What to do when you are feeling overwhelmed

Ever feel so overwhelmed that you can’t even take a deep breath? You know, where you just take those short little breaths because your mind is swirling with all the things you have to do, get done and fears about the situation?

When you are in this storm, you know it compounds everything. You can’t think clearly, you grow weary this may last forever, you may even numb your feelings with things like shopping, alcohol, or eating.

Recently I got an email from a client asking if we could meet. She was feeling intensely overwhelmed and I could feel it through her email. When we sat down she mentioned that she wasn’t sleeping, taking short breaths and was worried about the decisions she was making.

I knew her situation and it was completely overwhelming.

But the great news though, this is just a season and like all storms, this too shall pass.

Here are four ways to ride out the overwhelm storm:

1) Know your Strengths: I can’t stress this enough. Knowing what you are great at and applying them to your situation will keep you on track and in focus. Also knowing how your strengths are adding to the overwhelm is super important. Our strengths are our greatest resource, but when they are turned on too high in times of stress, they can actually be causing most of the storm.

2) Get Organized: The best way to beat overwhelm is to make a visible list of all the things that need to get done. Sometimes just looking at that list though can bring on more feelings of overwhelm. The key is to get it all down in one location and then start to prioritize, chunk it all down to bite size actions and get to work. Action will ALWAYS cure fear.

3) Deep Breaths. Breathing techniques have been known to help diminish feelings of overwhelm like anxiety, fear and nervousness extremely quickly. Its also been shown to lower blood pressure, create clarity and help with sleeping. If you find yourself in a short breath situation, stop yourself and take in a long deep breath. Hold it for FOUR seconds and let it out for FOUR seconds. Keep repeating until you feel calmer.

4) Move your body. Staying in the same place will just keep your mind in the same place. Get outside your office or home and take a walk. Maybe do an exercise class or go hiking. Getting your body moving will give you new perspective and help you see things differently.


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