Feeling Overwhelmed? Know how to deal with it.
Do you notice yourself getting moody and frustrated all the time? Or does your body always ache? Do you constantly feel overwhelmed that your body’s reaction to every stress is to retreat?
Feeling overwhelmed or stressed in this fast-paced world is normal. Since the world we are living in demands so much of our time and effort, we have to work harder. This stresses us because sometimes, our mental and physical ability is not enough to meet the demands.
The good thing about our body is that it can adapt to these changes. We have our sympathetic nervous system, which is known for our fight and flight, and stress response. Consequently, it speeds up our system (increases heart rate and blood pressure to pump more blood, dilates pupils to see more clearly, etc.) to keep up with the pace of the modern world.
But, when our body is under stress all the time, there can be some adverse effect. This may result in suppression of the immune system, excessive stress, persistent inflammation or accelerated onset of heart disease, kidney disease, or dementia.
Clearly, these are the worst case scenarios. Even so, we have to know if we are constantly stressed and figure out how to deal with this.
What are the symptoms that you are feeling overwhelmed all the time?
Feeling overwhelmed manifests in different ways, and can be caused by anxiety and/or stress. These can be physical, emotional, cognitive or behavioral.
Physical signs that we are feeling overwhelmed may sometimes seem like we are just tired. This is why most of us just ignore these signs. These can be symptoms of other disorders. But in general, these are ways which our body says that it’s getting worked up.
Physical signs include:
Increased heart rate and high blood pressure
Lack of energy and fatigue
Our emotional behavior can change also when we are overwhelmed. This just not affects us but also the people around us. Sometimes, we neglect our emotions and train ourselves to be stone-cold, and just focus on work. But, ignoring these can negatively impact our mental health.
Emotional signs include:
Irritability and frustration
Sense of helplessness
Sense of loneliness
Constantly feeling overwhelmed impacts our cognitive skills. We are trying to do as many things in a shorter span of time. But, by doing this, we are bombarding our brain with tasks that it can’t properly process. As a result, we can’t do anything efficiently which makes us more overwhelmed.
Weakened ability to solve problems
Lack of focus
- Racing thoughts (mostly negative)
How to deal with feeling overwhelmed.
There are two main things on how we can deal with this. First is to prevent it from happening, and second is to manage it when it’s already happening.
1. Prevent it from happening
As cliché as this may sound, prevention is always the best medicine. Definitely, it is better not to get to the point where we feel overwhelmed.
Feeling overwhelmed is paralyzing. And it can really disrupt our progress. It can also take a toll on our mental and physical health, and even on our relationships.
For these reasons, it is better to prevent this from happening
Know the reason why you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed.
Getting stressed all the time can be due to not fixing the root of the problem. For instance, when you put a pail under a leaking roof, sooner or later that pail is going to overflow. Fixing the roof requires a lot more effort but there will be no more leakage.
To know the reason why you’re always overwhelmed, check for patterns. Before you start getting irritated or paralyzed due to stress or anxiety, observe what is happening around you? What did or didn’t you do? How many tasks are on your to-do list?
Knowing the reason can help us avoid feeling overwhelmed next time. For example, for me, I easily feel overwhelmed when I start my day rushing. So, now I know that I should follow a morning routine.
Lay down boundaries (time and place).
It is important to set boundaries, from work to personal life. Set a schedule when and where you can work, and work only on those designated time and place.
When we don’t lay down boundaries, it will be harder for us to say no to any work related tasks. Instead of relaxing at home on weekends, we will be doing extra jobs. Instead of going home to our place to distress, we make it an extension of our office.
And our brain can pick up on this. It will now associate our home to a place of stress and worry.
Celebrate accomplishments (big and small).
Remember when we were so excited about everything we achieved? We did not even want to erase that little star mark on our hand. Because of these rewards, we were excited to go to school, do some DIYs, meet new friends, and learn something new.
Why would we only celebrate writing the ABCs and not checking off that first task on our to-do list? Did something good for yourself? Do that silly celebratory dance! Congrats on finishing a task.
Celebrating small and big accomplishments doesn’t just make us feel proud but it also gives us a boost of motivation to do other tasks.
Don’t forget to rest.
This doesn’t need a lot of explanation. If you work and work and work, you’ll run out of battery eventually. If you don’t rest, you’ll absolutely feel overwhelmed. To avoid burnout, don’t forget to take care of yourself and rest.
2. Manage it.
Sometimes, no matter what we do, there are just super bad days that we can’t stop ourselves from feeling overwhelmed. There is just too much stuff on our plate.
And who am I kidding, it is also not easy to prevent it from happening. Thinking too much about preventing it can also cause stress.
So, when things get really rough, sometimes, we can’t do anything but to accept it. However, this doesn’t mean that we’ll just let ourselves drown. We should learn how to swim with the waves.
Let it all out.
When we are already on the verge of breaking down, we really can’t do anything but to cry. And it is okay!
If you don’t feel like crying, rant it all out. Talk to a friend or rant on social media. Let everything out. Obviously, do it in a place where you are safe to do so.
If you don’t feel safe anywhere, write those feelings down on a journal. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to be understandable or what. Just write everything that you can think of.
Let it all out. Empty that baggage.
Take a deep breath and rest.
After letting it all out, take a rest. It’s really nice to sleep after a good cry. For a while, stop thinking about what makes you feel overwhelmed. Just rest for now.
Additionally, you can also take a bath. Eat your comfort food. Read a book. Just do anything aside from your work.
It’s okay to pause.
Take that first step.
It can be very scary to get back to what you were doing, but you have to. Start with writing all the tasks you have to do. For now, it doesn’t matter whatever task you first do, maybe do the one with the earliest deadline, as long as you start doing something again.
Yes, it can be daunting. But, just take that first little step, and then start walking again.
Remember that it is not as hard as it seems. You’ve done this before. Maybe with a different task, but you’ve been in this situation before. And I’m pretty sure you forgot about it already because it is not that bad.
So, feel it and overcome it.
Constantly feeling overwhelmed is exhausting. You want to be productive and then suddenly, you lose all motivations you have. And this goes on and on.
If we let this control us, we will never be able to do great things. We will never reach our goal. Maybe we will, but a lot slower.
It is okay to have off days, but if this happens regularly, then something is wrong. And if left unattended, this can greatly impact our health in a bad way. Hence, we need to know how to deal with this, and hopefully this blog can help you.
Remember that things work out. Maybe not today. And it’s okay. The important thing is, we must move forward!
If you have other specific ways on how to manage this, or maybe the triggers that cause you to feel overwhelm, leave a comment! Let’s help each other!
Always rooting for our growth,
Meredith Blaise ♡
I never thought about it as having to place boundries on myself. I can be my own tyrant at times. That is definetly something I need to define for myself. Great post!
Boundaries are really important for us to stay sane haha! It feels nice to help and to reach out but when we don’t set boundaries, we may spread ourselves too thin that we can’t take care of ourselves anymore
Hey Meradith ,
These tips have defenitly opened my eyes on dealing with feeling overwhelmed , thanks for sharing 🙂
No problem! I am so glad that I could help <3
Thanks for this great article. I like how you describe the symptoms of being overwhelmed and your tips are very helpful. For me, giving myself time to rest and recharge is one thing that helps me most.
Thank you for this feedback! Rest and recharge, you deserve it!
These are great tips on how to deal with your overwhelming feeling. I definitely agree that it’s paralyzing and can suck the life out of you. Taking a step back, breathing, and resting helps a lot!