4 Practical Tips for Dealing with Overwhelm

DenaJanuary 17, 2019

Over the course of the last year, my relationship with anxiety has shifted dramatically. For the most part, my anxiety is no longer running the show. I am so aware of it and I have made so much peace with it. I understand that it is a part of who I am. I understand why I became this way. This awareness and acceptance have been key to eliminating its power over me.

Today, I allow my anxiety to be present when it arises. It is like a scared child crying. It needs attention. Ignoring it only makes it cry louder; while acknowledging it, even loving it, soothes it. In other words, when I feel anxious, I don’t fight it anymore. I let it come, I feel & accept it, and then I let it pass. Fighting anything in life only leads to friction, whereas acceptance leads to healing.

Still, there are times when my anxiety piles up and causes overwhelm. Sometimes that means that I need to stay in bed under the covers all day, and that’s okay. But that can’t happen all of the time. Especially not when I am a mother, a business owner, a homeowner, and a yogi. It’s like, “Hey anxiety, I got things to do, ya dig?” Eventually the wheels need to roll into motion, like it or not, so I’ve developed a few simple methods for dealing with my overwhelm as needed.

1. Mindfulness. My first tip is to bring awareness into your mind. It’s easy to lose sight of what is going on in the moment. Anxious thoughts derail the conscious mind. Instead of understanding that we are anxious, we focus on external life problems. This is what it means when people say, “You can’t see the forest through the trees.” You are so anxious that you don’t even realize that you’re anxious. When you start to feel out of control in your head, breathe, slow your racing thoughts, and recognize that it is just anxiety. Then you will be in a state of mindfulness and you are ready for the next step.

2. Prioritize. Once you have taken back control of your mind, and the panic has dissolved, you can start to plan for action. If you are overwhelmed, there is a fair chance that you have more to do than you are actually capable of doing. This is when prioritizing becomes a necessity.

Simply write down all of the things that you have to get done, and then choose three things that you will do today. If your mind says, “Well, I can’t do just three things, I have ten things to do.” Remind yourself, that doing three things is better than doing none. If you remain overwhelmed, then nothing will get done at all. So accomplishing three things is the better option. Choose the most important items from your list and then begin with one thing.

3. Set a timer. If you are still struggling with overwhelm at the prospect of doing just one thing, or even if you are not, you can use a timer to calm your mind. For example, when my kitchen is an absolute catastrophe, I get a sick feeling in my stomach just looking at it. The idea of tackling the space when I know that it is an hour-long job at least, can be too much to handle.

Instead of giving up and walking away, I will set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes. Knowing that there is an end in sight, no matter how overwhelming it looks, I will just work for 15 minutes. Whatever I get done, at least it is something, and I will accept it as enough. Sometimes I will find that I really do need to stop after that 15 minutes and move on to something else. Other times, the time will move quickly and I am inspired to continue working until the job is done. Either way, something is accomplished which is so much better than being debilitated by overwhelm.

4. Reward. Each person is different and when it comes to getting things done, we are all motivated by different things. Some people (not me) are motivated by the mere idea of accomplishing a task. Other people are reward-driven, meaning that if there is a reward to come after the task, they are much more motivated to complete it. I will often use a reward mindset to get myself moving. For example, if I am really looking forward to a hot shower, I will tell myself to pick something from my to do list first, accomplish it, and then enjoy the hot shower afterward.

I hope that these simple tips are helpful to you, friends. Anxiety and overwhelm can be debilitating, but with the right tools, you can work through them. The more we practice these tips, the easier it becomes. Eventually, you will not even need to refer to this list, you will naturally take these actions and find your productivity growing all on its own. I am wishing you so much peace in your journey of accomplishing more and worrying less.

Also, I always receive lots of questions about this planner when I share pictures of it. You can find it here if you’re interested. Finally, I have a new shop called Wild Moon Co. where I sell candles, crystals, ritual kits, and intuitive tarot readings. You can check it out at You can also subscribe to my new, weekly newsletter using the form below. xo

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