How to stop feeling overwhelmed

Do you feel overwhelmed?

Overwhelm often occurs when we have a heap of different urgent priorities all needing our attention all at once! It can be hard knowing where to start or what to tackle first. 

What causes us to feel overwhelmed?

Sometimes we’re overwhelmed by the pressures of work or studying, family commitments, a messy and cluttered house,  a sudden change in circumstances like a house move, redundancy, divorce or bereavement or maybe even a welcome, planned event like a wedding. 

Just the very thought of what we need to do to sort out the problem can have us heading towards a panic attack or leave us having a sleepless night, night after night.

I know when my mother died and I was left to empty her house out, I sat at the kitchen table with my head in my hands and a strong cup of tea, wondering where on earth to start! 


stop feeling overwhelmed. Image of a mug of tea and a notebook by a pretty window

Gather supplies and resources

Before you do anything, gather up supplies and resources.

This may include getting a notebook and pen to jot down ideas rather than having a myriad of bits of paper floating around! 

It could be gathering up a selection of snacks and drinks to sustain you or clearing a space to work. The first thing I did when I started clearing out my mothers house was to create a patch where I could make coffee and tea and reheat soup. This made life a lot easier. 

If you’re starting a desk based project it may be useful to clear your desk off before you begin so you’ve got a clear space to work. 

If you’re decluttering you may need things like bin bags and cleaning products, or labels and storage boxes for things you’re planning on keeping.

If you’ve got a lot of documents which you need to have all to hand it may be useful to buy a display folder and pop them in the clear plastic wallets there.

You may want to make a list of the important tasks you need to do or to do some journaling to get all the thoughts, feelings and ideas you have out on paper thus making space in your head! 

stop feeling overwhelmed have a good breakfast. Image of a full english breakfast on a white plate

Look after yourself first

Often if you’re feeling overwhelmed the last thing you want to do is eat big meals but having a protein rich breakfast can set you up for the day.

Drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep if you possibly can and taking regular breaks are essential. 

If you have a slow cooker it can be helpful to load something into that in the morning so you have a cooked meal to look forward to in the evening with not much extra effort.

stop feeling overwhelmed image of cluttered bed covered in clothes<br />

Where do you start? 

When faced with a problem that seems overwhelming it can difficult knowing where to start! If you’re overwhelmed by a work issue, speak to your boss about what to prioritise and what to park up for now. This should reduce your workload a little bit.

If it’s a home based or personal project, work out what is going to be make the biggest impact and do that first. 

If you’re decluttering, it can be useful to just simply pick somewhere to start. Good places to start are the smallest room or the room which will give the biggest impact, often this is either your bedroom, the bathroom or the kitchen.

If you’re not sure where to start decluttering in a room try gathering up one type of thing, so the rubbish, the laundry, the things that shouldn’t be in that room, any plates and cups, clothes etc. Once you’ve rounded up and processed one group of things, start on the next 🙂


Top Tip:
If you can’t get going, try setting a timer for 25 mins and tell yourself that after 25 mins you can stop if you want to!

It can be useful to run the timer again if you do stop so after 25 mins you get going again!

stop feeling overwhelmed enlist help of friends and family. image of friend giving friend a hand up<br />

Enlist the help of friends and family

One way to stop feeling overwhelmed is to enlist the help of other people either for moral support, practical help, advice, contacts and information or simply to spur you on when the going gets tough.

Have a think around your friendship circle. Who could you potentially ask for help?

Before you start to worry about whether you’d be bothering your friends, think how much pleasure you get out of helping other people 🙂 

Often if you have someone helping you, you don’t feel as overwhelmed and have someone to bounce ideas off

Stop feeling overwhelmed. Image of pink fluffy parrot in a garden<br />

Be your own best friend

You’re probably wondering why on earth there’s a picture of a pink fluffy parrot? Well if you’re anything like me you’ll probably have a negative narrative constantly running in the background telling yourself that you’re rubbish and that you should be more able to cope with whatever life throws at you!

It is way more helpful if you can change the narrative to one of positivity. Be your own best friend, your own biggest advocate, your own biggest source of praise.

Be gentle on yourself. Instead of telling yourself how rubbish you are, how you can’t do this, how it’s too big, too scary, too much, too overwhelming, start telling yourself that you’ve got this, that you can do it, that you’re capable of getting through this and coming out the other side. This too will pass!

stop feeling overwhelmed go for a walk

Take regular breaks and time out

When feeling overwhelmed it is important to keep taking regular breaks and time out. This will help you stay sane! Good things to do to stop feeling overwhelmed include going for a walk, listening to uplifting or calming music, or doing your hobbies.

Having a day off actively working on whatever is overwhelming you can also be helpful. When I was sorting out my mothers’ house I used to take Friday off so I could concentrate on something else. This used to mean I had the strength to keep on until the job was done! 

Top Tip:

Try diffusing a calming essential oil blend like this one 


Further Reading: 

Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper

I am a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner and Writer from Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. I love writing about Health and Wellbeing, Mind Body Spirit and Reflexology. When I’m not at work, you can find me in the kitchen cooking up a storm!

If you’d like to book a treatment please go to


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More Articles

How to have a happy and healthy new year

How to have a happy and healthy new year

Do you start every new year thinking 'this is going to be my best year yet?! Or is that only me? I know that I wake up on 1st January with good intentions, wanting to change just about everything about my life and for a week or so it works, then I get tired. Or I...

read more
Why exercise?

Why exercise?

Why exercise? 

There are lots of reasons why we should incorporate exercise into our daily routine, not least because it feels good, and anything that makes us feel good has to be a good thing, right? 

read more
How to be kind to yourself

How to be kind to yourself

Are you kind to yourself or do you put everyone else first all the time? Whilst I'm not saying we should put ourselves first the whole time, it is a good idea to be kind to ourselves. To be self-kind, if you like.   What do we mean by being self-kind? What is...

read more

Sarah Cooper

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This