Do you have so much going on that you feel overwhelmed? A busy life with too many demands can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Work, family, other obligations as well as unresolved mental/emotional stress can prove to be too much at times. Not only is it hard on us mentally and emotionally, it’s taking a toll on us physically too.

What can you do? Here are a few tips to minimize feelings of overwhelm and stress:

  1. Take a deep breath. Once you start to feel overwhelmed, things tend to go downhill quickly. Give yourself a break by relaxing, taking a deep breath, and slowing down your mind. Just a few mindful moments can help rebalance the nervous system.
  2. Focus on what you can control. In any situation, there are things you can control and things you can’t control. Keep your focus on those things you can do something about.
  3. Let go of those things that are out of your control. There’s no reason to think about it and get yourself more agitated if you can’t do anything about it. Learn to let go of anything you can’t influence.
  4. Focus on solutions. Most of us make the mistake of focusing on the problem and imagining negative outcomes. This strategy causes even more stress. If you’re going to think about the problem, commit to coming out of the thought process with a plan that moves things forward in some way.
  • Ask yourself what you can do to eliminate, delegate or lessen the sources of your stress. Write down your ideas, then put those ideas into action.
  1. Avoid making assumptions. Are things actually as stressful as you think they are? Is it possible that you’ve misinterpreted something or made something more than it needs to be? Gather all the facts before deciding if there’s a reason to be overwhelmed. Question your judgment and ensure that you’re on solid ground before hitting the panic button if at all.
  2. Give yourself a change of scenery. Get out of the house and the office for a few hours. Your environment affects your perspective. Spend some time in nature if possible. If that’s not possible, use an app with nature sounds, play some soothing music or even buy a small water feature for your desk.
  3. Spend time with a friend or loved one. Sometimes we need an objective eye on an issue to put something in perspective. Sometimes we need that friend who knows how to make us laugh. Other times we need that friend who is a great listener. While you may be the one who is always able, willing and ready to help a friend, is it time to reach out for some support yourself?
  4. Enjoy a relaxing activity. What relaxes you? Taking a warm bath? Going for a run? Getting a massage? Spend an hour or two decompressing in a way that signals your body and mind to calm down.
  5. Cut down on your obligations. Maybe you’re overcommitting. Consider limiting the number of activities you participate in. Are you taking on too many responsibilities? Just because you can do those things, doesn’t mean you should.
  • Consider which of your obligations are most important and say no to the rest.
  1. Remember when you’ve been overwhelmed in the past. What helped? What didn’t work? Was there some particular combination of strategies that worked well for you? See if any of them may work again for you now.

It’s easy to let the overwhelm become debilitating. Instead, try creating your “overwhelm prevention plan” filled with your top few ideas you can implement when your level of stress increases. With your tips handy, you can implement your strategies when you need them most.

Dr. Debi
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute

248: A Dose of Dr. Debi: Are You Managing Symptoms or Getting to the Root Cause?