What to Do When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed

You feel stressed and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, the more you would like to get something done, the harder it becomes. What to do when you are feeling overwhelmed?

First of all, feeling overwhelmed is just that, a feeling. You might not be able to manage the amount of tasks and to-do’s on your plate, but you can manage your feelings and emotions. It is not so much as getting things done in order to stop feeling overwhelmed, it is also about learning how to cope with stress and anxiety.

Take a step back

First of all, take a step back. Look at the larger picture. Ask yourself these questions to calm yourself down: Are the things I need to do really that important for me to stress out? Why am I being stressed out by this amount of work? If I could only do one thing today, what would it be?

This helps you to pick a to-do and also to put some things in perspective. Some people even tend to create a little stress for themselves, so they feel busy and productive.

Once you have taken a step back and looked at the bigger picture you can pick a single task.

Pick a task

Once you have chosen a single to-do ask yourself: If I could only do one thing today, would I pick this one? If the answer is “yes”, you have chosen right. Otherwise you might want to pick a to-do that is apparently more urgent or important.

Work on the completion of your chosen task. Don’t let others distract you and don’t let yourself cause distractions, like checking social networks or switching to other tasks.

If the task itself seems insurmountable try to split it up into smaller fragments. Say for instance, you need to write a report. Fragments might look like this: doing 20 minutes of general research into your topics, write the names of each chapters and jot down some topics for each chapter, do 15 minute research per chapter, and so on. Such an approach helps a lot when you are feeling overwhelmed. These smaller steps sound way better than “write an extensive report”, which sounds daunting at best.

Keep panic at bay

So once you have done your task you can continue the same trick with your other tasks. Will this help you stop feeling overwhelmed? For the moment, but it is not a long-term fix.

In order to deal with feeling overwhelmed you should try to change your mindset. There are few “emergencies” that truly have a long lasting, negative impact that is so horrendous that it is worth stressing over. Sometimes it is okay to let a little “bad” thing happen in order to finish something more important.

There will never be enough hours in the day to get everything done. The key to it all is not doing more in less time, it is more likely doing less in even less time. Prioritization is the key here. When you are feeling overwhelmed make a priority list of all the things you need to do. How many items are truly so important that they need to be done? Does your job depend on their completion? Probably not.

Next time you feel panicked, remember, prioritization is key. It is okay to let some things slip so that you can focus on more important things. It’s not about working harder and finishing more tasks, it is about doing the few essential things that truly matter.

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