• When feeling overwhelmed by life – stop and pause.
  • Take some time out.
  • Get everything out on paper.
  • From what is down on paper make a plan.
  • Decide your priority.
  • Spend your allotted time [which might be 5 minutes] on your priority tasks.

When feeling overwhelmed by life – stop and pause.

I am with you here…I have a tendency towards overwhelm. I used to get 100 tasks running through my head and just get stuck. I didn’t know where to start.

At the moment, we are about to embark on a project of decorating our apartment. We have discussed a lot of things about what we want. We have been living in the apartment a few months and know it well.

There are lots of things that need to be done to get it to a point that is functioning well for us, but is also beautiful and has the decor we want. There is also budget to consider.

Long story short…there was overwhelm.

This can hopefully be relatable though with anything in life that is overwhelming. As I said, this is my tendency, and I have been overwhelmed at many, many points in my life.

How did I deal with it?

The tendency with feeling overwhelmed by life is to just keep doing things, because there is so much to do right!

I can tell you though that the very first step is – STOP!


Because doing more of what doesn’t work, doesn’t make it work.

Take some time out.

Picture of a woman sitting on her suitcase that is overpacked. Things are hanging out. Part of an article about feeling overwhelmed by life

If you keep stuffing clothes and items into a suitcase, it doesn’t magically make the suitcase bigger.

If you are overwhelmed the likelihood is that you have a huge amount of things you want to do and don’t know how to get them all done.

To take time out and look at your situation is probably the most productive thing you can possibly do in your situation.

One of the first things I do when I recognize that I’m getting overwhelmed is to breathe. Just take some time, sit and breathe. Actually the chances are you are ok, you are living and you are more empowered than you think.

Get everything out on paper.

When feeling overwhelmed by life you are probably running around like a mad woman trying to do it all. Do you relate?

The thing about feeling overwhelmed is that we get lost. Not stuck in the past, but lost in the future.

We don’t know what the next step forward is. We think about all of the things and yet we can’t figure out one thing we need to do to help ourselves to change our situation.

At this point, hopefully you have already taken step one and stopped. Now we want step two which is to write down everything.

The idea is to Marie Kondo your activities instead of your possessions. Marie Kondo asks people to take everything out in a category, like clothes. Pile them all up. When you are faced with a huge pile of clothes you are more likely to face the realization that you have too many clothes. [Don’t know what I’m talking about, check here.]

So I am asking you to face all your tasks, pile them all up. As in, write them all down. Try category by category. For example, you can start with home tasks, then work tasks, then tasks for others, and personal self-care tasks. Or you could take a specific project like decorating your apartment and write down those.

From what is down on paper, make a plan.

This is a whole other subject in itself, you might want to read: How to set Goals and achieve them.

But let us briefly look at your third step – from chaos create a structure.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed by life you need to find a way forward. This is not easy but possible.

I am not going to be able to magic more time for you to get more done but instead I am going to give you some other things to consider, while you make a structure for your tasks.

  • Ask others to help. I don’t mean in a manipulative, burdensome, desperate way..I mean in a normal human being, straight forward, asking way. We have created stigmas around getting help, but it is actually OK to ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed by life.
  • Shelve unimportant stuff. You can now probably see that it is unreasonable to do everything you want to do. But is there something that actually won’t matter too much if doesn’t get done soon? These things can be moved onto a later list.
  • Decide your ’no’s’. If there are things on your paper that you realize are demands of you that you don’t choose to do, you need to say ’no’. Tell your boss that you are not going to do overtime, or tell your friend that you can’t afford to go for another meal out. Recognize what you need to say no to.

I think if you are overwhelmed by life this might be one of the biggest steps. Get a plan in order. See where you can move forward. Recognize that you have more power in your situation than you probably first thought.

Decide your priority.

Ok, so now you might have different categories with different plans.

When overwhelmed by life, it’s important to choose the priority.

Decide what is the most important thing to work on.

For example, I have a desire to change how I do my cleaning, my laundry, I would like to do a wardrobe reset, and I would like to change the way we do shopping and food. But non of those are my priority.

My priority is to work on our apartment decor. That is the task I am going to focus on. Within this one project, I have a long list of tasks.

I have those written by priority too and so I have a clear direction in which to work, I know my next step.

Picture of lots of wooden blocks but one is a circle and it is moving forward. And has an arrow forward too. It’s important to set a priority when overwhelmed by life.

Spend your allotted time on your priority tasks.

When feeling overwhelmed it can be debilitating. But if we know what tasks are our focus tasks, the next time we have 5 minutes we know what our next step is.

So decide what time we are going to spend on our priority and do it.

Taking 15 minutes to do this reset and then spending 5 minutes on a focus task will be so much more productive than spending 20 minutes running around aimlessly or even worse lying on the sofa because the overwhelm has turned to paralysis.

In summary..

I really hope this article helps you to find a way to deal with feeling overwhelmed by life.

Please know you are not alone, and please reach out!