Whether you are a Highly Sensitive Person or just someone with a lot of Anxiety, coping with feeling overwhelmed can be challenging. The phrase “Too much to do, too little time” probably rings true! Maybe, it’s a hectic family life, a job that’s demanding, or health problems you’re experiencing. Life has its way of being overwhelming! Undoubtably, some people struggle more than others with feeling overwhelmed.
9 tips to help when overwhelming feelings or stressful life events take over.
1. Keep a daily To-Do List. Trying to remember fifty different things that you need to accomplish a day will definitely overwhelm you! It can help to get the small things done first, so your list gets smaller faster. Also, a daily planner can help. Getting organized, and writing everything down will definitely take a load off. My favorite daily planner which also has a To-Do list on each page is by Day Designer. But, there’s also Google Calendar if online organization is your thing.
2. Don’t take on too much at once. Basically, do one thing at a time. Know your limits. Most definitely, learn how to say NO. If you tend to be a people pleaser, do some self-exploration on why you can’t say no. Saying NO is a form of self-respect. Also, creating some self-boundaries can be helpful. Maybe it’s committing to stopping work at 6pm every night. Also, asking for help and delegating tasks can be a huge help.
3. Keep your environment organized. Studies have shown that clutter and mess increase cognitive overload. Clutter has also been linked to high cortisol which is a stress hormone. Overall, clean up your work space, home, car, or even computer desktop (something I am guilty of keeping messy!). Remember, Messy= Stressy!
4. Take breaks when you can. Avoid getting to the place of exhaustion. If you get a lunch break, take it. Too many people feel the need to impress their bosses by working through lunch. But, you’re not impressing anyone if you become sick or burnt out from stress! Green spaces (trees, grass) have been found to lower stress levels. Absolutely, try to get out into nature as much as possible when feeling overwhelmed.
5. Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep each night. If you are lacking on sleep or not getting good sleep, up your sleep hygiene routine (quiet, dark, cool, etc.). When a person who has anxiety doesn’t get enough solid sleep, their anxiety just gets worse. Additionally, eat well. Low blood sugar can also up your anxiety.
6. Be around people who have a regulated nervous system. When you are in a state of overwhelm, it can help a lot to be around someone who is calm. If no one is around, call a calming person on the phone. Humans are social creatures. We are not meant to be alone.
7. Close your eyes! A large part of stimulation comes through the eyes. Whether it’s just taking a few deep breaths or taking 20 minutes to meditate, closing the eyes can help you to calm down.
8. Ground yourself. Often when we are full of anxiety, it feels like we may as well be floating in space. We’ve left our bodies and probably have left earth too! Sensory experiences can help to ground you. One of my favorites is smelling your favorite essential oil. Scent is the fasted way to our limbic system which regulates emotions. Besides that, just orienting to where you are can help ground. What does it feel like to be supported by your chair? Try tapping your feet on the ground a few times.
9. Talk to a therapist. Sometimes dealing with overwhelm takes some extra help. If you are interested in working with me, send me a MESSAGE. I see clients in person in Ventura, California and online all over.