What To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed With Life

Last Update on October 26, 2023 : Published on September 25, 2023
Feel Overwhelmed

Are you feeling dumped under the pile of To-do List? Or your day has been busy enough that you couldn’t find a free slot for yourself?

Basically, you are in the “Too much to handle” phase of your life?

If yes, then you might need to create more breathing room.

This busy life and list of never-ending chores can make us feel overwhelmed. And that’s okay! We all feel overloaded some days than the others. But, instead of ignoring this feeling of being overwhelmed we should start focusing on ways to deal with it.

But, before exploring what to do when you feel overwhelmed, let us first check the common causes that give rise to this feeling. This includes:

Why are You Feeling Overwhelmed?

Some of the major reasons behind feeling overwhelmed are:

1. You Might Have Physical Clutter Around

Our physical surroundings have a far-reaching impact on our mental state. That’s why we are always asked to keep our workspace or study area clean and de-cluttered. The clutter around you works as a heap of stimuli, calling forth our mental attention.

As a result, our focus is being divided even without us knowing. This in turn inhibits our productivity and creativity making us constantly overwhelmed by our surroundings

2. You have a Fear of Not Meeting Expectations

When we are working on a particular task we have certain expectations out of it and when there is a discrepancy between what we expect and the final output the feeling of being overwhelmed swipes in. Apart from it we get continuously engaged in getting the expectation and output in line with each other, we end up getting overwhelmed easily

3. You Are Not Able to Find Answer

Often we get stuck at a point in our lives where we are unable to find answers. That feeling of being stuck is accompanied by the feeling of being overwhelmed. Especially when we are after creative solutions, it becomes even more frustrating and stressful.

With so much going on your brain loses its focus. Hence, we end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed. With so much going on your brain loses its focus.

4. Racing Thoughts

With Nth things listed in your to-do list we keep on switching between one task and the other. And well it is just us juggling between these tasks; our thoughts too keep racing in different directions. This further fuels the feeling of being overwhelmed.

5. You are Not Able to SetBoundaries and Priorities

We get so occupied in accomplishing everything that we forget to set our priorities and over that we forget to set our boundaries as well. With our priorities being scattered and compulsion to say yes to everything our mind just gets loaded with too much too handle making us feel overwhelmed.

Am I Being Overwhelmed? (Checkpoints to see if you are experiencing the feeling of being overwhelmed)

An overstuffed day might not always lead to the feeling of being overwhelmed. There are certain signs associated with this feeling. If you experience three or more of these signs then, you might be feeling overwhelmed.

  • Feeling physically and mentally fatigued without knowing why
  • Facing trouble in completing even mundane tasks
  • Your emotions color your perception of the world
  • Difficulty focusing on any given task
  • Giving disproportionately big reactions to seemingly little situations
  • Experiencing emotions like anger, fear, anxiety, or guilt
  • Lashing out verbally or having frequent crying spells
  • Being overly self-critical and engaged in negative self-talk
  • Having odd sleeping patterns

Making many mistakes than usual (often silly mistakes)

Things To Do If Feeling Overwhelmed With Life:

Now that we have understood the important aspects of feeling overwhelmed, time to answer the important question, that is, ‘What to do when you feel overwhelmed in your life?’

Well, when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed all the time it is likely to leave an impact on all three domains of our life, that are, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Therefore, it is important to work on each of them to overcome the feeling of getting overwhelmed easily

Maya Angelou says: “When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment.”

1. Working on Emotions to Curb the feeling of being overwhelmed

  • Take An Emotional Timeout

Think of it as a break from all the chaos. Just engaging in a different activity altogether will help you put aside your feeling of being overwhelmed at bay for a given moment and you will experience a new emotion. You can choose any activity, ranging from reading a book or going all crafty

  • Take Time to Pen it Down

Penning down is one of the most powerful tools that have to be placed in the list of things to do if feeling overwhelmed with life. It is a process of decluttering your mind-space by writing it all down on a piece of paper. Even if it is just a sentence or phrase, it will help you.

  • Be Thankful

Gratitude has a pool of benefits to offer. Most importantly it helps you feel grounded and be in control of your life. Research supports that a mere 2-minute gratitude practice can calm your emotional frustrations and give you are a clearer vision.

  • Ring Someone Up

Try and call someone up who has a different work-life from yours (preferably) and still you just connect incredibly well. Talking with someone unrelated to your monetary drama is like a fresh breeze that you really need at a given point.

Be Thankful

2. Working on Thoughts to Curb the feeling of being overwhelmed

Instead of constantly swinging between what has not been accomplished and what is yet to be accomplished, pause for a while and look at what you are trying to accomplish at the given point. Basically, just be there in the moment, focus on a task at a time, and scrape out what has to be done or has not been done yet. Trust me it is not doing any good, in fact it will increase your mental load.

  • Take Mental Breaks

Stop. Take a deep breath. Now go for a walk around or plug in your favorite music. Just take a break from all the tasks. Let your brain rest for a while and clear all the chaotic thoughts. Your brain really needs it.

  • Get in Right Mindset

It is important to have the right mindset in order to get done with your long to-do list. Studies show that adopting a can-control mindset can help here. It only gives your brain messages that yes you are not being swamped; instead, you are being in charge of your own life. Just break down your tasks, take one step at a time, set reminders, and tell yourself that YES, YOU CAN!

  • Mend Your Perspective a Little

Well, of course we prepare a to-do list intending to accomplish it. But, it doesn’t have to pressurize you. So try to mend your perspective a little from I have to do it all to let’s simplify and prioritize. The best way to achieve it is- creating a to-do list, prioritizing the tasks, and scrap out at least two tasks. It will definitely melt down your feelings of being overwhelmed.

3. Working on Behaviour to Curb the feeling of being overwhelmed

  • Sweat it out

Exercising can help you in two ways: it will work as a mental break on one hand and release the stress-busting hormones on the other. This indeed will help you sweat out your stress and calories. Also studies have found that people who exercise regularly tend to feel less overwhelmed over those who don’t.

  • Recharge with a Power Nap

Sometimes your mind doesn’t want you to be engaged in different tasks to find your calm. Rather it wants you to take a switch it off for a while by taking a power nap. C’mon there is a reason why it is called power nap! Just restart your whole brain functioning like a fresh day.

  • Hydrate Yourself

It might sound little off the track but hydrating yourself can help you when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Drinking water is like a mini-break that your mind is taking. Plus, studies have shown that hydrating yourself alleviates a positive mood. So, just keep that water bottle handy and keep sipping your dose of positive health.

  • Declutters your Space

Clutter around is found to have a negative impact on our brain’s ability to focus and on our feelings of being overwhelmed. Therefore, it is important to declutters your space and find your mental focus. Plus, tidying up has a calming impact on our body and brain.

Common FAQs:

Q1. Is feeling overwhelmed a symptom of anxiety?

Sometimes life conditions can be physically and mentally overwhelming like, deadline approaching. Thus, feeling overwhelmed is a common symptom of anxiety.

According to the experts if an individual does not work on his or her pattern of getting overwhelmed easily, it might result in intense emotions like anger, irritability, and anxiety. In addition to this, being overwhelmed is likely to give rise to maladaptive thought processes, such as worry and doubt.

Q2. What does it mean to feel overwhelmed?

The signs presented above briefly describe what it feels like to be overwhelmed. However being overwhelmed is experienced differently by different individuals, depending on the intensity and situation. A general feeling that accompanies being overwhelmed is a feeling of your mind and emotions being consumed completely

Q3. What are the signs of being overwhelmed?

While feeling overwhelmed can differ widely, there are some key signs of being overwhelmed that one can consider. This includes:

  • Feeling angry, annoyed, or frustrated.
  • Having frequent headaches or muscle strains.
  • Choosing to be alone.
  • Increased negative self-talk.
  • Changed sleeping and eating patterns.

Next time when you experience feeling of being overwhelmed you know exactly what to do! You can also help a friend of yours who might be feeling overwhelmed all the time. Share this write-up with them and be their knight in the shining armor.

Have more queries regarding feeling overwhelmed or getting overwhelmed easily? Drop it down in the comment section below and we will get back to you with an answer!

PS: Don’t stew it in the feeling of being overwhelmed when you can shrug it off!

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About The Author

Anjali Singh
Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh is a content curator in the field of Mental Health. She is currently done Ph.D. in Psychology. Her aim is to light up the world with positive vibes through her words, her idea of life is ‘Grow through what you go through’. Apart from this, she is a big-time pet lover.


  1. Akshita

    Emotional Timeout ! 💫⭐

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