10 Things You Can Do When You Feel Overwhelmed
by Michael Teh
Life can be a handful – with all the demands and commitment you need to shoulder on such as work, family, relationships, external circumstances and even yourself, more often than not, you’re carrying the world on your shoulders. That said, you’re not alone in this. To learn what to do when you feel overwhelmed, continue reading below.
“As chaotic as it does sound, not all hope is lost as there are things you can do to find peace and balance when you do feel overwhelmed with the world.”
Life can be a handful – with all the demands and commitment you need to shoulder on such as work, family, relationships, external circumstances and even yourself, more often than not, you’re carrying the world on your shoulders.
At the same time, the world is now moving on a much faster pace, it has become more difficult to manage where it would lead us to feel overwhelmed by the pressures and commitments we are entrusted with.
That said, if you do feel this way, be reminded that you’re not alone in this. Experiencing and feeling overwhelmed is not uncommon and in most times, it is not your fault. However, it is just how things are in society – the modern world we live in that is fast-paced, technologically driven and living in a high-achievement society.
As chaotic as it does sound, not all hope is lost as there are things you can do to find peace and balance when you do feel overwhelmed with the world.
Here are 10 things you can do to help you when you feel overwhelmed.
1. Prioritize Self-Care
When you start to feel overwhelmed, it is essential that you first recognize to prioritize your own self-care as one of the top priorities. Don’t wait until you have sunken into deep into your feelings of being overwhelmed. Look after your well-being is key. And at the first hint that you’re about to feel overwhelmed – being a little swamped at work, family or personal matters, take that time-out to assess the situation and then make a commitment to find a coping mechanism or skill to help you remain balanced and centred.
2. Shift Your Perspective
It is important to remember that stress of overwhelm starts with a perception. Perceptions are subjective interpretation of situations and events. So, how you perceive things will determine how you will allow the situation to affect how you feel. So, whenever you feel overwhelmed, try focussing on reframing the experience and view from a different angle. Do consider different
interpretations of the situation as it would help you take things less seriously. Keep this as your mantra, “This too shall pass”. As everything on this earth has a beginning, a climax and an ending. Your thoughts and emotions of feeling overwhelmed in life – no matter how tiresome it is – will come to an end.
3. Breathe Deeply
When you feel overwhelmed, take a step back to allow yourself to take slow deep breath. Pranayama in Yoga is a breathing technique that would help you to regulate your body’s energy levels and can profoundly sooth your mind and body when you feel overwhelmed.
Meditation has a myriad of benefits when it comes to countering the effects of being overwhelmed. Similar to Pranayama, it is a powerful antidote to the body’s response to stress. In addition to slowing your breathing, it helps calm the overactivity of your mind and emotions when you feel overwhelmed. And as your mind becomes calmer, your body would then become still, creating the sense of tranquillity and balance that lasts longer after the meditation session.
Through meditation, you will become more of an observer of your thoughts rather being owned by them, your perspective will shift away from being the victim of your overwhelmed feelings to being the witness of it.
5. Slow Down & Manage Your Time
Being emotionally overwhelmed often feels as you’re running out of time, hence, it is important that you manage your time wisely and properly as it is a very practical step to stay ahead of anxiety and turmoil created by too many competing priorities. Make it an effort to create and clear and efficient to-do list ranked by importance and tackle each one of them in a clear and methodical manner.
6. Move Mindfully
Another way to manage the feeling of overwhelm and to shift your perception of time is to practice mindful movement. Qigong and Yoga are two activities you can take part as they can help shift your awareness and emotions into a much more settled and grounded state. Both practices enable you to create the experience of “time dilation” in which you feel like you have more time due to the deepened quality of your awareness.
7. Unplug – Go on a Digital Fast
Today, we are becoming more dependent on technology. Unfortunately, the digital age with all of its devices, we are bombarded with information at every second. Eventually, you will be overfed with information that would lead you to feel overwhelmed. So, commit to a few hours, a day, week or even longer to cut the digital cord. It would be difficult at first as we are deeply connected to it. However, with time, you’d be pleasantly surprised on how much more settled your awareness is when you’re not bombarded with unnecessary information.
8. Get Plenty of Sleep
Being overwhelmed can be mentally and physically exhausting. The inefficient use of mind-body energy brought about by prolonged chronic stress will leave you feeling overwhelmed. Hence, it is important to get plenty of quality sleep to restore and heal. About eight hours or so of sleep per night is generally recommended for adults – when you feel overwhelmed, you may want to sleep for longer periods.
Incorporate regular meditation as well as a 20-min mid afternoon nap in your routine. At the same time, do set the stage for restful sleep by creating a routine that helps your mind and body to get optimum benefit from your time in bed.
9. Know When to Walk Away
Sometimes the most nourishing choice for your body, mind and soul is to simply walk away. You cannot please everyone, and it is vital to know when you’ve hit your limit. Be willing to draw the line for yourself and know when to say no. Doing so can sometimes be a defining and courageous moment in which you assert your need to no longer feel victimized by external circumstances and situations. By doing so, you reclaim your power to manage your life and awareness in a way that is nourishing and supportive for you – without the need to defend or
Be willing to surrender the situation completely – this does not mean giving up rather detaching yourself from any particular outcome and turning everything over to universal intelligence, God, the nonlocal mind or your higher self. Surrendering is an act of humility that you’re willing to turn things over to a power greater than yourself. You will realize that you don’t have to do everything and sometimes the great act of strength is the willingness to let go of your need to control everything.
In Yoga, this is known as Ishwara Pranidhana or surrender to the divine. In this surrendering, you’re stepping into the unknown and trusting everything will be all good.
Michael Teh, 11th February 2021.