Feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of business and life, but if left unchecked, overwhelm can make you feel completely helpless, stuck and unable to take action. Even on a good day, life can be overwhelming. Overwhelm strikes when we have too much do to or feel there is too little time to do it in. When this happens you may start feeling you have no control over your life and start feeling overwhelmed in every moment. If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, this article will give you 7 tips to help you stop feeling overwhelmed so you feel clearer, more confident and get into focused action.
In our busy lives it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed with all of the complexity and complication that happens around us, which makes it hard to get clarity on what matters most, and feel like you’re in control to make decisions and take action. Overwhelm can make us feel trapped, anxious, frustrated and stressed.
Common causes of feeling overwhelmed include lack of time, too many responsibilities, too high expectations, too much to do or comparing ourselves to others.
Emotional overwhelm can be caused by stress, fear of missing out, not measuring up to others, relationship issues and much more. This overwhelming feeling comes from holding things in and not talking to others about what we’re experiencing.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? If you are, this article shares 7 tips on how to stop feeling overwhelmed, so you can make confident progress towards achieving your goals.
What causes you to feel overwhelmed?
Feeling overwhelmed means a person simply has too much going on in their mind and in their life. Sometimes people feel overwhelmed by long to-do lists, impending deadlines, emotions, trying to do too much or feeling they don’t have enough time. When overwhelm strikes it’s easy to feel trapped and stuck which creates inaction.
What does it mean to feel overwhelmed?
I feel overwhelmed is a common feeling for many at work and in life. Overwhelm comes from a feeling of not being in control and being unsure what step to take. People often feel overwhelmed when they have too many choices or too many things to do. The antidote to overwhelm is getting clear on your goals, and then gaining greater clarity on the action steps to take and feeling confident about taking that next step.
Common causes of overwhelm
You can’t always fix the thing that’s causing the overwhelm, but focusing on what you can control will help take the pressure off the thing you feel most overwhelmed about. Five common causes of overwhelm include:
- Too much going on in your mind
- Fear of negative outcomes
- Uncertainty about the future
- Not having the confidence or capability to take on challenges
- Having no time.
When we’re overwhelmed we have no time to think. We’re paralysed and inactive or being reactive. The key to overcoming overwhelm is to get greater clarity on why you feel overwhelmed so you can create solutions. This comes when we have the time and space to think clearly.
How to stop feeling overwhelmed
If you are feeling constantly overwhelmed, here are 7 tips to try.
1. Take ownership of overwhelm
I feel overwhelmed is a temporary feeling. Take ownership of feeling overwhelmed and take responsibility for accepting to do all of the things that make you feel overwhelmed.
You may have taken on too much work, which creates the overwhelm. You may have too much going on in your life, which creates overwhelming feelings.
Instead of planning effectively, you may have given yourself too tight deadlines to get things done.
If you’re running from meeting to meeting, handling multiple projects and probably not giving the right attention and focus to the ones that really mattered, you will experience overwhelming feelings.
Instead of doing everything, take a step back and get clear on the projects, people and activities that create the biggest impact. Read more about how to stop feeling overwhelmed at work
Clarity can transform overwhelming feelings
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, simplify the number of activities you’re doing and give yourself longer deadlines. When we see ourselves as responsible for everything, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
We can say NO to the work or the opportunity. Setting better boundaries can reduce our sense of overwhelm.
Rather than doing everything, simplify the amount of things you’re doing.
2. Confront your fear of missing out (FOMO)
Overwhelming feelings are amplified when we compare ourselves to others and take on everything because others are doing the same thing.
We take on too much because we don’t want to miss opportunities or disappoint our bosses, our loved ones or our friends. When we experience fear of missing out, overwhelm can rear its head.
We sometimes feel like we should say yes to everything, to take on everything. But if we gave ourselves some headspace to reflect, we would say no more often.
3. Keep your perspective when you feel overwhelmed
When we’re feeling overwhelmed we often get so wrapped up in the moment that we can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
We can’t see a present and future that’s not full of constant tasks, commitments, projects and busy work. Learn to be present in the moment and to be intentional with your time.
This is actually the optimal time to step back, reflect and think about what you have achieved and will achieve during this busy period.
Ask yourself what lessons can you learn that can help you move forward in the right way?
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take time to understand and reflect on your experience and look at the positives.
This puts you in an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset.
4. Simplify your time to avoid overwhelm
When we feel overwhelmed, it’s often because we feel we have no time, but we are more in control of our time than we think.
This may be because you have lots of projects to work on and many impending deadlines but you can make changes to give yourself some time to think and focus.
Even though you may have a huge amount of projects to work on, you can still create space to think and plan. Buy yourself more time by finding team mates to take on some of the work.
If you don’t have the right levels of energy and focus to maximise your unique strengths you won’t be fully committed and the work won’t be as good.
You can always create more time by saying no to a project or delegating. If you can automate some of the processes that are taking up your time, even better.
This will help you stop feeling overwhelmed. Read more about how to manage time effectively.
5. Focus on the most important thing first
We feel overwhelmed when we have too much on. This leads to multi-tasking, which can sap our energy levels and focus.
Your workload may look impossible, but by focusing on the most important thing first, you will get out of overwhelm, and actually make progress. One productivity tip that will work for you to stop overwhelming feelings is to reflect at the end of the day on everything that you achieved.
Pick three things that went really well. Then think about the next day and the three things that you want to achieve that day.
If you are focused on achievement and progress, rather than the sheer weight of work, you will stay motivated and energised rather than feeling overwhelmed. Read more about how to be more productive.
6. Get plenty of rest and rejuvenation
I learnt this lesson a long time ago and it has really helped me through any really busy period.
Rest and rejuvenation are essential for doing your most productive work and stop you feeling overwhelmed.
Personally, I can take on most things if I feel energised and had a good nights’ sleep.
We all have different periods of the day where we just seem to work a bit better. For me, it is the morning. For you, it may be in the evening.
If I am tired, I can lose motivation and perspective. Things can often feel bigger than they actually are.
When I’m overworked I can also become easily distracted. What about you?
Also, if you are feeling overwhelmed, take yourself out of the situation, and give yourself five minutes to think through the situation you’re in.
Go for a walk, go to the gym, meditate – whatever works for you to get refocused. If you feel tired all the time, use these tips to overcome tiredness.
7. Make a commitment to manage your time
Feeling overwhelmed can happen every day if left unchecked.
Make a commitment to say no more to overwhelm.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I make a commitment to manage time effectively and focus it in the areas and the projects that really matter.
Spend more of your time in the areas where you can create the biggest impact, doing the things you love to do and are best at.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, simplify your time, energy and focus. The key to transforming that feeling of overwhelm is to feel clear, calm and confident. To be proactive, rather than reactive.
To succeed both personally and professionally, it’s essential to build self-care into our lives by carving out space to think and rejuvenate and spend time with the people that matter most.
When we don’t then we’ll constantly feel overwhelmed.
If you’re experiencing overwhelm right now, instead of running nonstop, or feeling stuck, with no end in sight to your overwhelming feeling, you now have 7 strategies you can use to get into confident, focused action.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What’s the one thing that creates the most overwhelm for you?
What’s your best tip for getting out of overwhelm?
Let me know in the comments.
About the Author
Get more tips to overcome overwhelm and be more productive on the blog.
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