How To Deal with Feeling Overwhelmed

How to deal with feeling overwhelmed is a question many people ask, especially if they're in a new job or just starting a project.

Feeling overwhelmed is a common feeling in our day to day activities. It can be difficult when you have too much work and not enough time to complete everything that needs to be done before the deadline.

When you feel overwhelmed, the best thing to do is realise that it's just a feeling, and there are things you can do about it. This article will help you follow what I call the S.T.O.P approach to deal with feeling overwhelmed.

The S.T.O.P approach is a series of steps that will guide you through the difficult task of completing your work. It's important to remember that no matter how busy you are, you can't allow yourself to be too stressed out because it will only lead to more difficulties later on.

The S.T.O.P Approach 

The "S.T.O.P" steps are great because it's simple, straightforward and easy to remember. I think that it makes sense to tie this process to the act of stopping by putting your foot on the brake pedal while driving your car or stopping a machine in a factory when in trouble.

Steps in how to deal with feeling overwhelmed:

S - Stop, take a breath and relax.  

This is the most important step in this process. You must stop whatever you're doing or thinking about to help yourself remain calm. This helps because it will only lead to more negative feelings and thoughts if you start getting stressed out.

T - Take a look at everything

Take a look at everything you need to do and think about what really matters and what doesn't.

We all have things we know we need to get done, but it's important to prioritize them in order of importance then start working on the most important ones.

O - Organize.

Organize the things you need to get done into a plan or list of what you're going to work on first, next and last. You can also use folders or binders for this purpose so that you can keep everything together in one place.

P - Proceed with your day by following your plan of action.

This new structure you've set up for yourself will help you feel less overwhelmed by your workload. You'll also feel more accomplished when you're done because everything is done in an order that works best for you.

Let's break this S.T.O.P approach into practical tips that can help you deal with feeling overwhelmed.

1. Identify what you're feeling overwhelmed about:

The first step in knowing how to deal with feeling overwhelmed is identifying what you're having trouble with—what is the situation, and what's causing this overwhelming feeling.

Are you feeling overwhelmed because you have a pile of projects to complete? Are you feeling insecure about being unable to move forward with the projects by yourself? Do you feel like your project is going nowhere and that nobody understands what you're trying to accomplish?

It comes down to that there are always a lot of things on our plate, and we can't do it all. Once you realize that, you'll feel a lot better about your own situation.

2. Break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks:

After identifying the feeling, the next step is to break down your overwhelming project into smaller parts.

If you're overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done with a certain project, then it's best to break it down into smaller tasks.

Start small and complete each task one at a time until you've accomplished what you thought was impossible.

If you still can't figure out how to make things less overwhelming, try working with a colleague or friend. When others are involved, it's easier to delegate tasks and get more done in less time.

3. Make a list of the tasks

List the tasks that need to be done and prioritize them based on urgency or importance.

To prioritize your tasks, make a list of what needs to be done. If the task is urgent, then move it up on the list. If it's important, then put it at the top of the list.

This will help you come up with a plan of attack and make sure nothing is missed.

4. Make sure you're asking the right questions:

Before you go asking everyone around you for help, make sure you're looking in the right places.

If you feel like you've talked to all of your co-workers and friends and still can't figure out how to manage the stress, maybe it's time to call a meeting with those around you.

Not everyone may be able to give as much as they want, but there's a good chance they have ideas on how to do things differently or can pass you along to someone who might be able to help.

5. Stop trying to do it all by yourself:

Sometimes, the best way to stop feeling overwhelmed is to ask for help.

There are so many things that need to be done in our lives, but no one person can do them all independently.

So, when you ask for help, don't be afraid that it will reflect badly on your character or ability to do the job—it won't!

6. Set aside time for these tasks every day :

Once you've started delegating your tasks, make sure you set aside a specific time every day for these tasks.

Maybe it's the first thing in the morning when you get to work or right before lunch. Whatever time works best for you is what should be used.

If possible, try to finish all of the daily tasks at once so you can spend the rest of your day working on other ideas and not be overwhelmed by having to take care of things that need to get done.

It will also help reduce stress levels while getting tasks completed on time.

7. Clear your mind

After you've managed the stress and tackled each task one at a time, take some time for yourself.

Clear your mind by meditating, taking a walk or simply drinking a cup of tea.

Concentrating on each task at hand is important, but you also need some time yourself to reset and relax after everything that's happened.

8. Know where to draw the line

Sometimes, you have to know when to say "enough is enough". Know when something has taken up too much of your time and energy and stop doing it or get someone else to help you with it. If you can't seem to find the end of what you need to do, then maybe it's time to step back and take a break.

9. Learn to communicate:

Lastly, learn to communicate your needs and wants freely.

Don't be afraid to say what you need and who will help you with it. You can't expect others to know what you need or want unless you tell them, so there's no sense in filling the room up with unnecessary silence as everyone waits for someone to speak up.

Be frank about what you need and who will be able to help you with it. You can't do everything yourself, but that doesn't mean you have to feel completely overwhelmed every time something needs to get done.

Deeper Dive:

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How to Maximise Your Happiness

What you need to STOP doing when you feel overwhelmed

  1. Stop looking at everything negatively and tell yourself that it's not hopeless. The more times you do this, the easier it becomes to keep your composure. If you manage what's in front of you step by step, eventually, you'll get through all the work and be able to relax when it's done.
  2. Stop trying to do everything at once, and focus on what's important. Having too much to do can be overwhelming, so you need to prioritise your list of things that will remain in a chaotic state.
  3. Stop letting the stress build up inside you and making yourself feel worse than you actually are. A simple solution would be to take some deep breaths and recognise what you're feeling.
  4. Stop pushing yourself too hard and do something for yourself every day, no matter how busy you are. This will help you stay healthy and less stressed out in the long run. Take a moment to realise that getting stressed out isn't making things go faster or changing how much there is to do. If anything, it will just make getting through your workload harder. Take a moment to talk or think about what is causing you too much stress, then take the time to work out why you feel overwhelmed. Is it because of how much there is to do? Or is it something else like relationships at work or home?
  5. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing because it's not your problem. Letting the stress of other people's lives overtake you isn't going to help you finish what you need to get done, so put on some headphones and make the time for yourself.
  6. Stop dwelling on how stressful this moment feels and think about how good it will feel when everything gets done. Take a moment to think about what you want to get done and how long it should take to do it. Then set a timer for that amount of time and get started doing one thing at a time. This will help you think about getting things done rather than worrying if they'll ever be finished.
  7. Stop trying to make yourself feel better by multitasking. It's not going to help you get done faster, and it's just making things feel more overwhelming. Taking some time apart from your work or whatever you need to be doing can clear your mind so that when you come back to your task, you'll be able to handle it better than before.
  8. Stop overthinking everything and take the time to relax by listening to music or focusing on something positive. Take a break from work every once in a while for your own good; your mental health is just as important as how much there is to do.
  9. Stop telling yourself that it's already Thursday, so you have less time to finish everything because eventually, you'll run out of time no matter what day it is. Take the time to talk with somebody about how you feel about your work instead of just letting it build up inside you and making yourself feel worse.

The key is to acknowledge what you're feeling for most of these rather than constantly denying it. This will make it easier to calm yourself and handle your workload better because you'll be handling things one step at a time instead of everything all at once.

You don't need to know everything before getting started; anything starting first will give you insight into what you do and don't know. So take a deep breath, get started on the work before you, and feel less overwhelmed each time you finish something.


Final Thought on how to deal with feeling overwhelmed

If you're feeling overwhelmed by your workload, stop and take a deep breath. This will help calm yourself down and get started with the task at hand in order of priority.

It's also important not to worry about what other people are doing or how much there is left on your list--focus only on one thing until it gets done so that you can feel accomplished when all tasks have been completed. 

Remember the S.T.O.P acronym when you feel overwhelmed by your workload. This technique helps because it ensures that all of your work gets done logically that you can keep track of.

If you follow this process, you'll find yourself feeling less overwhelmed by your workload and more accomplished when all is said and done. Hope you found this article helpful. Do you want to learn more about this topic?

Check out articles here. Also, drop your comments and questions in the comment section below. I'd love to chat with you.

More Resources

Feeling Overwhelmed is a Common Anxiety Symptom

Crying for No Reason: Causes, Solutions, and More

About the author 


Funmi is a Certified Functional Health Coach. She is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs transform from Stress and burnout so they can begin to thrive in their body and, by extension, their businesses.

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