5 simple ways to stop feeling overwhelmed

In the past week or so, I’ve had a few of my clients tell me how completely overwhelmed they are feeling.

   Work is manic.

   The business is taking off.

   I’m trying to juggle multiple jobs as well as a family.

   It’s even started affecting my sleep!

Coincidentally, I’ve been reminded recently of a number of methods I use to help reduce feelings of anxiety and overwhelm when everything feels like it’s getting on top of me.


Top 5 tips to stop feeling so overwhelmed:

In no particular order, here are my top five suggestions to immediately reduce feelings of anxiety, worry and stress.

 1. Write a ‘Not-Going’To’Do’ List

This is unbelievably effective.  Whether you write a ‘Not-Going-To-Do’ list for that particular day, the week, the month, or even the year, just writing things down on that list will take them off your mental radar. You can rest easy knowing there is no expectation to achieve that task until after the set period of time is up and you can revisit it’s priority.

5 simple ways to stop feeling overwhelmed - Not-Going-To-Do List  //  www.zestebiz.com

2. Do a quick guided meditation

One of my favourites! I’m not so good at stopping my monkey mind from running wild so I find guided meditations really helpful. Even a 2min meditation can be helpful to break that hamster wheel feeling of go-go-go. Of course if you can sit down for 15-20mins or longer, the benefits are going to be greater, but start small if this new for you.

If meditation is really not your thing, then simply take a deep breath in (right down into your tummy) for 4 counts (1… 2… 3… 4…), pause, then breathe out for 4 counts (1… 2… 3… 4…). And repeat 3 times. Simply focusing on the breath will slow your body down and allow it time to rest and repair.

My favourite guided meditations online are:

www.calm.com (free guided or unguided meditations and amazing graphics)

www.yogaglo.com (15 free trail – great 5min meditations)

Magical Coloured Shower (youtube video, great for realigning yourself to more positive thinking)

5 simple ways to stop feeling overwhelmed - calm.com to stop feeling so overwhelmed  //  www.zestebiz.com

3. Get outside and go for a walk

There is something about fresh air and sunshine! Get to the beach (and get your toes in the sand), or a park, somewhere where nature really is at it’s best. Then start to really open your eyes, ears and nose to experience all that nature has to offer from the tiny glistening spider web, to the pitches of birdsong, to the damp cool smell of the undergrowth or salty rugged driftwood.

5 simple ways to stop feeling overwhelmed - beach walk to stop feeling so overwhelmed  //  www.zestebiz.com

4. Do something for your soul

If you can shut off while reading a good book. Pick up your book and just read. Set the timer if you really have to, you’ll be surprised how good just 10mins can be to switch your mental train of thought. I’m a tea drinker so I love making a cup of tea (when I remember I need to snap out of a downward spiral) and just watching the steam float up from the cup, teasing my nose as I wait for it to cool down.

5 simple ways to stop feeling overwhelmed - drink tea to stop feeling overwhelmed   //   www.zestebiz.com

5. Try ‘free-writing’

Another particularly helpful technique I use often is ‘free-writing’ or a brain dump. I just get a piece of paper and pen (I find this more therapeutic than typing what’s in my head, but each to their own) and I just start writing. No sentences, no structure, just thoughts, feelings, emotions. If I’m really diligent I do this at least once per week and like regular yoga practise it is a way to keep my mind limber and free from thoughts and feelings that are cause a build up in anxiety or stress.

5 simple ways to stop feeling overwhelmed - free-write to stop feeling so overwhelmed  //  www.zestebiz.com


Give at least one thing a try

I know it can be particularly difficult to snap out of feeling overwhelmed and maxed out, but I promise you, if you just take 5mins here and there before launching into the next task, you’re mind (and body) will thank you for it.

Which one of the above resonates most for you? Or do you use a different technique to reduce pressure at times?



20 thoughts on “5 simple ways to stop feeling overwhelmed

  1. Some great information here, and I have been known to do a few here and there depending on the situation. Another one I love is the procrastination pad, where you write down whatever you think you need to do while working on something else. Sometimes it is just your mind playing tricks on you, sometimes it is something you’ll need to do as the next step.

    It is amazing what the mind will do to keep you on track…or the most distracted!

    Thanks for sharing this with us, that’s fantastic!
    Matthew Eaton recently posted…Top 5 Quotes I Use for Motivated WritingMy Profile

    1. A procrastination pad, I like it! Similar to the free writing I guess, but a more structured way to get all the ‘things to do’ out of your head and off your mind so you can concentrate on the task at hand. I’ll have to try it out. Thanks for sharing Matthew.

  2. Hi Kylah,

    I like the suggestion of a “Not-Going To Do’ List. Mine is a mix of probably not going to do it, but get it out of my head, as well as those tasks that don’t need to get done today, but should get done someday.

    I place my big rocks, those things that I’m going to get done today in a little app called Clear. But those things I think I should get done, but aren’t actually more important than those big tasks, I either write down on paper or drop into Wunderlist. That app is where I place anything that has to get done in the future, for example a week from now. Or for those things that I probably should do, but aren’t currently critical.

    I’ve been trying freewriting for both brain dumping and for blog post kickstarting. I also use a voice app on my phone to get ideas out of my head, so I don’t loose them and to get back to the task at hand, but it is a bit of a chore to transcribe.

    Lot’s of great suggestions in this post.

    1. Sounds like you’ve got some great systems to help you stay level-headed Sean. I’m terrible at embracing apps! Pen and paper is always my fallback and seems to be most effective for me in managing my lists.

      I have to say the voice app for taking notes for blog posts is excellent though! I have used that a few times 🙂

    1. I particularly love these guided meditations as they are quick and powerful, but you have the option on most of them to find a longer one 🙂

  3. Great ideas thanks Kylah. I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed lately, mostly with excitement and a massive boost with the growth of my site that’s been running for 8 weeks now! But the lead up to it has been huge and a LOT of work, and now the work to keep going, keep up the momentum, promote, market, network, get out in my community and respond to requests while still NOT getting paid, and working my normal day job….I recently caught a bug which knocked me out for days, and my husband starting making comments about being lonely. At which I laughed, but took very seriously on the inside. With his big tough exterior, that really meant something! The divine universe is making me slow down and take a breather 🙂
    Louise Jones recently posted…Kids Birthday Parties BallaratMy Profile

    1. The universe works in interesting ways! A friend of mine got sick recently who hadn’t had a cold for two years! Knocked her out for about two weeks or more. Definitely a sign to slow down and start focusing on herself again. If your emotional (and physical) wellbeing is not strong, it is simply not sustainable for you to be there for others 🙂

      Congrats on the website! That is fantastic after only 8 weeks!! One step in front of the other. I’m sure everything you do is having great effect on your success.

    1. You’re welcome Joe. I’m still getting into meditation properly and need to work on making it a daily practise in some form 🙂

  4. Kylah,
    Great advice. I teach people to use the 20-20-20 rule also. If you’ve been in front of the computer for 20 minutes you must take at least a 20 second break and stare at something 20 feet (or more) distant.

    This is really important for resting your eyes and your brain. Staring at the computer screen for long periods of time stresses you out.

    The problem is that some of the things that cause stress are things we’re not even aware of, such as too much artificial light or even noise, whether office or traffic noise.

    So it’s important to be aware of these things and be sure we get many little breaks during the day.
    Mike Allison recently posted…The Top 5 Qualities You Need to be a ProBlogger – We Want You!My Profile

    1. I like it Mike! 20-20-20 is very easy to remember and so important to stop the build up of stress. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Kylah
    You have some really helpful advice here and it’s practical as well. I love your point no.1. I’ve never tried writing a list like this before, I should give it a try. I know that running a blog, a home and maintaining a day job I definitely feel over whelmed at times so these tips are great reminders on practical things you can do to help yourself.
    Thank you

  6. Hi Kylah,

    Great list, I particularly love the guided meditations. I have a few and find that if I do the same one too often my mind is not listening anymore and I am listening and thinking at the same time. I like to keep it fresh for that reason.

    Will give the not-to-do list a go, haven’t tried that and can imagine that it is liberating!

    Ulrike recently posted…5 easy tips to green your EasterMy Profile

    1. That is a great point Ulrike, I didn’t realise that I do something similar when I revert to the same guided meditation. I’ll have to remember to mix it up a bit when I notice my mind wandering more. Hope you find the ‘not-going-to-do’ list liberating 🙂

    1. Good luck with the not-going-to-do list. I hope you find it useful. I don’t do it nearly as often as I should. It takes such a weight off when I do 🙂

  7. Great post! It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. I definitely agree with meditation. I use the Buddhify 2 meditation app. It has some great short meditations for different situations – including traveling, being online, taking a work break and going to sleep. Even working online! It’s a great app to work meditation and mindfulness in to your every day life.
    The Flying Drunken Monkey recently posted…Top 5 Reasons to Meal PlanMy Profile

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