Feeling overwhelmed is normal. Just like everyone, you must also have days when you are too occupied with work and rarely find time for yourself. But, you usually forget that these anxious feelings have a significant impact on your mental health. It disrupts the flow of life, affects your productivity, and creates a hindrance to it.
In today’s fast-paced world, all of us are running to compete. While some people are competing with others, some are competing with themselves. Both cases are leading people to feel overwhelmed as they face new challenges trying to strike that invisible work-life balance.
Working hard, doing more, and being better than before are the most common answers to almost every problem these days. Instead of focusing on building a healthy relationship with yourself, the present work pace is training you to become a machine and work non stop.
So, what do you do about it? How do you overcome feeling overwhelmed when you have too much to do? How do you calm yourself down and get into the action part instead of being stuck in this constant loop of obverthinking?
Feeling overwhelmed have several serious consequences on your mental health. Some of these include memory loss, poor critical thinking, poor focus, poor problem solving abilities, constant fatigue among many more.
This comprehensive guide is all about helping you overcome feeling overwhelmed and take a step back to pause and reflect on your present flow of work and life.
How to Overcome Feeling Overwhelmed? 6 Simple Tips to Help You
Before we jump on to the solutions and remedies on the problem, let’s have a look at why they happen and what are some signs that you can easily spot in yourself or others:
What causes an Overwhelming feeling?
Feeling overwhelmed doesn’t have to be associated with your work or professional life always. It can also happen due to any unexpected even in life or poor mental health. Losing a loved ones, conflicts with friends or family members, break ups, financial concerns, health issues, traumatic experiences in the past, etc. all these can be a reason to feeling overwhelmed.
Sometimes even major life changes like getting married, moving out of your parents house, trying to settle in a new city or country; they can also make you feel overwhelmed.
Now that you know what possibly causes you to feel overwhelmed, here are some signs and symptoms of feeling overwhelmed that should not ignore.
Symptoms of Feeling Overwhelmed:
- Frequent mood changes: You feel the negative emotions too frequently. You go from being angry to sad to anxious to crying in a short span of time.
- Pessimistic: You begin to cultivate the victim mentality by always feeling helpless and hopeless about your situation
- Cornering yourself: You tend to withdraw yourself from your friends and family thinking that they won’t be able to help you.
- Unncessary Overreaction: You begin to overreact and panic on minor things like not finding your shoes.
- Avoiding difficult tasks: Feeling overwhelmed also impacts your logical thinking, hence you may find yourself delaying important work or ignoring it altogether.
How to Overcome Feeling Overwhelmed?
Here are some of my go to strategies that help me whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, I hope you will find sometime reliable in these for you too.
1. Feeling Overwhelmed: Find the Source
The first step to overcome your overwhelming feelings is to identify the source. Ask yourself, “what is that one thing that is causing you so much stress?”
Obviously, this will not solve the problem but atleast you’ll have a headstart in handling the problem. If it’s a significant project that is almost done, then complete it. If you’re overwhelmed thinking about the size and scale of the project, then break the entire project into daily tasks that can be performed everyday.
This is what I did when I closed one of the biggest deals of my freelancing career. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious. My self confidence was deep in rock bottom and I was scared if I will ever be able to justify the opportunity I have.
But, I took a steady approach towards the project and here’s how I my client appreciated everything I did.
2. Feeling overwhelmed at work – Maintain a to-do list
Building a to-do list has a great impact on increasing your productivity. This one habit of writing and preparing a to-do list before going to the bed has helped me to stay on track without feeling overwhelmed every now and then.
In the initial stage of any business, especially as a freelancer, you have to become a one-person army. Expanding your team and outsourcing your work happens at a later stage of your journey. When you know that your plate is full and you can hire someone else to accompany you.
Hence to justify and produce results for this plate full of tasks, to overcome feeling overwhelmed, a to-do list is your greatest savior. It works efficiently to improve your focus and work process.
3. Feeling Overwhelmed and Anxious: Prioritize your tasks
As I said, initially, you’ll be a one-person team. Currently, besides my main goal of writing for my clients and my blog, I have got a hell of loads of other tasks. Creating content for my Instagram and LinkedIn top it. And, smaller tasks include pitching to prospects, reading and replying to emails, getting on a call with my clients, creating contracts, sending invoices, and many others. I tell you it is a complete list that I write and sleep for the next day.
Even when I have a to-do list to keep me in check, the number of tasks gets on my mind sometimes. This is why I write the task in my order or priority. I never write them vaguely.
This allows me to understand what’s important and what shall be done in the day. And, what can be shifted to the next or coming days without causing any harm to my mental health and my work ethic?
This is called the Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix Approach and you can read more about it here.
Also, while you go with the day and check off your list make sure you keep your distractions away from yourself. I keep my phone in silent mode in a bag when I sit to write.
4. Feeling Overwhelmed: Take Action
Now, when I have my priority tasks set for the day. All I need is to do them. But, some days doing the work becomes the most difficult thing to achieve.
The human mind is a wanderer. It can take you to places and situations while you sit at home. And mine just happens to give me daydreams especially when I sit to write. Writers, do you agree or do you agree?
The fact that I have stopped several times while writing this blog to think about everything that is of so not important right now is the proof you need.
But, you got to do what needs to be done. Consistency is the greatest key to achieving your goals. Thinking about reaching there won’t take you there. Taking action and doing it will do the needful.
Since you have your tasks prioritized now, sit and do them. This is how you conquer the feeling of overwhelm – by doing the tasks. I don’t get up from my laptop until I am done with the first draft of my writing piece in one go.
5. Feeling Overwhelmed: Set Your boundaries
I mentioned in the productivity blog that even if I have a to-do list, I’m yet to reach a stage where I schedule my tasks with time. And I am glad to share that I am in a better place. I am learning to set boundaries for my work.
Setting boundaries for yourself in terms of time and workload is extremely important for your mental health. My work list has proved to be extremely helpful for me to stay on track with my workload. It allows me to break my work into small chunks of tasks and make things seem easier even when they are not. This helps me with feeling overwhelmed and improves my level of input.
Recently, I have incorporated this new thing into my schedule. Earlier, I was working on this list vaguely throughout the day, without any time limit for myself. But, lately, as winter is approaching, I am practicing maintaining a broader schedule for myself.
6. When you are feeling overwhelmed, remember you are inspiring someone
Now that you have learned to conquer feeling overwhelmed, you must be grateful for all that you have. And, as you practice gratitude in life, you must give credit to yourself for everything you are doing.
Hustling in life we usually forget to acknowledge our efforts to make ends meet. Hence, do not forget to treat yourself once in a while and remember even at your worst you are an inspiration to someone.
Recently, I had my client text me how a question I asked her inspired her to create an entire social media post on it. Another instance is when I had two of my friends ask me all the nitty-gritty of blogging and freelancing because they were inspired to see me go for my dream. All this happened when I was feeling overwhelmed and demotivated thinking that I haven’t done much.
But it is little reminders like these that always help, especially when they come from unexpected people.
The impact of feeling overwhelmed ranges within a lot of parameters. It leads to confusion. Sometimes it creates a barrier to logical thinking. At times, you’ll find yourself with difficulty concentrating or solving a problem. But, while you are at any of it, remind yourself of the cause of it – your overloaded brain.
The solution you seek is nothing but stepping back from the chaos and give yourslef what you need the most: a deep sleep and rest. And, as much as fatigue is related to your physical health, it is very much a part of your mental health too. So, the next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and reflect on your daily schedule.
Take a break. Empty your brain. And then, follow the above steps and restart. We all need to push the restart button every once in a while. If machines can get exhausted, we are living beings after all. I hope the advice and strategies above will help you in the long run and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
I shall see you in the next blog. With something fun, and creative yet informational.
Till then, Happy reading guys !!!