when you feel overwhelmed

Life is so busy at the moment and I have had a couple of moments when I’ve had a panic about how much is on my plate. You know the feeling in your stomach when you just think how on earth am I going to get through this and I can’t think straight. So I’ve put all of my strategies into place and I can honestly say that one week later I’m feeling much calmer and more zen like despite my crazy schedule coming up. And then just when I was feeling relaxed and that I could do this we’ve had to book in our little guy for grommits in his ears next week! Not my baby! I’m being big and brave about it all and know it will be fine!

Anyway, here is what I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed……….

1. Make a drink (it’s coffee for me) and sit down with pen and paper and some peace and quiet. I always go old school, none of this electronic stuff.

2. Write down every single thing that you have to do and that is worrying you. Don’t worry about order of importance and put in the overdue things too. A week’s worth of laundry to be folded. Yep put that in.

3. Now write numbers of importance/dates when things are due next to each task. The most important things might be a piece of work, a day you have a big appointment on, a big bill etc. Rewrite the list starting from number 1/what is due first.

4. Tell your hubby/partner/friend/mum/someone who loves you how many things you have on and that you are starting to feel overwhelmed and really sick about it all. Get them to look at your list and help out. For me the best thing was when hubby just looked after everything for the night so I could sit down and make two projects that I had to get done.

5. Work out what you can get an extension on. If it’s a bill or financial worry you can always ring and explain your circumstances and negotiate an extension. Work due? ask for an extension on that or give a date that it will be due. The laundry? The housework? what is one more day. Can you get a cleaner in just for a one off to get things up to scratch?

6. Switch off your phone and tv. I don’t watch tv anymore and don’t miss it. Especially the news. But my phone can be a distraction so for night times it is recharging in another room away from me so I don’t use it. Take some quiet time each day even if it’s just 10 minutes before bed. I’m reading Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying and loving it. Just a bit each night.

7. Get out your diary and work out when you’ve got some free time to get things done. I had 3 tutorials to write up and it was another thing on my mind that was stressing me. Disney DVD and snacks on and I sat down and wrote all 3 tutorials with time to spare. I felt so much better that I folded all the outstanding washing that was on my bed and even put it away. It was much easier to tackle that task since the big job was done. Perhaps after school care, a bit of babysitting to keep the little ones entertained, cancelling something in your diary to free up a bit of time can all help.

8. Put a treat in your diary or think of when things are going to quieten down. In 3 weeks life will quieten down quite a bit and I am counting down and in a few weeks after that school breaks up. The end is in sight so don’t lose sight of the holidays and quieter times.

9. Be kind to yourself. Now is not the time to start a strict diet or give up the caffeine. Little treats, takeaway if you need to and whatever gets you through. They will be important to get you through this.

10. Get some sleep. For a couple of nights last week I was up till 1 or 2, it did not make for a happy person. So now I’m doing as much as I can do during the day and making sure I’m in bed before 11. Mornings are much easier.

What works for you? What’s your number 1 strategy when you feel overwhelmed? My best bit of advice really is to tell someone! Don’t feel like you are alone or that you can’t tell anyone.


  1. Tracey Mayhew says:

    My yoga teacher recently said to “Trust the Process” Im loving that concept right now : ) We are exactly where we are meant to be in our lives – in perfect time with the perfect people and everything is always ok – this too shall pass if we can just trust the process of life and that it is guiding us to our highest good xx

  2. Prevention – don’t over schedule in the first place
    Margins – think of the white space……. Build in buffers, gaps, little pauses and use them to decompress, not feel soooo rushed. Another way of thinking about ‘margins’ a practical thing have extra on hand of all the things you’d normally run out of (toilet paper, long life milk as back up etc) set up systems so have this ‘white space’

  3. Thanks for this post, can’t believe the busy days have started already! I think the diary is the best for these times. You can look at each day and work out what you need to get done. And do the dishes every night, otherwise you start the day behind schedule. I always feel like I can relax a little once the dishes are done .

  4. I categorise my list into four groups.
    1. Important and urgent
    2. Urgent but unimportant
    3. Important but not urgent
    4. Not important and not urgent.
    Then I go through the list in that order. I am a huge fan of lists and organising my way through the overwhelming stuff.
    Sleep is key and making the list first so all my worries are out of my head and written down somewhere. Guided meditation/relaxation also helps when sleep is elusive.

  5. Great words Corrie, recently felt I was ‘going under’, stopped to breathe, practised saying no and after regrouping feel calmer. Hope all goes ok with the grommet op.

  6. Juli Szasz says:

    Thank you. Timely post as always. I’ve been finding it helpful to meditate on a scripture verse or other encouraging thought while I’m busy doing stuff

  7. Im a big believer in letting the little things slide and making lists! Also that pizza looks amazing!

  8. LaurelleC says:

    My youngest had grommets when she was 4 and it changed her from naughty child to sweetheart. Having blocked ears is really annoying and uncomfortable for kids and they can often act up in frustration. Her four siblings were amazed by the change in her personality. It really is a quick minor op and your little guy will be just fine and probably a lot happier. Good luck. X

  9. Okay – I am a perfectionist and often a control freak. Because my husband was away so much with the military I took on a lot and got used to having control. But I have had to learn to include him – really he is just as capable at creating a meal as me or taking out the garbage. So my #1 is letting others help you.

  10. Hi Corrie, valuable thoughts! Thanks a lot for sharing. :)

  11. Christine says:

    I hope the op isn’t too stressful for you! My 18mo looks like he’ll need them too but our ENT is delaying until Jan just to see if they clear. He still has no words though which is fine if he’s hearing but if it’s related to not hearing well then it’s a prob. Our 4th is due mid Jan too so I suspect being overwhelmed will rain down then! Will check back at this post then for the advice :)

  12. For me my 2105 motto has been ‘Simplify’. To do things simply, without fuss. Doing things with highest priority first….then work backwards from there, then if you’re interuped, distracted or have to do others things, your important things are done.
    Right now, it’s coffee/relax break…then bookwork, then dinner preparations.
    I’m also thinking of making a block of time just for me….in the sewing room!!
    Loved this post & all comments!!

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