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Feeling overwhelmed by life – what should I do?

Feeling overwhelmed by life? We have all been there. Not once, not twice, multiple times.

It’s hard to get through the day, you are feeling unhappy, depressed, anxious, irritated. You can’t be bothered to go out and have fun, you can’t be bothered to talk to people, nothing feels good.

Life… It’s supposed to be wonderful. Make the most of each day, do the things you love and be happy. But on some days, it all just gets a bit much. Sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s love, sometimes it’s the finances, and many other things. On some days, several or all of these things come together and it gets so overwhelming, you don’t know what to do. Will it ever get better?


What to do when you feel overwhelmed by life?


Accept the emotions

Feeling overwhelmed? Well, your body is trying to tell you something.

I have this concept – whenever we fall ill or feel down, our body is trying to tell us something e.g. If I get a headache, it means that my body is trying to tell me that I’m overdoing something or something is not right in my routine. Maybe I’m overworking, maybe I’m staring at screens for too long, maybe I need to stop stressing, maybe I need to take a break etc.

So, if you are feeling overwhelmed, then according to me, that means that you are doing something in your life that’s too much for you to handle.

First of all, you need to accept this feeling. Do not tell yourself that it is wrong or weak of you to feel this way.

Secondly, understand that your body is warning you via this feeling.

I believe that every emotion we have developed is there for a reason – to help us identify what’s going on with us and how to act.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, then it is time to take a step back and re-evaluate what’s going on with your life.

Understanding and accepting this feeling of overwhelm in this way will allow you to appreciate what your body is telling you and in turn you’ll be able to get over this feeling that much faster.


Be aware of your thoughts

You don’t just get overwhelmed in an instant. It’s a process.

And your thoughts have a big role to play in it.

Most times, life isn’t really overwhelming. It’s our thoughts that make it so.

Our minds have a way of spinning actual life events into something more drastic. We imagine things that never happened. We extrapolate events to something larger than it really is. We make assumptions and sprinkle it with more negative emotions, making it feel real. Thought after thought, day after day, they keep accumulating, multiplying, creating more and more bad feelings until a point when you feel overwhelmed.

My favourite quote is, “You control you mind, your mind does not control you.”

Every day – at every time, be aware of your thoughts.

As soon as you notice yourself negatively ruminating about something, stop yourself and understand that your mind is trying to take hold of you. It really isn’t that bad. And if it seems bad, then what are you going to do about it before it gets worse?

Being aware of your thoughts in this way and acting on them positively will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed in the first place.


Take a break

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then the best thing to do next is to take a break.

Your body is telling you, slow down, I’m tired.

Do whatever you need to do to feel a little bit better.

You may need to cry – no harm in this.

You may go out for a walk in the park.

You may go to the gym or dancing or pursue one of your hobbies.

You may hang out with friends.

You may go shopping.

You may listen to uplifting music or watch a movie.

Go travelling.

Just take a little break and distance yourself from “life”. The feeling of overwhelm will reduce slightly and once it does, then you need to think about how to deal with whatever is causing this feeling.

Take however long you need to to feel better. Depending on the matter at hand, you may take a longer or shorter time. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel at your best after the break, as long as you are in a slightly better state of mind.


Don’t think, ACT

So you are feeling overwhelmed. Congratulations, your body has warned you. You have taken a break. What now?

Are you going to continue feeling sorry for yourself or are you going to do something about it?

Our mind enjoys thinking negative thoughts but it doesn’t want you to feel uncomfortable either. Hence, it will prevent you from doing what needs to be done to solve the problem at hand.

You need to be disciplined enough to act when you feel overwhelmed.

When feeling overwhelmed, you need to understand WHY you are feeling overwhelmed.


Perhaps, you’re working too hard. Maybe you have deadlines to meet and you are pushing yourself.

Perhaps, there’s a lot going on with your family. Cooking, taking the kids to school, helping them with homework, working, grocery shopping, dealing with tantrums etc.

Perhaps, you are having relationship issues or dating problems.

Perhaps, you have a lot of bills to pay and are failing to pay them



Once you have identified the reason for feeling overwhelmed, you need to start finding solutions to the extra stress.

If it’s work, take on less work. Speak to your manager, inform them you have too much on your plate.

If it’s to do with family, talk to them. Talk to your partner, split the chores equally.


It won’t always be possible to find a solution to your problems. Some things are not in your control e.g. finding love.

In such cases you need to accept that this is life. Just try your best but do not let these things affect how you live your life. Life is short after all and the best way to live it is doing the things you love and being happy.



Feeling overwhelmed is a result of your thoughts.

In order to control or manage your thoughts better, you should meditate.

Meditation allows your mind to slow down. It allows you to go over various thoughts and ideas in a calm way noting them for what they really are. It allows you to find inspiration and solutions.

Meditation essentially gives your mind a break and rejuvenates it. When you get a break from all that thinking, life doesn’t feel so bad after all.

Remember feelings are a result of thoughts – fewer thoughts, better thoughts means you’ll have better feelings.



Sleep is very important and not getting enough sleep can make you feel overwhelmed as well.

When you get enough sleep, you are in a better state to handle whatever life throws at you. You think faster, solutions come up faster, your reflexes are faster.

You are more prone to making mistakes if you don’t get enough sleep. Things don’t go your way and in the end, everything adds up making you feel overwhelmed.

Also, have you noticed that you tend to feel better when you have slept? It almost feels as though the mind rebooted and forgot about what happened yesterday after you slept?

So get in those 7-8 hours of sleep.


Talk to your buddies

Talking to friends makes such a difference when you are feeling overwhelmed.

They will help you with finding solutions.

Even if they can’t help you, just having someone non-judgemental and trusting to talk to can make you feel so much better.

Talking it out with your friends can also help you look at the problem from the outside. You may realise that maybe you blew it out of proportion or it’s not that bad after all. You may even laugh about it making you overcome the feeling of overwhelm.



There is no better way to overcome the feeling of overwhelm than by being grateful for what you have.

We get so caught up in our life that we do not realise how lucky we are.

There are so many people out there who are going through hell. They don’t have half of what we do. Comparing our problems to theirs might even make us feel a bit stupid for feeling overwhelmed over something so small.

Everyday, be grateful for what you have. When you wake up, think of 3 things that you are grateful for. When you go to sleep, think of 3 things that happened that day that you are grateful for.

Over time, this practice of gratitude will put you in a better state of mind. Instead of seeing problems, you’ll begin to see opportunities.

You’ll realise that life isn’t so bad after all and you won’t feel that overwhelmed.



Write your thoughts down.

If you don’t want to speak to your friends, if you can’t meditate, if you can’t think of solutions, just write it all down.

Find a safe quiet space where you’ll not be disturbed and just write, write, write.

This feels the same as talking to a friend, except you aren’t telling anyone anything.

Write for atleast 20 minutes. It will bring you clarity. You’ll feel less overwhelmed. You may find solutions.


Will it matter in 10 years time?

The thing with problems is that we make them bigger than they are.

You need to ask yourself whether this will matter in 5 years or even 10 years time.

Is it just a small inconsequential point on your timeline?

If so, then why are you feeling so bad about it?

Just deal with it and move on if it’s not really something that’s going to affect your life majorly.


Live in the present moment

Living in the past or predicting the future can also cause a feeling of overwhelm.

Worrying about all the mistakes you made, worrying about how your future life is going to turn out.

Things that happened in the past cannot be changed, and you don’t have control over what’s going to happen in the future. The only thing you really have control over is the NOW.

Living your best life in the now every single time will ensure that you don’t repeat mistakes of the past and you set your future in the direction that you want it to go.

So start living in the present and you won’t feel so overwhelmed.


This is Life

Understand that if you are living life, it will never be perfect.

There will be ups, there will be downs and this is what makes life exciting.

If everything always went well, you’d never appreciate anything.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, understand that every one has problems.

You just have to take it one day at a time, one step at a time. Things will get better. If it is not working out in the way you want it to, maybe it wasn’t meant to be that way. Maybe better things are coming along.

Also remember that you have felt this way before and yet here you are, alive and kicking. You survived. The last time you felt overwhelmed, things got better, didn’t they? Things weren’t really as bad as you made they out to be, were they?

Just be open-minded and positive and you’ll feel better.


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