"I Feel Overwhelmed" The Guide

 Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

By Jessica Hamlin

The Problem:

You Feel Stressed or Out of Control

Do feelings of stress or being overwhelmed or out of control come up often for you?

It can be hard enough to take care of ourselves well with a nourishing diet, exercise and feeding our soul with down time. If we are also taking care of others, like children, it’s no surprise that feelings of stress and being out of control can be even greater. Kids are especially unpredictable and often need a lot of time and energy.

So how do you deal when you have things you want and need to get done for others but also need to care for yourself and hopefully feel more centered and grounded in your life?

Let’s step back and look at how you got here.

How You Got Here:

Identifying needs, wants, and sucks.

Many things can contribute to you feeling stressed.

Sometimes it’s because a lot is happening in your life, either in this season or just on a regular basis—work, making meals, cleaning your home, running errands, dealing with family demands and meltdowns, and on and on.

In addition to a packed schedule of regular to-dos, other lifestyle habits may be draining you and adding to the stress. Lack of sleep, food that doesn’t properly fuel you, being around draining people, and just trying to do too much—did you really need to spend several hours making a Pinterest-worthy cake for a birthday party?—can leave you feeling tired and often, overwhelmed.

And then there are classic time sucks like social media.

What Can You Do About It?

We’re here for the baby steps.  

Balance can be easier said than done and while the ideal balance may never be fully achieved, there are things you can do each day to feel more grounded and not like your life is running you. That being said, there will always be things we can’t control and can try to make peace with. The Serenity Prayer offers a simple but profound plea to “accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

When we make time—even a little—to step back and be mindful about the present moment, without judgment, we can hopefully clear some space in our head that can help take some pressure off and perhaps even give us clarity about some things in our life.

On a daily basis, there are several ways we can keep calm and carry on.  

Having a routine may seem daunting or you don’t know where to start, but automating what you can and making a morning routine that works for you can help save time and headspace later.

Where Do You Start?

Remember, this is a process and baby steps are not just okay, but good. If you’re trying not to feel overwhelmed, there’s no use giving yourself a big to-do list that may make you feel even more overwhelmed.

But since the status quo isn’t working for you, start with what you can and see what small thing or thing you can do each day and see how it works for you over time.

Prioritize. A good mantra is “I can do anything but not everything.” While we are capable of so much, we are not meant to do ALL the things or do everything at the same time.

Also, remember you cannot pour from an empty vessel. If you want to be able to give others your time and energy, you have to fill yourself up first with good food, rest, movement, etc. so you don’t burn out.

Here are four articles to help you gain some headspace and hopefully start addressing what you can control:

(Thumbnail Photo: Do The Good Stuff)


Jessica Hamlin is an LA-born and bred journalist and editor who started taking pictures of food back when everyone used film cameras. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach training program, she’s passionate about wellness and enjoys making and discovering delicious and healthy food. Her work has appeared in Clean Plates, NPR affiliate KPCC, AOL, and Eater LA.