overwhelmed woman stressed over laptop

Do This When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed

What does overwhelm feel like to you?

Like a pit in your stomach? A throbbing headache? Or a tightness in your chest?

Overwhelm is the result of looking at the whole picture, comparing it to the energy we have in the moment, and feeling like our energy comes up short. The “there’s no way I can get it all done” kind of feeling.

However, no matter what the task is, or how many there are, we can always manage our thoughts around it.

What is your thinking like when you are overwhelmed? Oftentimes, the way we are thinking about our list of tasks is what creates the sense of too-muchness. We convince ourselves that it’s too big or too hard.

When we think like this and don’t stop it, procrastination and avoidance follow. And where there is procrastination and avoidance, there’s anxiety and irritation.

The Best Way to Approach Overwhelm

So what can we do to manage that feeling of overwhelm?

How can we think about tasks differently so we don’t get overwhelmed in the first place?

The best way to approach anything is to break it down into bite size pieces.

There’s a saying that applies to this: “How do you eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time.”

It’s the same idea for any large and dreaded task. We take it one small step, or bite, at a time.

Once you’ve broken down the task into smaller pieces, get started, and keep the momentum going.

Motivation to get something done doesn’t come by thinking about how you will accomplish the task or waiting for the feeling of motivation to show up. It comes through action. You just gotta do the dang thing.

Something in motion tends to stay in motion. You are no exception to that. Just like you can’t steer a parked car, you can’t keep up momentum or motivation if you’re sitting still.

Set a timer for 15 minutes. Pick one task you want to focus on. For 15 minutes, keep yourself going and focus on one task.

See what you can accomplish in the allotted time, and give yourself credit for anything completed. You feel better after accomplishing something in 15 minutes than you’ll feel if you did nothing.

Focus on Your Positive Feelings

Focus on how you feel after you’ve taken action.

Focusing on how I’m feeling after my 15-minute timer goes off is helpful for me. I often feel better, less stressed, empowered, and accomplished after I tackled something that was once overwhelming.

Focus on those feelings so you can remember them next time you’re overwhelmed. It’ll help you want to take action. Because those feelings feel good.

Getting started is the hump to get over. From there, momentum takes over.

So whether it’s exercising, cleaning a room, doing laundry, answering emails, or decluttering a closet, start small (15 minutes), then give yourself big accolades for moving forward.

You can if you THINK you can!

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” -Zechariah 4:10

If you struggle with the overwhelm, I would love to help you through it. Schedule a free 15-minute call with me to see if one-on-one coaching would work well for you. I want you to be equipped to live the life you want to live, here and now, and live it abundantly.

May 20, 2022


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By Dr. Richelle Hoekstra-Anderson & Tom Ziglar