5 Tips to Help You Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

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Families, jobs, aging parents, hobbies, friends, and the unexpected things that pop up each day mean we all have busy lives.

If we’re not careful, busy lives lead to overwhelm. And overwhelm often leads to a complete mental and emotional shutdown.

If you find yourself feeling like you don’t have the energy to accomplish everyday tasks, you could be feeling overwhelmed.

If one of your first thoughts in the morning is dread or fear or depression, you could be overwhelmed. The good news is, being busy and being productive are not the same and there are a few ways to take your schedule from messy and hectic organized without letting anyone down or missing deadlines.

Here Are 5 Tips to Help You Stop Feeling Overwhelmed.

  1. Prioritize

The first thing to do is get crystal clear on your personal priorities. These are the big, overarching life goals and values. Who do you want to be there for? What are the non-negotiables in your life that cannot go away, no matter what happens?

This could be family time. Maybe there are certain aspects of your job that cannot be downsized. Perhaps you take an annual vacation with your significant other that needs to stay on the calendar.  Whatever those things are, put them at the top of your priority list.

Now make that same list for your month or your week. What are the things that 100% need to get done this month or this week, no matter what?

How much time does each of those things take to complete? Be honest with yourself, and don’t cheat yourself on time. If anything, build in a little extra time for when things don’t go as planned.

  1. Make an Actionable List

Now make a list of the rest of the stuff and start to prioritize those items. Do they all need to be done today? This week? Or can you spread them out over a few days or weeks?

Try breaking down that task list into daily lists that include no more than three things. Pick the top three items for each day and then stick to that list. Be flexible and realistic. Somedays you might have five things and other days just one. But completing a smaller, actionable list will give you a bigger sense of accomplishment and more motivation to tackle tomorrow’s list.

It’ll also help to recognize if you are most productive in the morning, afternoon, or evening.  Use your natural time of motivation to complete the most thought-intensive tasks.

  1. Protect Your Personal Time

We all need time to let our brains relax and recuperate. You may want to schedule your personal time just like you schedule anything else. Take an hour and walk in nature, head to the gym, or snuggle alone by the fireplace with a good book. Your mental state will thank you for it at the end of the week when you’re still feeling fresh and relaxed instead of exhausted.

  1. Set Boundaries

One of the biggest reasons people feel overwhelmed is because they want to help all of the people all of the time. Saying “no” is not only a valuable skill to have, but it’s also necessary for your mental and emotional well-being.

Determine what things you want to be a part of, what things light you up, and what is necessary to move you forward in life. Say no to the rest of it and set realistic expectations. Saying, “I’m busy right now, otherwise I’d love to help” leaves the door open for you to help at a later time.

Or say, “I’d love to help, but I wouldn’t be able to give this the attention it deserves so I’ll have to say no.” That way, you’re giving the clear message that you appreciate the person or the project, but it’s just not something you have time for.

  1. Delegate

Do you still have things on your to-do list that need to get done? It’s time to find someone to help. Delegate what you can to other people in your life. Maybe it’s a spouse, a co-worker, or a friend that has to pick up a little extra. Maybe it’s paying more for a meal service, daycare, or a house cleaner.

No matter what, know that you are in charge of your life and your priorities. The energy you have to give is a gift and should never be taken for granted. If you set priorities, communicate them effectively, and stick to your decisions, you’ll feel more balanced and more energetic throughout all areas of your life.

Do you have any tips that have helped you stop feeling overwhelmed that did not get mentioned above? If so, please share them with us in the comments section below!

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*Originally published on May 16, 2019.

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