How to stop feeling overwhelmed by life
Since you’ve found this article, chances are, you’re also feeling overwhelmed by life. First, let me say that it’s a completely normal feeling to have.
Because it can happen to anyone at any time. Whether it’s at work, school, or family life. Sometimes there’s simply not enough time to deal with all our responsibilities and tasks.
And that’s the exact moment when we start feeling overwhelmed. But the bad part is what happens after.
We have less motivation, less energy, and get fewer things done. It would be awesome if we could easily avoid that, wouldn’t it?
Sadly enough, we don’t really get taught how to stop feeling overwhelmed in these situations. Not at school, not from our parents, and not from anyone else.
In most cases, we only get generic advice like “just do what you gotta do” or “be more efficient with your time” or even “persevere and it will soon end.”
But what else can we do but sigh at “advice” like that? Especially because none of it ever works…
That being said, there are things that work. Things we can do to lessen or completely eliminate the feeling of overwhelm…
The following article is a collection of “things” or “techniques” or “general approaches” that work for most people.
So without further ado, here’s the first solution!
Solution #1: start with overcoming procrastination
One of the most common causes of feeling overwhelmed is having too many unfinished tasks.
Imagine you have to bake a birthday cake. It doesn’t sound that bad, does it? In fact, it sounds interesting and somewhat fun to do.
Now imagine having to bake a birthday cake a day for the next 100 days. It might get boring after a while, but it’s doable, right?
Finally, imagine having to bake 100 birthday cakes in one day. The result? Anxiety, panic, feeling overwhelmed, and a colossal mess in the kitchen.
You can replace the baking of a birthday cake with any other task. Any task that is seemingly easy and can be put off for later.
This belief is the reason why these tasks to pile up. And it’s also the reason why so many people, young and old, feel overwhelmed.
If you avoid them, neglect them, and leave them for later, they’ll pay dividends in the form of feeling overwhelmed.
The solution is to do the simple but important tasks and chores regularly. Don’t let them pile up. No matter how easy or annoying they might be.
But if that sounds a little wishy-washy, there’s also some more actionable advice found here: 3 Effective techniques to stop procrastination.
Solution #2: split huge tasks into smaller chunks
There are days we can manage everything perfectly and on time. But there will be occasions when we get this one humongous task or chore.
Thus we can’t help but have this internal “UGH” moment. Unfortunately, there’s no escaping it, so we do it even if we don’t like it.
As we do it, we realize the task is not progressing as fast as we want it to. Or maybe it’s not progressing at all.
Time passes, other responsibilities keep piling up, and we start feeling overwhelmed again. It’s a very difficult thing to power through.
And while some of us might have the willpower for it, most of us don’t.
Fortunately, there’s something all of us can do about it…
The trick is to never look at large tasks as a whole. As in, see the trees and not the forest. Or see the layers and not the cake.
Simply put, we can just split a massive task into smaller, manageable tasks. That way we have many smaller goals to work towards.
But the sense of accomplishment is still there. It pushes us forward to the next small goal and the one after that.
Not only does it feel less overwhelming, but you do more and better in the long run.
Solution #3: ask for help
Pride can be the downfall of many individuals. And sometimes, it’s also a cause for feeling overwhelmed.
Simply because some of us take pride in our accomplishments. Our abilities helped us get things done and get where we are now.
While it’s a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to feel good about ourselves, it often sets us down on the wrong path.
So if there ever comes a time when we can’t manage to do something, we’re too shameful to admit it.
We much rather feel overwhelmed and helpless than cave in and ask help from our friends, family or colleagues. It’s a difficult wall to overcome.
But when we change our perspective a bit. When we understand that we’re not alone. That all responsibility shouldn’t always be placed on our shoulders…
We’ll reach a sense of unity, a sense of belonging, and the uplifting feeling of being able to share the burden.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed because of prideful feelings…
Please don’t wait, reach out to the people that can and WILL help you.
It only gets easier after you do it once. Always remember that you’re not alone in this.
Solution #4: counteract the feeling of overwhelm
When we’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s usually our minds and bodies signaling that whatever’s ahead is gonna be super tiring and stressful.
It’s an instinctive self-preservation response that has been deeply ingrained in our brains since ancient times.
While it happens automatically at a subconscious level, we can actually override it to some extent.
All we have to do is use a little self-encouragement and pep talks to lessen the effects of feeling overwhelmed.
It sounds too simple for it to work, but it’s actually very effective. While it won’t work in just a few tries, that’s simply because it’s a momentum-based technique.
The more you do it, the more effective it becomes. It’s less about instant switches, but more about what it does for you in the long term.
It ties in with fostering a positive mindset and positive thinking. Especially since you’re battling bad emotions and thoughts with good ones.
But no matter the science behind it, all you have to do is try it. And after that simply keep doing it.
Solution #5: use the Pareto principle
When all else fails and we can’t manage to do everything no matter how fast, efficient, or productive we are, there’s a single failsafe – the Pareto principle.
The gist of it is that 20% causes produce 80% effects. Simply put, we should be doing the things that give us the most benefit.
Because when we’re feeling overwhelmed, how many tasks that we think are important are actually important?
It doesn’t matter if it’s life, work, or relationships. There will always be things we absolutely have to do and things we could do.
The problem is when we start treating both equally. This leads to indecisiveness, confusion, and eventually feeling overwhelmed.
So we need to pull out the chopping block, evaluate everything we do daily, and cut off the excess.
Things like folding the end of the toilet paper roll into a neat triangle should be the first to go. Or things like neatly arranging the icons on your desktop.
If we just take a deep look into our days, there are many ways to save minutes if not hours, by ridding ourselves of the meaningless.
And when we have more time to do the things that are actually important, the feeling of being overwhelmed dissipates all on its own.
Overwhelming wall of text almost over!
This whole article is a perfect example of how to make something feel considerably less overwhelming. Or more specifically, it’s the use of subheadings!
Would anyone read any of this if it was a continuous wall of text towering over even the tallest of basketball players?
Most definitely not.
So witness the power of subheadings, ye mighty, and despair!
Jokes aside, it’s Solution #2 in effect, which can be applied to just about any aspect of our lives.
And the same goes for the other four solutions. Whether it’s eliminating procrastination, asking for help, counteracting the feeling of overwhelm or using the Pareto principle.
How we integrate them in our lives depends entirely up to us. The only limiting factor is our creativity.
That being said, that’s all for this week. Let us know how you deal with feeling overwhelmed in the comments!
Any type of advice you provide will help someone else’s life better. So don’t be shy!
Until next time, live empowered!
Here’s a helpful video on the subject from Sharon Stokes