6 Strategies for When You Are Overwhelmed

Jul 19, 2023 | Anxiety, Mental Health, Overwhelmed, Stress

For many of us, our day-to-day lives can feel like a vortex of responsibilities, deadlines, and endless expectations that leave us feeling depleted. Being deeply overwhelmed has become a norm of sorts. Coming home from work feeling exhausted and lacking energy on a regular basis is widely accepted by many. Fortunately, along the way, some helpful strategies have been developed to help you cope. 

In this blog, we’ll explore some of the many practical ways to cope with feeling overwhelmed and reducing stress. It’s not about eliminating stress entirely, but rather finding a healthy balance that allows you to regain control of your life and find inner peace.

Why Do We Get Overwhelmed?

The feeling of being overwhelmed can pop up for many different reasons. Just a few of the common sources might be an excessive workload, a lack of organization, unrealistic expectations, a failure to establish boundaries, perfectionism, and neglecting self-care. When we have too many tasks and responsibilities to handle, lack structure or clear priorities, or set unattainable standards, the weight of it all can lead to overwhelming feelings. 

Our ability to recognize these triggers can differ from person to person, but acknowledging and understanding what contributes to our feelings of being overwhelmed is the first step toward finding effective strategies to regain control and restore balance in our lives.

The Emergence Of Hustle Culture

Recently, hustle culture has emerged as a widespread phenomenon within workplace environments. It places a relentless emphasis on productivity, ambition, and rapid success, often at the expense of rest, self-care, and work-life balance. With the desire to achieve professional goals quickly and efficiently, many individuals have embraced this lifestyle. However, the consequences of this on-the-go mentality are far from positive. 

Studies have revealed a detrimental impact on mental health, with increased rates of anxiety, stress, and depression among those immersed in hustle culture. Paradoxically, the very pursuit of heightened productivity has led to a decline in overall effectiveness and long-term performance. This toxic approach has left employees vulnerable to burnout, feeling overwhelmed and depleted by the unending demands placed upon them.

What Can We Do To Reduce Feeling Overwhelmed?
Prioritize Tasks

One of the primary culprits behind feeling overwhelmed is the sheer volume of tasks and obligations demanding our attention. To tackle this challenge, it’s key to prioritize and organize. Start by creating a to-do list and then breaking it down into smaller, manageable tasks. This process helps clarify your responsibilities and allows you to allocate time and energy accordingly. Consider using productivity tools or apps to track your progress and set reminders. By giving priority to urgent and important tasks, you’ll experience a sense of accomplishment as you tick them off your list.

Accept Imperfection

Accepting that we are not superhumans and that it’s okay to make mistakes or fall short of our own expectations can alleviate the immense pressure we put on ourselves. Through this practice, we free ourselves from the relentless pursuit of flawlessness, allowing room for growth and learning. 

We can focus on progress rather than perfection, celebrating our achievements along the way. Electing to accept imperfection also helps us prioritize and let go of unrealistic demands, reducing the overwhelming burden of trying to do it all perfectly. It encourages self-compassion and self-care, reminding us that our worth isn’t tied to flawless performance but to our genuine efforts.

Take Care Of Yourself

When overwhelmed, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and reconnect with yourself. Working on mindfulness can help ground you in the present moment and provide a much-needed sense of calm. This is great for alleviating stress and anxiety. Self-care activities like taking a walk or indulging in a hobby are great for recharging your batteries as well. Self-care is never selfish; it’s essential for maintaining your well-being and resilience. This is one of the best ways to combat burnout in the workplace as well.

Hand-Off Responsibilities

It’s okay to ask for help when feeling overwhelmed, even when it doesn’t feel that way. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or colleagues who can provide support and guidance. Sometimes, simply venting about your concerns or seeking a fresh perspective can alleviate the burden you’re carrying. 

Additionally, consider delegating tasks whenever possible. Recognize that you don’t have to shoulder everything alone, and sharing the workload can lighten your burden. If you feel comfortable, you might consider discussing your workload with a supervisor. If some of the burdensome tasks that have been weighing you down could be lifted, it might make a big impact on your overall happiness.

Break Things Into Chunks

Overwhelming tasks or projects can paralyze us with their magnitude. To counter this, break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. Focus on completing one step at a time, celebrating each accomplishment along the way. Recognize that progress, no matter how small, is still progress. This approach not only makes the task seem less daunting but also motivates you to keep going.

Learn to Say No

It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying yes to every request or invitation that comes our way. Especially for those with people-pleasing tendencies, this can be particularly painful. However, each of us needs to set boundaries and learn to say no when necessary for our own mental health. Recognize your limits and be sure to stand your ground. 

Although it may be uncomfortable at times, taking some tasks off your to-do list can make a huge impact on your level of feeling overwhelmed. Understand that by saying no to some things, you’re creating space and time for activities that truly matter to you. It’s not about doing it all, but rather doing what aligns with your values and brings you fulfillment.

Why You Should Practice These Strategies Regularly

When we are overwhelmed, the last thing we want to do is take the time to slow down and put these strategies into motion. Unfortunately, if we do not do this, the stress and anxiety will likely build further. Even though it may seem counterintuitive when you have a hefty to-do list, practicing any of the above strategies might just decrease the overwhelming feelings you are experiencing. Depending on which one you choose, you might also reap the benefits of endorphins, decreased workload, or maybe even a free night to yourself. 

Also, by practicing these strategies regularly, you are reinforcing the idea that it is okay to slow down or portion out your workload. When we are constantly on the go, our brains and bodies begin to adapt to this high level of stress and activity. Unfortunately, the long-term implications of this are not beneficial to us. In fact, they can lead to a host of health issues down the line.

Feeling overwhelmed is a common experience, but it doesn’t have to control our lives. Implementing these strategies into your routine can allow you to regain balance and take control of your well-being. Prioritizing and organizing tasks, practicing mindfulness and self-care, and setting boundaries are just a few of the powerful tools that can help you navigate through overwhelming moments. With these strategies in mind, you can effectively build the strength and resilience needed to overcome any challenges.


New Dimensions Can Help!

If you are struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help.  We have treatment programs for alcoholism, depression, severe stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues.  To learn more about our programs, contact us at 800-685-9796 or visit our website at www.nddtreatment.com.  You can also learn about individual and family therapy services at www.mhthrive.com.