7 Ways To Overcoming Overwhelm

Past few weeks have been very overwhelming for me due to various stuff happening around me and our household. It is similar to many of you, when life throws us a unexpected curve ball and we do not know where to turn and we often feel stuck and overwhelmed.

For me, Little P is getting more teethes (3 actually) at one time, my poor baby is not sleeping well, so I am not sleeping well too. My volunteer teaching position is becoming more stressful, without any added benefits. Zenguy is without a project/work right now. I am sleepy, cranky and my house is running through toy mess. I am losing patience with my very smart and sensitive R’s questions; you know the types starting with why…? Why this and why that…? My having a new site also created some unnecessary tension and there are still minor glitches to work around.

However, untimely and unwanted these issues are, some of them I do not have any control over it. Here are few ways, we (I and those who feel overwhelm occasionally like me) can get over our overwhelm and get back to “zen” or at least “little more zen” life.

1. Take a break.
No matter, how important or urgent task is at hand, when we are overwhelmed, we can not think or focus properly. Taking a short break will do a lot of good. So do it.

Take 15 minutes and take a long bath, sip a ginger Tea/Coffee, take a short nap, or go for a walk alone, talk it out with a friend, write in a journal. Whatever you do, just ignore the task that is overwhelming you for short time. Some time, you may need a longer break, and that is okay too. Do what you must to get you moving on forward.

2. Break tasks down in to several mini tasks.
Sometimes one large or complicated task can be very daunting. Breaking down in to smaller tasks and checking them off, will boost your energy and self esteem to do more. It always helps me, visualize the final outcome by doing in small baby steps.

3. Delegate or share the task.
Sometimes we are afraid to give up task or power, as we think no one else can do task better than ourselves. It can become a power struggle, let it go and delegate completely. You might be pleasantly surprised at outcome done by someone else. You will never know until you try it. And even if someone does not do good job, they will learn to do it well, if you only trust them to try it.

It is so silly to hold on to so called power, you will realize as I share my own example here, although many of us done similar thing again and again, myself included. For example, I feel like I am far better driver than Zenguy, even though there is no proof other than my imagination and my own feeling. So when zenguy is driving, I also try to be back seat driver, working hard to see roads, blind spots, giving directions (most of them unwanted and unneeded) when I could have chosen to relax those few moments or focus on something else. It does not seem silly when I am on the go though 🙂 By the time, we reach our destination, I am exhausted due to working hard at watching both kids, keeping eye on roads and giving directions. Totally not needed. Lesson here, let it go.

If delegating is not possible, share a task. For example, when little P wakes up often at night, due to teething now, I wake Zenguy up when I can not stay awake anymore, so next morning we both are little tired and sleepy instead only me being lot tired 🙂 Of course, having cool dad like Zenguy always willing to go extra mile for kids sure helps!!

4. See if that task is really need to be on list or off it goes.

Sometimes, we are working on too hard to finish everything on our list, we forget to ask ourselves, if this task is really needed. If you can do without, it should be off the list, giving you and maybe others around you much needed relief.

For example, I wanted all whistle and bell features on my this new heart and mind site, Zenguy and web guys worked hard, but after lot of changes and few headaches on my part, I decided what I got right now is lot better compared to what I had on previous site and life is much easier for me, and others because of this decision.

5. Say “No”.
Sometimes we feel obligated to fill in our social role, as we feel others will feel bad if do not do certain things. Not so true. Many close friends and family will understand your situation if you explain it right and those who will not understand or choose not to, are not close friends or family so that is okay. You can not please everyone.

For example, when my volunteer work at preschool started giving me stress, instead of joy of giving, it is time to back off and re-access the situation. It is becoming almost like a full time job and lot of new responsibilities than I actually did not volunteered for. I still enjoy it, so I may do what I signed up for and say no to other responsibilities, if they are not okay with it, I may have to take a break from it. That is joy of volunteer work, you can do what you want to or have physical energy for. That way I will not resent myself of helping others, as I love it otherwise.

6. Reflect, Take one day at the time.
Look back on your past, you may have came over and found resolutions to similar or even worse situations and scenarios. Even though problems seems too big now, you will overcome and find resolution for it, some how, some ways. It usually happens to most of us, just give it time and it will get better. I know so from past experience.

I am sure if you will look back on your own life, you too will find examples to see what I am saying is truth. What seems so hard, will not be hard tomorrow. keep this motto: This too shall pass.

7. Forgive yourself

If you think you screwed up or did not handle it well, when you were overwhelmed, think it over. Write down, cry a little, say sorry to those you ignored, truly. Move on.

Forgive yourself and try not to repeat that same mistake. To err is human and it is human trait to yell in frustration, anger and sleepless state. Without forgiving ourselves, we can move in to present situation and dwelling in past mistakes will not take away precious joy of presence and future time with kids and family.

Remember whatever you feel right now, “This too shall pass”. You and I will overcome any overwhelm is smaller baby steps and slowly.

What works for you when you are overwhelmed? How do you cope? I sure would like to hear other suggestions on it, Thanks.


Image Source: Washington Times


  1. Megan says:

    These are very good suggestions! You are funny sometimes, like how you said you are backseat driver! I think I may do it too, I never realized till now.

  2. vikum says:

    Hi zengirl,
    Seems like you are having a stressful time.But it will be over soon. Little P will get his new teeth soon :)And some good tips. I’ve tried some of them before. I love your four words “This too shall pass”.
    Have a nice day !
    .-= vikum´s last blog ..Learn to the grave =-.

  3. ZenGirl says:


    Yeah, being parent sometimes is fun and work both together. It is part of life, even if you are parent, married or single, we all go through it. When we are in the situation it seems impossible to solve. I am sure this too shall pass. Right now I am taking it slowly and following my own advice. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting here.
    .-= ZenGirl´s last blog ..7 ways to overcoming overwhelm =-.

  4. Melanie | Dietriffic says:

    Thanks for the great tips. I sometimes get a bit overwhelmed too — I’m a new mum and I work from home, so things get a bit hectic at times! I think your point about forgiving yourself is really good, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so things annoy me if they don’t go “right!” 🙂
    .-= Melanie | Dietriffic´s last blog ..Tips and Ideas For a Soft Food Diet =-.

  5. Kamal says:


    Nice suggestions you have here. We all get overwhelmed for multiple reasons. It is good to think of this subject sometimes. This is generally treated as a passing phase by people rather than a situation that can and needs addressing.

    It is difficult to pick which one of the tips are most valued for me, they all seem quite important. I guess better planning may lead us not to get here to begin with though, well at least more often than not.


  6. Betsy Bargain says:

    Some good tips, Zengirl. We all feel a little overwhelmed at times. I often break overwhelming tasks down into little steps as you suggest. This works really well for me. The one I have the most trouble with is saying no!
    .-= Betsy Bargain´s last blog ..Dress That Cress For Less! =-.

  7. ZenGirl says:


    Overwhelm can make us unproductive and confused so it is good to have possible strategies that may work for us.

    Planning ahead sure helps. Occasionally we may get unexpected issue or two in life, that was not planned such as teething of a child, or getting sick or losing a job etc.
    How do you get over it? By the way, did you try out practicing “NO” with friend? and how did it go?
    .-= ZenGirl´s last blog ..7 ways to overcoming overwhelm =-.

  8. ZenGirl says:


    I feel like I am overwhelm half of my time right now 🙂 Breaking down task is good. Saying no is tough, but I am working on it. Hardest is with loved ones and closet friends for me. Good luck, try in smaller steps. Maybe later instead of no may work.
    .-= ZenGirl´s last blog ..7 ways to overcoming overwhelm =-.

  9. Kamal says:

    No, I did not practice NO. I am not afraid anymore. What happened to your 101 changes. No more changes after dropping Soda?

Comments are closed.