January 4, 2023

12 Ways of coping with overwhelm

We all feel overwhelmed at times.  It is that feeling of constantly being busy but not seeming to get anywhere.  I felt that at the end of 2022. Sometimes a simple task could feel so big that I  didn’t know where to start. Often when I felt overwhelmed I would  start procrastinating and get even less done.  I would put off phone calls I needed to do, chores, projects on the house or even simple things like meal planning.  Here are some tips I use to stop myself feeling overwhelmed.


  1.  Accept how I feel and take some deep breaths. It is a feeling and not a fact.
  2.  Brain dump and write everything down that I feel that I  have to do.
  3. I look at my list.  I ask myself is it necessary? Am I having realistic expectations?
  4.  I cross out all the things on m brain dump that I can get away with not doing or that realistically I am not going to have time to do.
  5. Prioritise. I write a list with what remains on my brain dump and put near the top all the things that are non negotiable or need doing first.
  6. I look at my list and do the task that seems the least daunting and tick it off my list. This help me see that I am making progress and increases my confidence. I then do a task near the top of my list and tick it off.   I keep repeating this step.
  7. Stop distractions. I put my phone in another room or resist doing a job that is not a priority (like tidy out a drawer that no one is going to see). Some distractions are good, though, eg I put music on and sing dance when I am cleaning as it stops me being bored.
  8. I give myself breaks and rewards. Eg if I tick off 3 tasks or do 1 hr of work I can have 15 mins on social media or you can go for a walk. This might seem counter productive when time is short but it will replenish your enthusiasm and help you relax, especially if you do something you enjoy.
  9. Stick to my boundaries and, if some one wants my time,  I put myself first and say ‘No”. Eg tell your friend that you will ring later when you are taking a break.
  10. I don’t  compare myself to others.  Everything does not have to be done perfectly or to some one else’s standard
  11.  I am not too proud to ask for help. I used to rope the kids in to help,  or ask my partner to contribute.  I remind myself that everything isn’t always my responsibility.  I delegate.
  12. If time is really getting short and a dead line is approaching fast then I re-look  at my list and reprioritise.


Being overwhelmed is how you feel and not how you are.  If find if I change my perspective I can change that feeling.  As my deadline approaches I usually get this weird calmness after an initial panic as I just accept that it is what it is and I have done my best. That is all we can do.  Do you have any tips that help stop you from feeling overwhelmed?

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  1. Phyllis Sharp January 4, 2023 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    Another wonderful post, yeah I’m also feeling a bit overwhelmed at moment, must brain dump, feels like I’m jyst going through the motions if I’m honest, this post has given me food for thought and I realise I need to take back the control, as we often slip back and muddle through rather that be more determined .

  2. Julie January 5, 2023 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Thanks Toni, I needed this reminder very much today as I have been putting off coursework for way too long! I am going to use these steps to help me refocus.

    • ToniG January 7, 2023 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Aww that is good to hear. Yes course work can seem overwhelming sometimes, especially if you have got other things like Christmas going on at the same time x

  3. Marie January 5, 2023 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Love this post, thank you. I used to feel overwhelmed quite often because of work commitments, caring duties, family duties….. The list of things to do in my head was exhausting just thinking about it. Now my to do list is thought about each morning over a cuppa. I choose one thing to do after my cuppa – it could be the dishes, tidying a cupboard, working on my accounts for eg. Once that task is done I sit down again, have a cuppa and another think. Maybe watch a short tv show or have a nosey on fb for 10/20 minutes then get up and tackle something else on my to do list. Since doing this I have felt so much more in control of my life and things actually get done but at a gentle pace. I continue this through my day fitting it in around work etc (I work from home). The rest is easier to handle without that ever growing mental to do list.

  4. Karan Fowler January 5, 2023 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    A great post, I’m going to try the brain dump, do much rubbish in my head nothing gets done, some really good advice. Thank you

    • ToniG January 7, 2023 at 11:27 am - Reply

      Thanks. Yes I find the brain dump works really well. Good luck x

  5. Kathryn Naden January 28, 2023 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Thank you for this . I’m off to make my lists one for the house & one for me & use the me one as a reward / motivation including some daily non negotiables like yoga . X

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