Feeling overwhelmed? 8 ways to find relief from it

β€œSound character provides the power with which a person may ride the emergencies of life instead of being overwhelmed by them. Failure is… the highway to success.”
-Og Mandino

Do you ever tell yourself screaming in your mind, “Help, I am overwhelmed, there is not simply enough time for me to do it all”. Yes, I have been there lots of time, including right now. I have even wrote about in past : click here to read 7 ways to overcome overwhelm . It seems that we all have never ending tasks to do at home, career front, making money, keeping up social life (online and offline both), cleaning and keeping house related activities such as laundry, dishes, groceries and cooking and if you add kids in to mix and teaching them like I do, there are times that I feel so unlike “Zengirl” and become “scream-girl”, instead. πŸ™‚ Not fun to feel that way or be around someone when they are overwhelmed beyond hope.

I have let lot of un-necessary tasks and to-do lists out of my life to help me feel relief from all these extra work, however there are some days where everything simply falls apart and we have to take up pieces and start again.

I know I am not alone in feeling this, there are many of us out there, who feel this way. Therefore, I thought of sharing a few ways that worked for me and let me know your ideas that has worked in your life to feel little breather again in our lives.

1. Get Enough Sleep

You might think what sleep has to do with overwhelm? a lot. I have found when I am sleep deprived or have not rested enough, I do not function well as a mom, wife, teacher or as a friend. In order for our body to function fully, we need to get enough sleep. Sleep is an essential part of functioning well during the day.

2. Make plans, list to-do things

I have noticed when I write things down it has a better effect on my productivity. I had taken Class by Franklin Covey and I use Franklin Covey planner , which has not only place for writing to do list, but also a reminder of our each role such as mother, teacher, friend, daughter and so on, so I can balance my all roles every week. Sometimes this planner reminds me to call, a friend whom I have not talked in months, or write a simple note to thank a relative. I feel good not only to do my day to day tasks but also fulfilling my parts in each roles that I play. Simply covering my all roles gives me also sense of control and feel good factor as these roles I play in life are important to me.

3. Eat unprocessed and healthy food

I have seen a catch 22 connection with overwhelm and my eating habits, perhaps you are like me too. When I am relaxed and happy, I tend to eat better and healthy food, the minute I get stressed my food choices becomes in to junk food category such as chips and cookies. We really are what we eat . I try to eat breakfast and drink my Chai tea in morning to get my day start off in good way, it always helps.

4. Say No

You can say “NO”, kindly. I have usually hard time saying “NO” to anyone but I have learned not to spread myself thin. I have let go of some the activities classes, some social gatherings and even being on twitter because there is only so much time and only me to go around. Your friends and family will understand. If they do not, they would not be “real” friends that you want in your life anyways.

5. Stop drinking alcohol or Soda

I know a friend who is social drinker, whenever he gets stressed he “drinks” a little to make him relax but in reality it makes him feel opposite. I never understood why they gave alcohol in an air plane, while drinking alcohol actually makes jet lag worse.

I was “wine snob” once, living close enough to Napa valley, but now we have given up all alcohol and given away all of our wine collection bottles and accessories years ago, we do not miss it. You do not need to give up alcohol or soda, but you can surely reduce it, it will help you with your moods. Sugar in Soda makes our body feel sluggish too, as I wrote about it Reduce drinking soda. Drink ice water instead.

6. Let go

Let go or postponed of some social aspects, some chance to advancement in career or money making or even some goals for time being, when you are pressed for time, or when you are caring for little kids, aging parents. You will reach your goals little later this way maybe but when you try to do too many things at once, it will not work and you will not be able to give your 100% to task.

7. Make time for what is important to you

No matter how busy you are, make sure you spend time with people and things that are important to you. If you have gone through finding your core value series, you will already know what is important to you in your life. When you stay connected with what you truly care for, you will be recharged and refresh in time of overwhelm.

8. Smile and be nice

Okay, so we all got loads of things to do and it is easy to let pressure come off at people around us, I know I have been there myself. But we do not have to let overwhelm get to us, we can still smile and be nice to people around us. It is easy to get stressed with life, if we let it.

β€œWhen you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

Your turn: How do you stay relaxed when you are overwhelmed? What ideas or suggestions worked for you. Please share with us.

Preeti AKA Zengirl

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. rob white says:

    Hi Preeti,
    Great points… it is easy to feel overwhelmed in this anxious age and have our negative inward self-talk to run amok. Every time we look deeply at our self-talk, wanting to explore our own nature – we reclaim a part of our life! Ignorance of self (our true nature) places you under negative influences.

    How many times have I personally tried to lay blame on the world β€˜out there’ because I simply refused to look directly at the problem? Any inward voice insisting that you are a victim – is a false voice!

  2. Ali says:

    What a wonderful list you have here, Preeti. I especially can relate to #2. I thought I was the only one the rocked a planner! Good to see that great minds think alike (o: !

    I would like to add meditation or just sitting quietly by yourself. This does wonders for the mind, body and soul.

    Thanks for posting this, Zengirl!

  3. ZenGirl says:


    Thanks for liking it, I really enjoy my to do list, it sure helps me with daily tasks and my daily duty in each roles, it makes me feel balanced. πŸ™‚ Yes, I guess rocking mind sure do think alike and I am glad for it.

    You are right mediation or quite time sure helps, thanks for including it in here! You rock!

  4. ZenGirl says:


    Negative self talk does not help, it actually does it worse but I have done that too πŸ™‚ You are right it is easy to blame “world” out there and feel victim of the life. While I agree life sometimes can not be fair to some people, we still have choice to move on and triumph over it. I call that Cinderella syndrome where one feel like victim, waiting for prince to come and rescue them.

  5. Evelyn says:

    Hi Preeti,
    Great post!

    Whenever I’m overwhelmed and feel like I can’t go any further, I will stop and take a break from those things..regroup.

    I too, like to write things down, and it really works. But when I’m not writing things down, then I feel unorganzied. I’ve been very slack in that department. Haven’t been eating my best, because I’ve been overwhelmed.

    I appreciate your post..now I need to write my list and get more sleep. πŸ˜‰

    Take care,


  6. Farnoosh says:

    Hi Preeti, at 3am local time, I am not getting enough sleep thanks to jet lag ;)! I agree with everything you have here – your entire list – but it’s possible to STILL feel stressed. I think it really also take a mental shift and prioritization in our mind – and of letting go of small stuff…..the psychology of it is far more difficult for me but at least I am on the right track as a health nut – and glad to meet another nut as well ;)!

  7. Sufi @ Sufism World says:

    Hi Preeti,

    Good post and at the right time for me. Surprisingly enough, while you were writing this post – I was organising my winter schedule. As you may well know, in the UK we have two occasions when the times change (clocks go forward and backwards). I use this time to organise my schedule for summer where the day is longer and the night is shorter, and the same for winter where the days are shorter and nights are longer. I was surprised to read this post as I was doing just that – organising my winter schedule.

    All the points which you have mentioned are spot on, the first point about sleep – is something I still try to make a routine of, but is never simple.

    For me, another important area which I think is overlooked easily is to change your habits. Habits are important, since once we get use to do something we stuck with it but we should ask ourselves some simple questions such as Do I still need to do this? Can I improve how I do it? When I do it? and so on. This method energises your daily life.

  8. Andrea DeBell - britetalk says:

    Hi Preeti! No you’re not alone. The demands of life gets to all of us. πŸ™‚ I terms of getting overwhelmed, I’m my worst enemy. I’m the one who constantly piles on huge amounts of stuff on my to-do list. I have such joy for life and things I’d like to do that my to-do list becomes endless. A good formula for balance for me is to be realistic and to try my hardest to only develop one project at a time. I guess that would be prioritizing better. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for these wonderful tips. I’m putting them to use right now. Loving blessings!

  9. ayo says:

    hello preeti
    how are you?
    believe me you are not alone in this cycle lol!!
    the last few days have been very hectic and funny enough i’ve been getting more sleep each day compared to my normal routine which is few hrs during the week and longer lie ins at weekends.
    i must say it’s worked tremendously this week. with regards to saying no i think i am mastering the art because eventually you’ve got to listen to your body and ensure it doesnt crash!!
    as for creating time out of no time, i’d say it’s essential because you need to keep relationships alive, time to reflect, rest……
    take care and enjoy the rest of the day.

  10. Dia says:

    Hi Preeti,

    Very nice post and great tips. Getting enough sleep for sure helps us to energetic. Smiling is also huge and helps us not to become overwhelemed. Also, whenever we think positively when we get up in the morning and feel the positive energy inside of us, we are likely not to become overwhelmed. I experienced this so many times. Thanks for sharing my friend

  11. taurian says:

    Hi Preeti, this is the kind posting which I am looking for πŸ™‚

    Below are my views :

    1) Take a walkway
    Walking can be a great pressure reliever in itself, as it helps you blow off all the worries and tensions, preferably an evening cool breeze walk makes more sense.

    2) Take a lungful of air
    If you’re not in a place to go away, you can feel better right away by keen breathing workouts. Receiving more oxygen into your body and releasing physical tension.

    3) Take a intellectual Break
    If you can steal away a few minutes of silence, visualizations and guided similes are a incredible way to re-establish peace of mind. They’re easy to do, and can relax you emotionally as well as mentally.

    4) Re-frame your circumstances
    Sometimes we deepen our experience of traumatic situations by the way we look at them. If you can look at your situation in a different way, you may be able to put it into a different perspective–one that causes you less stress! And learn how you can adjust the mode you look at things. It’ll come in handy when you’re stressed out.

    Once you’ve been able to calm down, you should be in a better position to address whatever stressful situations you’re experiencing.

    Correct me If I am wrong !

  12. ZenGirl says:


    I like the idea of taking a break and then regroup. I have done it and it works so well.

    Sometimes I also write down my emotions in my private journal or talk things out with Zenguy when I am confused about what path to take and things usually work out.

    Hope you are getting rest after writing you list! Take care.

  13. ZenGirl says:


    Yes, jet lag does wonder to your sleep in negative sort of ways! I am sure in a few days things will be back to normal soon so you can catch up on sleep and much needed rest.

    I am looking forward to seeing more of your Bali pictures and post. Lately things are so busy with kids and school, I might as well get virtual tour of Bali via your beautiful pics!

    I know you are health nut, are you also calling me a health nut or simply nut? πŸ™‚ Either way I also happy to know you, one nut to another health nut !

  14. ZenGirl says:


    Yes in US we also change the day light saving time twice! Even though it is one hour sometimes it can take a few days to adjust, specially when I think I am losing an hour. πŸ™‚

    That is very organized of you to set up a winter schedule! Good for you to ask these questions, it helps so much with our daily life.

  15. ZenGirl says:


    As a mom I am sure you know one of the rewarding job that keeps us so occupied with little ones. Yes we can be our own worse enemy sometimes by expecting too much or giving negative self talk. One thing at the time is best idea! I think multi tasking can be over rated at times.

    Hope you are getting much needed rest after that blogger faceoff, you did great!

  16. ZenGirl says:


    I love how you always start with how are you on your comment, did I tell you that?

    I bet you are one busy guy with your new online magazine getting ready to be published and can deserve much needed rest soon. Relationship are always more important than blog or job, but we need to balance everything and it takes some juggling and you seemed to be doing beautifully, my friend.

  17. ZenGirl says:


    I am glad you liked the tips. I find that once I have taken care of my basic necessity such as sleep, I am not famished I tend to be a better friend, better wife, mom and maybe a better blogger too πŸ™‚

    Giving and receiving smiles also does wonder to our outlook in positive ways, Thanks friend for stopping by.

  18. ZenGirl says:


    Thank you for wonderful suggestions! You should really blog, you have the knack of it, really. This is great tips and worthy of being a post in itself!

    I really like taking a walk and breathing a fresh air, sometimes all we need is fresh air and little vitamin D. Taking a intellectual break or quite meditation time can recharge us!

    I like re framing the circumstances idea as it changes our view from “I have to” to “I get to”, as Tess has said recently.

    You are 101% correct and thank you for bringing wonderful additional tips to get over overwhelm. Thank you friend for being so insightful and sharing your wisdom.

  19. Kait Palmer says:

    These are great reminders.
    I do yoga at the end of the day to unwind. Something about just lying in child’s pose is so calming!

    Or I talk my dog on a walk. He has to have one every day and sometimes I don’t really want to get out, but I’m always glad once I’m outside and breathing in the fresh air!

  20. Fran Aslam says:

    Hi Preeti:

    Beautiful blog post you have here. Contents are good and your presentation looks good. I like the eight strategies you have
    added to your post.

    I do believe in all of them and some of them I am very strong about.

    I like the idea of “let go”. This is freedom of choice which we should use many do not like doing that at all.

    Smiling is good too. It keeps negative thinking and action away for you and the other person who you are smiling at, for communicating peace in an unspoken way.

    Well try and get some rest, when kids are taking a nap or when they are out, if they go out without you.

    Enjoy your week end.

    Fran Aslam

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  22. Kamal says:

    Good Article.

    What works for me are your Number 1 and 8. Get sleep and “Smile and be nice”. This always is the best. I would like to add one more which would, quite Ironically be “Say Yes”. Say yes to yourself that you can easily come out of this “OverWhelm”. After all nothing is permanent. If you have a hundred things to do, just take the easiest one on the list and finish that. That will help you a lot. Then you are one step closer, and this will keep on giving you more motivation to go forward.

    Thanks for the wonderful tips you always give. Keep it up.

  23. Marko -- Calm Growth says:

    Great post Preeti… If I may add, the dream is very, very, very important, a lack of sleep can cause many illnesses and bad mental state. It can cause terrible consequences, so I believe that good sleep is a major factor for life without feeling overwhelmed…

    I would also add that, for me, it was useful to:

    1. take short, mini-breaks, for only a few minutes, it helped me a lot when I feel overwhelmed,
    2. walking is also helpful, or running…
    3. as well as deep breathing… πŸ™‚

  24. Farnoosh says:

    Calling you a health nut in the most respectful, esteemed way, dear Preeti. I am going to make a flickr album of the Bali photos soon….after Blogworld most likely. I hope to give you the most virtual tour and the most joys you can reap from the paradise that is in this Indonesian island!!!

  25. Aileen says:

    Great tips Preeti!
    β€œWhen you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless” – so very true. The important part is to take action, or like you say, “get involved” I find making lists/planning/scheduling help tremendously. Diet too. I agree with all of your 8 tips, they are great!

  26. taurian says:

    Oh , you are the first person who liked my suggestions till date. When ever I put across my views, crowd around me says I am 1/2 Mad…. very funny right πŸ™‚

    Yes, very very funny!

    To be frank I haven’t shared my wisdom in my above post. these are out of my real time experience, which worked for me. but not sure about others πŸ™‚

    thank you so much for such a great posts.

    Have an awesome day a head !!!

  27. ZenGirl says:


    I do like your suggestions and comments and do not think your mad at all. I think your friends may be just joking with you or do not know your true potential! The main thing is always that you believe in yourself.

    Real life experience is great wisdom and you have that. Hope you have awesome day too! Don’t work too hard.

  28. ZenGirl says:


    I have friend name Elaine and I keep calling her Aileen because I guess I speak to you here and on your blog too πŸ™‚
    I am glad you liked the tips, as we all get overwhelmed and we all have our stories and experience to share and learn from. List making and planning is what keeps in check! I am glad you do that too.

  29. ZenGirl says:


    I am glad to know that you think I am health nut! I will try to live it up to it. I am looking forward to your flickr album for Bali and Blogword pictures (when you get a chance), I have never attended in any blog conference and it is not in plan for now as kids are too young! May some day.

    Now, I am intrigued about your latest post title, I love little women book and movie both, I have to come out and read your thoughts on it.

  30. ZenGirl says:


    Yes, dream comes only during REM phase of sleep which is very important. I am often sleep deprived as sometimes my 1 year old gets up at night but I know without sleep, I do not function well, that is why I am not early riser πŸ™‚ I wake up when kids wake up

    I love your 3 ideas of mini breaks, walking and deep breathing! I took art of living course where they teach you how to breath and meditate to a blissful state. I should take it again, it was great.

  31. ZenGirl says:


    Thank you for always leaving thoughtful comments. Sleeping and eating at proper times is crucial for me, without that I am not really “zen” girl you know. Zenguy can attest to that πŸ™‚

    It is funny that whatever was overwhelming us right now, may seem like insignificant in a week or months time, but many times, we focus and dwell on tiny things that may seem like a huge deal. Thanks for stopping by.

  32. ZenGirl says:


    Thank you for kind words and liking the post. I think no matter how rich, poor, young, old, we all get overwhelm at “to-do” list, that is what universal about it and we all have experienced it and have remedies for that. Letting go is not easy thing to do for many, but I have learned over the time, it does get easier.

    I did get some rest this weekend and Zenguy and kids at Pappa and me time at the Park πŸ™‚ How was your weekend? Hope great.

  33. ZenGirl says:


    How are you, it is good to see you again! Yoga is great way to unwind, I should take up Yoga. I do something similar with mini meditation and it helps. Having dog sure helps, we do not but my brother and friends do and I can see peaceful effect and unconditional love from them. I am like you too, I sometimes want to not go out, but once I am out in fresh sun shine and air, I love it. Maybe we should just “do it”.

  34. Farnoosh says:

    Dear Preeti, not to worry – I will endeavor to bring Blogworld to YOU! I hope to capture some great learnings and moments and if you have any requests, leave them on my post tomorrow night in anticipation of the conference! Kids are young only once so it’s sweet to hear you are such a devoted mother!

  35. Vaishali says:

    Hi Preeti, I just had the most hectic vacation weekend of my life– we crammed two cities into three days, including 20 hours of driving, and it was fun but a lot to handle, nonetheless. Anyway, I am just getting a chance to take a breather at work (I got barely 4 hours of sleep last night), and reading your post made me smile because I can totally relate right now– and most times πŸ™‚ I definitely need to sleep more, and say “no” more often, which I find hard to do.

  36. taurian says:

    Yeah ! you are right. I believe in myself a lot. its not that my friends are joking, they usually call me as 1/2 MAD. that’s my nick actually πŸ™‚

    Working too hard !!! its not in my hands completely πŸ™‚

  37. Steven says:

    I really need to do #5 and adopt a healthier diet. Health is my biggest issue right now. Thanks for the tips – I’m about to go for a small jog (another great way to release stress and pent-up energy!)

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  39. ZenGirl says:


    I will look forward to your pictures and report on how was the blogworld. At least you will not be jetlaged this time. Thank you for kind words!

  40. ZenGirl says:


    Sounds like you need a vacation after that hectic vacation! I can imagine with only 4 hours sleep, how you must be feeling, I get that at home, without traveling with teething infant and now 1.5 year old. πŸ™‚

    I would say, hope you get 10 hours of sleep tonight! Rest well.

  41. ZenGirl says:


    I hope that small jog did good for you! When I get out in fresh air, it always makes me feel better, even though sometimes do not feel like doing it. Once I am out it is different story. Yes, I am off my health bandwagon occasionally, we all need pick me up sometimes.

  42. Mary R says:

    This is a good list! When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I always ask myself if I will be worrying about this or that on my death bed and it helps realign my priorities.

  43. ZenGirl says:


    That is a sure good question to ask when we are overwhelm, most of things we worry about will not happen or will not matter in days. Good tip!

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