Personal Growth

6 Steps to Take When Feeling Completely Overwhelmed

September 16, 2018

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6 steps to take when feeling completely overwhelmed coming at you.

Feeling overwhelmed and stressed on the daily can really suck the life out of you.

It can leave you completely numb and you feel lost as to how to push through these feelings.

I’m absolutely no stranger when it comes to feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

We have a daily battle going on – but it doesn’t have to be a rough one though. 

What I’ve come to learn recently is that feeling overwhelmed is an emotional state of being and it is a state we create in our minds.

It can very well be tackled by putting some of the following things we’ll talk about into action.

If you are a:

Whatever it may be – we all have multiple things going on at the same time and our to-do lists are endless.

And yes, your head will sometimes feel like it’s about to explode.

These overwhelming feelings, fears, and negative thoughts need to be put in their place. Sure, they can come along for the ride, but they cannot and should not control you, the decisions you make or the work you put in to achieve your goals.


Just a quick note on overwhelm itself…

Overwhelm is when you think and feel you have too many obligations you cannot handle and when your to-do list is so long you just can’t seem to even lift a finger to get started.

It crosses paths with burnout but it’s not the same.

Yes, they’re in the same family, but burnout is the result of feeling overwhelmed and stressed over a long period of time.

Overwhelm is a momentarily feeling and comes alongside its good pal stress.

But most importantly, it is an emotional state in which we create in our minds.

Let’s beat it!



Please just say NO to things you don’t want to do and don’t need to do. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are the tasks in line with your values?
  • What can be postponed?
  • How can I best prioritize my day?
  • Do you really need to do BLANK today?
  • Do you really need to do BLANK at all?

You have to set rules for yourself (and for others) of how much you take on and how many obligations you have in your life.

Make sure you are only taking on as many tasks as you can handle and that the tasks are actually worth doing.

There is a difference between an important task you’ve been dreading for weeks and all those meaningless little things that bundle up and leave you feeling swamped.

Say no.

Don’t crowd your life with unnecessary to-do’s.



2. Be Kind and Rewind

You have to slow down.

No good work comes from rushing.

Work at a pace you feel comfortable with.

Be productive by all means – but do not rush it.

If you try to do it all at once you will only flood your mind. More on this in my next point..

Also, remember to be kind to yourself.

Allow yourself multiple moments of pure peace during the day. Schedule your downtime in your calendar if you have to.

Make sure to rewind and reflect on completed tasks or things you have going on.

It is always a good idea to go back and make sure that your projects and responsibilities are in line with the bigger picture, your dreams and how you best can get to the finishing line.

Reflect, reconsider, edit and be kind!



3. Be Organized

Being organized is a way to deal with feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

This one is crucial. Focus on one task at a time and plan everything down to the dot.

Block your calendar out well throughout the whole day, and do this the night before so you are in complete control of what needs to be done and when.

This way you’ll hopefully wake up task oriented and on the right foot, because you know exactly what you are going to first, second and so on.

I use Google calendar, The Productivity Planner, and the good old post-it for notetaking and planning. 

You’ll know what’s coming at you.

Give your mind a break in between tasks. IMPORTANT!

Get some fresh air, meditate for 10 minutes, stretch it out or go for a little walk around the block.

Also, hydrate! Your brain needs a reset to take on the next project on your to-do list to stay focused and creative.

Make a note:

  • Say yes to a mental break!
  • Do not tackle everything at once – that is the recipe for stress and overwhelm.
  • Read my article on 8 ways to a more productive morning. Having a good morning routine in place is essential for a stress-free day and can help you set the right mindset. 



4. Accept shit-days

Ok, excuse my language.

Some days you just aren’t going to get it all done the way you have planned, even with all the scheduling and calendar blocking.

Things happen, other people may not meet your expectations, kids get sick, you might even get sick, and life gets in the way. That’s okay!

But pay close attention, this is almost all the time due to other people’s actions (if you’re not the one who’s sick), not because you didn’t ace the planning that day.

It doesn’t necessarily have to do with the work you put in or your mindset.

It is (almost) always other people’s actions that may or may not mess up your organized schedule for the day. So don’t let them.

No worries! You do you, and the tasks that were left untouched can be picked up tomorrow.

It might also be a good idea to take another glance at your calendar.

  • Have I planned too much?
  • Are all these daily goals and tasks realistic?
  • Do I have the time to do it all TODAY?
  • Can I bump one of the tasks to tomorrow?

You are going to have other obligations thrown at you. You need to buy groceries, pick your kids up from school and take them to their after-school activities, you might have a date, have a friend coming over, whatever it is.

Make sure you set realistic goals. Because if you don’t, you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed, stressed and like a failure.

So do NOT overdo it on the scheduling thing. On the other hand, do not set too little tasks either.

Find the perfect balance.




5. Catch you later!

It’s ok not to have had the time to complete every task on your calendar.

We get started, we’re in the zone, we’re creating, and then it’s lunchtime or your colleague pops his/her head in and distracts you – and you’re out of the zone.

This happens all the time and it will happen (if you don’t have the luxury to work from home).

Distractions will come at you.

My point is that you should leave some space in your calendar at the end of your workday to go through everything; send that email draft, finish up the final touches on that presentation, and so on.

Set aside time to proofread, catch up, finish it up and check it off.

Sometimes you NEED to shift your focus over to something else, to something that will inspire you, bring joy and make you feel, well, less anxious, nervous, stress and you guessed it – overwhelmed.

Try one of the following:

  • Make a list of anything that makes you happy. It could be anything from a shopping list to a list of your favorite people in your life.
  • Draw! Doodle!
  • Journal and set inspiring goals for yourself.



6. Practice Mindfulness

Mastering your own mind (and attitude) is so so so important. If you do this, you cannot feel overwhelmed. It’s not possible.

You need the tools to be able to manage the feeling of being overwhelmed, which basically means you need to stop thinking about everything that is going on in your life because the cold hard truth is that you are the one who is creating the feeling of overwhelm in your mind.

  • Change your way of thinking, from negative to positive. Make sure you believe your thoughts.
  • Learn how to trick your mind into saying “sure I can do this” &  “yes I can” – but believe it and this takes time.
  • Fight the complications and chaos by generating good emotional energy.

Remember that overwhelm is actually not caused by all the chaotic things that are going on in your life, it is created in your mind and it is your thoughts that can put you in an overwhelming state.

I cannot stress this enough, hence the repetitiveness.

ABSOLUTELY everything starts in your head, your thoughts and how you think about the things that you feel are happening to you in your life.

It is super-vital to filter these thoughts out, learn how to think differently and change your belief system.

Mindfulness is a great way to start this process because it takes time.

Headspace is a great app for starting out with meditation and mindfulness. 

Be still for a moment, meditate and reflect.

As a bonus, meditation has been proven to help with stress, overwhelm, anxiety, increased focus (!), and productivity.





It’s all in your head, peeps. Let’s get out of it.

I know we all have countless stuff happening in our lives, but it is up to us to change the way we attack those things and how we think about them.

You can choose to feel overwhelmed or not, even in the most hopeless situations, try implementing these 6 things first. 

What are things causing you to feel and think you are overwhelmed at the moment? Let me know in the comments below, your best tips and tricks and if ANY of the above is working for you. 

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    1. Marielle says:

      Love this post! Super helpful, and just what I needed to read. Keep it up!

      • Mia says:

        Marielle! Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m glad you liked the post and I hope you’ve found something to help you out in overwhelming situations. xx

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