How to Manage Overwhelm

Being overwhelmed is one of the greatest challenges in life. It’s a problem that affects millions of people, and it can take many forms. In this blog, we’ll explore how to manage overwhelm by identifying its causes, working to overcome it, and taking steps toward improving your mental health.

First things first: what is overwhelm? Overwhelm is a feeling of being affected by too much work, stress, or other external factors like having too many responsibilities at once. If you’ve ever felt like you were about to burst into tears because you were so stressed out about something but didn’t know how to stop the tears from coming out, that’s an example of overwhelm.

Now let’s talk about how to manage it!

Take a deep breath.

You can do this by inhaling through your nose, and then exhaling slowly and deeply through your mouth. This will help you relax and reduce stress levels, as well as increase blood flow to the brain. You should practice this at least once per day for best results!

You can also try four-square breathing or most commonly known as box breathing wherein you will:

  • Exhale for a count of four.
  • Keep your lungs empty for a count of four.
  • Inhale for a count of four.
  • Keep your lungs full for a count of four.

But remember that there is no perfect way to do it! Do what works for you and your body.

Make yourself a list or a plan of action, and prioritize it so you can focus on what needs to be done right away.

  • Start with a list of everything that needs to be done. This can be as long or short as you like—it’s up to you!
  • Break down each task into smaller steps if necessary; this helps ensure that all tasks are completed without dilly-dallying or procrastinating (and also makes them seem less overwhelming). 
  • Prioritize the list by importance and urgency, making sure not everything is equal. This tool is called the Eisenhower Matrix. This will help you prioritize and know where your focus should be.
    • Urgent AND important
    • Important NOT urgent
    • Urgent NOT important
    • NOT urgent OR important
  • Don’t forget about yourself: if there is something extra-urgent but enjoyable in life beyond work-related activities such as taking a break from work every once in a while or going on vacation.
  • Check in with yourself as you go along, to see if you need to take a break before tackling the next item on your list.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

You might be thinking, “I don’t feel like I need help!”

But that’s not always true. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid of asking for help, and don’t feel bad about it either—ask people you know well for advice (or even just to talk).

If you’re having trouble managing your overwhelm, it may mean that there is something deeper going on with your life or work situation than just being overwhelmed by too many tasks at once. 

Seek out advice from other people who have been in similar situations and ask them what they did to get things under control. 

Make sure you have enough sleep, good nutrition, and exercise so that your body is up to the task.

  • Sleep: Getting enough rest is crucial because it helps your body recover from the day-to-day stressors of life (like work). When you don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to poor decisions and increased feelings of anxiety or depression.
  • Nutrition: Eating healthy foods helps you feel better —and that feeling makes it easier for us to keep doing what we need to do! When we eat right, everything else seems easier too—from getting out of bed in the morning until bedtime at night feels more relaxing than before! 
  • Exercise: Exercise has been shown over time again and again as one way humans can cope better under stressors like high workloads at work or schoolwork, overloads caused by taking care of children/partners, etc. Improving fitness levels increases self-confidence too!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to get done, it’s important to remember that there are people out there who have been through this before that can help you.

You don’t need to go through it alone! You may reach us through wecare@happinessco.org to talk to our friendly and professional Mental Health Coaches. 

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