What to do When You're Feeling Overwhelmed

By Bethany Nickerson, LMSW

Lately I have had several clients and many of my friends mention that they are feeling overwhelmed, and I can definitely relate. Between work, chores, family responsibilities, exercising, and trying to still have time for a social life, it's easy to feel like you're always a little behind. Here are a few things I have found that really help me when I feel myself getting anxious and caught up in racing thoughts about everything I need to do:

  1. Do some deep breathing. My favorite is alternate nostril breathing. It helps me to get out of my anxiety brain and back into my wise mind. You can find a great tutorial from The Art of Living.

  2. Move your body. Do some stretching or go for a nice long walk.

  3. Brain Dump. Take a few minutes and write down everything that is bouncing around in your brain. All of your worries, anxieties, and things that you want to get done. Then take a red pen and cross out anything that you have no control over. This will help you focus your time and energy.

  4. Prioritize tasks. Take the remaining things on your list and figure out which tasks are time sensitive. Number things starting with the most critical.

  5. Keep a gratitude journal. Every day write down 3-5 things that went well or things you are grateful for. When you are feeling down or overwhelmed look back in your journal. This is one of my favorite tools as it gives me perspective and helps me to focus on the positive and what I am doing right.

Bethany Nickerson is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you would like support in prioritizing and taking care of your mental health, contact Cobb Psychotherapy and see how therapy can help.