face down on the pillow while I stare up at my ceiling fan.
Practice this as much as you can throughout your week. You’ll be surprised by how calm you feel when your brain isn’t working overtime to take in 7 different forms of stimulation at once!Melanie Glassford
My being overwhelmed happens in all aspects of my life. I just do a good job of hiding it from others. I’m an only child so talking about my feelings and even wanting to ask for help has always been difficult. So in a way I deal with being overwhelmed in the worst way.
At work, I never want to feel like I can’t handle the workload so I take on more than I should. In school, I always waited to the last minute to start working on a paper because in my mind adding in that pressure made it easier for me to write.
Some of that is the ADHD and it worked well when it came to papers. At work I can’t really do the same because other people are part of my assignments.
It’s difficult when I have multiple deliverables, and so the way I deal with being overwhelmed with these tasks is to make lists. I even break down each task to steps because I love taking breaks from one task to work on another.
Generally, if I’m bored and have one task to do I will leave it for the last minute. I operate better with a hard deadline. I can easily work on this but I prefer to be in this overwhelmed mindset. Even when I’m writing a blog post, recording a podcast my brain and body needs to be traveling at a high level. When I’m at work the things that help me is to step away from my desk or just go outside for a walk. It’s hard for me to decompress but getting away from what’s giving me anxiety helps. Breathing in for a couple seconds and then a few more out for about a minute or 2 has been a lifesaver in certain situations like before a presentation.
If someone saw how I operate they would probably be surprised I get anything done. I don’t talk about all of this with others. People don’t understand or would be confused but being a nervous wreck helps me focus more.
6. Apryl Mabey
The road of unknowns is overwhelming,Apryl Mabey
I shouldn’t of..
but all these emotions are okay, fear is too but every negative feeling should only be temporary.
I always found comfort in knowing the answers to problems, I didn’t like sitting with the unknown.
I’d sit with the problem within me.
Look for the answer by dimming my own light. Allow for failure and justify why I shouldn’t or couldn’t do it or think the worst of a situation just to lower the blow of disappointment.
But didn’t anyone ever teach you how to believe in yourself?
How failure is just as important as success?
How you can only grow through making mistakes?
I like to question and challenge my negative thoughts. The reality is the picture isn’t always going to be perfect.
As easy as it is to avoid everything that makes me feel uneasy, sometimes not thinking about it and just doing it helps me to live a bit more freer. Because I don’t give myself the chance to over analyse anything.
You will find in most situations they aren’t even as bad as you would have built it up to be. Sometimes you find there’s reassurance in the form of others who are there to help you through this hard patch instead of over analysing it alone in your head-and if you need a day to recover and recharge afterwards that’s okay!
Just don’t let it consume you to the point that it stops you living your life.
The only insight into our emotion is through our expression and our voice.
I’ve always found talking wasn’t something I was comfortable with when I was overwhelmed but I knew I needed an outlet. I found writing was something that helped keep me balanced amongst whatever chaos was going on in my life.
It’s my happy place and where I can go to distract myself or vent freely.
I learnt that you have to look after yourself and be kind to yourself. Don’t dismiss yourself but appreciate what you bring to the world without comparing it to others.
When I became overwhelmed it was more to do with worrying about what others thought of me. I’d worry I’d had a bad first impression or if I was too much or not enough.
I made the choice to let go of expectations of myself and of what others could have of me, because the only opinion that matters are those that I chose to keep around.
If there was something I was ever worried that I couldn’t do or can’t handle, I remind myself of all the things that I am capable of.
If I ever feel out of depth in a situation, I remind myself what keeps me grounded. What gives me purpose.
Always remember to love yourself first, so that a difference of opinion won’t effect or scare you out of living your life or effecting you self worth.
Feed the positive feelings and thoughts.
What could or couldn’t be isn’t for you to worry about. Embrace the unknown. Don’t let the fear of ‘what if’s’ overwhelm you and hold you back.
For me it depends on what’s happening. If I’m going into the weekend and have time, I allow myself to sleep in or have more “me time.” Sometimes that’s playing video games or sometimes it’s watching something on Netflix,. Basically I do something that is more or less mindless or irrelevant to what’s stressing me out.JMatt
If I’m at work and I can’t “leave” – I may get up and go for a walk, see if I need to drink more water, or chat with a co-worker.
If I feel overwhelmed by the tasks I have to get done – I write out a list. I either tackle the time sensitive tasks first or I go after the things that I can complete quickest to give myself relief faster by seeing the list get smaller.
I’m all over the place. There are also days where I tackle the hardest task first knowing the rest of the tasks will be easier. I like to change up my approach often because as much as a routine is nice, I get bored of the same strategy over and over.
In a stressful world, slowing down is a skill that can be learned and practiced in many aspects of our lives. We tend to rush through our days due to our growing demands and responsibilities. By learning to slow down, and becoming more mindful of our everyday experiences, we can increase our human experience, and become more present for the people and demands in our lives. Let’s take our lives off autopilot and learn to live in the moment…even if it is only for a minute.Ariana
How can you begin to practice the art of slowing down? Do mundane activities mindfully.
When we do activities such as driving, we typically do so on autopilot. Often we get to our destinations and do not even know how we got there. Instead of driving on autopilot, we can take this opportunity to increase our ability to be more mindful, which in result causes us to take the time to slow down. By simply paying attention to your senses, you can bring awareness to where you are and what journey your mind is taking you on. Pay attention to what you are hearing and what you are feeling. How does the steering wheel feel? Where is your body making contact with the seat? Are you hot or are you feeling cold? You can apply this practice to many aspects of your life such as, showering, walking, washing your hands, brushing your teeth, and much more.
My challenge to you, is to do one activity mindfully for one minute…test it out and see how it feels to slow down.
By following the above methods, these skills allow me the ability to live life more in the present. Typically, we struggle with depressive thoughts and feelings by living in the past, while we struggle with anxious thoughts and feelings by living in the future. By removing ourselves off autopilot and into the present moment, we are less likely to wallow in our failures and worry excessively about our future.
1. I eliminate toxic people and relationships.
Just like having a garden full of flowers blooming, you have to weed out all the unnecessary weeds that will most likely stop the other plants from growing healthily and beautifully.
During the time I was fighting for my own life, I was able to learn to put myself first. It’s the only choice I have and it was the choice that formed me into what I am now. Not only that, I was able to learn how to put out negative people that have nothing to do but only give negative remarks that can sting my emotions especially. And also, learning to eliminate toxic people and relationships, I was able to learn how to say “no” easily without having a hard time to say that two-letter word.
2. I put myself first.
Since the time I found out that I had cancer, I played the “cancer card”. I never allow cancer will control my life. After I claim to myself, “Okay, I have cancer, so what?” If I die, that is maybe where my role in life will end.
Claiming my cancer means, I lived my life. I write a journal, to start with. I follow my goals, both short-term and long-term ones. In the end, what did I lose? Nothing. What did I gain? Resilience, perseverance, quality friends and a new life after cancer.Cielo Superticioso
10. Elyse Vasiliades
1. Handwriting out a to-do list.
When 9483720 things are flying through my brain all at once, I get this growing mental to-do list happening that inevitably hits a breaking point, and my head seriously feels like it could explode.
It’s in those moments that I have to take a step back from the swirling shitstorm of tasks, and physically write them down. I take a damn breath, collect my thoughts, and write down these things I am trying to prioritize. With a little magic, this real life list appears a hell of a lot shorter than the mental list that had been giving me major anxiety.
This really helps get me out of my own head, and handwriting it out is key because it forces me to simultaneously take a necessary break from all things online. Because honestly, the constant stimuli radiating from my phone and computer screen probably helped cause my overwhelm in the first place.
2. Taking a walk.
Some old fashioned things are hard to beat! Nothing calms me down quite like a good stroll. The light exercise usually improves my mood and shakes away some of the anxiousness, without feeling too strenuous.
I find that in my worst moments of overwhelm, a more strenuous workout feels like the last thing I have time for or want to do. It can actually feel like another task at hand, in effect adding to the overwhelm. A walk feels much better for me.
It soothes my soul, man. Sometimes I just have to pop my headphones in and drown out the stressors. If the right jam comes on, I usually feel instantly better. I can focus on the beat and the lyrics, and I’m so in that moment, that the overwhelm I was feeling kind of fades to background noise.
4. Allowing myself to ditch the to-do list I just hand wrote.
And do nothing. I have a hard time with this (I know Clo Bare can relate!).
I’m a busy body, and I almost have to train myself to settle the F down. Netflix and chill. It’s great to have that to-do list written out, and it feels good to cross items off of it, but it’s sometimes even more necessary to just table it and truly relax.Elyse Vasiliades
I handle overwhelm by taking a step back out of the situation first. Taking deep breaths to calm myself from the overwhelm prevents myself from falling into the rabbit hole of anxiety. I then write everything I am overwhelmed about in a piece of paper.
This is my way to brain dump and clearly see what things I am concerned about. I then analyze what action/solution I can do to each of the concerns I have written. Knowing how I will address my concerns help me manage feelings of overwhelm.Chacha
I then write everything I am overwhelmed about in a piece of paper. This is my way to brain dump and clearly see what things I am concerned about. I then analyze what action/solution I can do to each of the concerns I have written. Knowing how I will address my concerns help me manage feelings of overwhelm.
Sometimes, I talk it out to my partner. Connecting with someone who can see your problem in a different level helps too.
Research proves that humor is the most effective buffer between life hardship and mental health symptoms. I use humor!Shawn Amador, LCSW
13. Mariah Harris
1. Cry it outMariah Harris
It’s good to let my emotions out and sometimes a good cry is just what I need.
2. Go back to the basics
Focus on the basics such as getting up, brushing my teeth, and making an easy breakfast. Focus on each thing as it comes instead of increasing my anxiety worrying and thinking about later in the day, tomorrow, or a year from now.
3. Chillax and relax
Do you have a show you love? Netflix? Hulu? Sit down and relax, watch a good show or movie, eat some yummy grub.
I found delaying and distracting especially helpful when in recovery from substance use and self-harm: because it creates time and space, to move away from automatic behaviours and routine ways of managing difficult emotions.
This technique doesn’t simply tell you not to do things, or condemn ways of managing your emotions into being purely good, or bad. It puts you back in control and offers you more of a choice.
Delaying yourself reacting by using form of distraction for a period of time (30 minutes +) will create distance from your emotions, and make you more perceptive to how you would really like to proceed.
Your Turn: What Do you do when you’re overwhelmed?
Thank you again to all the guest contributors who wrote up a little part of themselves for this post. It was an epic post, and I’m so grateful to you for sharing your story.
Now reader. It’s your turn. Share in the comments below what helps you when you feel overwhelmed?