5 Things To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

Are You Overwhelmed?

It was barely 7 AM when Mike and I were walking into the gym and I said to him…

“This day is already too much for me.”

Been there? Maybe this morning? Maybe you feel like you are ALWAYS there. “Overwhelm” is the burden of modern society, but there is a lot we can do about it.

What I did

I went into the gym and I took it all out on the treadmill. 37 minutes, 3.6 miles and 456 calories later I felt a LOT better. I finished up with a few sun salutations, and a couple of other asanas and headed home. I took a shower, got dressed and headed to my studio with a protein shake and a mug of hot lemon water. I sat with my list for the day and re-wrote it to have only 3 items. Then I did my morning check in with my Soul Sister, Lole. And finally, I sat down at my computer to start this newsletter. Before I opened it, I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths and said a mantra (I will tell you which one, below.)

What You Can Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

1. B R E A T H E… and get up and MOVE… you just have to, right now. Nothing releases stress from your body and combats overwhelm like breathing deeply and moving. The more stressed we are the more contracted we become. That means less oxygen to our brains and less prana (vital energy) flowing through our bodies. We can’t handle much of anything if our lifeforce is being strangled. Here is a quick video from me that you can do right now at your desk. Ask a couple friends to come in and do it with you! Start a revolution!

2. Reality Check Your To-Do List… oh, man I can be a BIG offender on this one. I’ve made many a to-do list that filled every line and margin space of a legal pad. Don’t do this. It’s soul crushing and it doesn’t work. The “big ass list” method, as I lovingly call it, activates something in our brain that just makes us want to check off as many things as possible instead of doing the things that matter the most. So, we end up checking off lots of little tasks, but the big stuff doesn’t get done.

I’ve started a journal system this year. I bought a cheap journal at an art supply store. Every morning I write down THREE priority items for my business that will be completed by the end of the day. I also schedule my 3 self-care items. Today my items are: work out; evening meditation time; cuddle with my boys on the couch while watching this week’s Downton Abbey.

Scheduling the self-care is more important than any other items, because if we don’t respect ourselves by make our needs a priority, we have nothing to give others. At the end of the day I review my journal page, add in any extra stuff I got done and write myself a little “Congrats! You did it!” style note. This technique allows me to move my big projects forward (like the online school I am building), without getting “caught in the weeds” or losing sight of my own personal needs.

3. Connect… for me it was texting my friend. Every morning we check in with each other to see what we have going on and lend words of encouragement. This helps us to get through our day in a focused, positive way. We also make A LOT of jokes. Laughter is the best overwhelm eradicator.

The flip side of this one is to stay away from the Energy Vampires. Yep, you know who they are. Avoid them like the plague that they are. They will waste your time and drain your energy. You don’t need that.

4. Nourish… I made sure I ate something nourishing right after my work out to give me energy and to ensure that my muscles had what they needed to rebuild. I took a break about an hour later and had an egg and some grilled zucchini, because a protein shake is just not enough calories. We have to eat to THRIVE. That means small, frequent, high quality meals. Proteins and veggies are great, while sugar and high carb choices leave us feeling lethargic and cloudy. Most importantly, nourishing ourselves with healthy food is a huge act of self love. We need to love ourselves before we can fully love anyone else.

5. Use A Mantra… words have power. What we think, we become. We are believing our reality into existence every moment, so we must constantly witness and adjust what we are thinking. It is easy for our minds to get into a negative loop (i.e. I’m overwhelmed. I’ll never get all this done. I don’t have enough time/money/resources/ energy etc.). Here is one simple mantra that I use ALL the time (including this morning) that will help you reverse that kind of thinking:

I have all the time and resources I need.
I have all the time and resources I need.
I have all the time and resources I need.

…keep repeating this until you feel calm, clear and ready to go forward trusting that the Universe has your back.

End with an offering of gratitude like this one…

:: Thank you Great Spirit/God/Goddess for holding me in your loving light and giving me all that I need in every moment. Om shanti, shanti, shanti (Om peace, peace, peace.) ::

Take care of yourself first today. It will go a long way to keeping you out of that swamp we call “overwhelm”.

Be gentle and kind to yourself. You are a wonderful soul and you deserve it.

And let me know what you do to keep from getting overwhelmed! Leave a comment at the bottom of this post.


Sending love and holding you in the light,


Take a break from the overwhelm and stress of every day life. Join us in the mountains west of Asheville this August!