What to do when you're overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed is one of the most common emotions I hear in my work as a counselor. With work, family, and friends all competing for your time, it's easy to feel pulled in all directions. If you're feeling overwhelmed today, there are things you can to do help yourself:


Deep breathing can lower your heartbeat and blood pressure, helping you to feel more relaxed. Try focusing on your breath and bodily sensations- become aware of what's going on around you and inside your body. 

Practice gratitude

Grab a pen and notepad and make a quick gratitude list. You can use your phone's notepad if you want, but I'd encourage you to take a step back from the screen while you're feeling overwhelmed. Get specific about what you're grateful for- instead of "I'm grateful for my friends" how about "I'm grateful for my friend Emily, who is such a good listener. I'm grateful for Claire, who knows just how to make me laugh." 

Get moving

Do something active- anything! A couple yoga asanas (I like this video for a quick de-stress), a few calf raises, or a walk around the block. By focusing on your body instead of your thoughts, you can put some space between you and overwhelmed feeling. 

Make a list

Okay, now that you've gotten a little distance from whatever was part of making you feel overwhelmed, it's time to take action. Make a prioritized list of what needs to get done. When that's done, cross off the last thing. Really. You can tackle that one later. For now, just focus on your top one or two priorities. And keep breathing.

If you're feeling overwhelmed more often than you used to, counseling can help. We can work together to help you feel more at ease, giving you the tools to manage that feeling of being overwhelmed. You'll also learn more about yourself in general- which will help you to understand the why behind the way you react to stress. Schedule your first session to get started today.