6 tips to help when you’re feeling overwhelmed

6 tips to combating that feeling of overwhelm

I don’t know if it’s the weather, sheer exhaustion or just taking on too much, but this past week I’ve been feeling majorly overwhelmed, a little burnt out and seriously stressed. The constant rain has meant we’ve spent more time in the house than we’d like to, we’ve all a bit of a case of cabin fever and the kids are spending about 90% of their time falling out and getting annoyed at each other {even though we have enough rooms for them to do their own thing away from each other}. While we’ve ‘officially’ stopped homeschooling for the summer, I’m still working and have a big list of other jobs I’d like to get done this summer, as well as trying to get us organised for a few holidays AND do some fun summer stuff with the kiddos. Beastie shouts ‘MUM’ literally every 30 seconds ALL. DAY. LONG – and wants me to build towers with him constantly. Add to that a good 18 months of sleep deprivation catching up on me {thanks boy}

I know I’m often my own worst enemy – I add more and more to my to-do lists all the time, try and do twenty people’s jobs in a day [least it feels like it} and am absolutely rubbish at taking ‘me time’ as I feel guilty for not working/being with the kids/ticking jobs off my list. I can go and go and go for weeks at a time, months even and then every now and then, it all catches up with me and I end up wound up and feeling like I might explode.

I’ve gotten to the point when I’m that wound up, that I am naggy and short-tempered, struggling to be inspired enough to work or do anything around the house. I cry at the drop of a hat {happy or sad stories, doesn’t seem to matter!} and am wasting a crazy amount of time reading crappy links on my Fb… so it’s certainly time to sort it out!

I know what I should be doing, and how to make myself feel better… putting these tips into action isn’t always so easy though!

1| Make a list

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, and my head is spinning with things I need/want to do, the first thing that helps is to write a list. Brain dump every single thought swirling around your brain. Writing it all down means my brain no longer has to try to remember every single thing. Once I’ve written it down, I’ll organise it into have to/want to’s, or work/kids/life lists. Then cross out anything that actually doesn’t matter {like cleaning the tops of the kitchen cupboards…} If I’m seriously stressed out, I’ll make one list with anything I absolutely have to do that day/week – any work deadlines, etc and put that on one list, and everything else goes on a ‘it can wait until I’m less stressed list’. Brain dumping rally does make a huge difference, there is only so many thoughts your brain can cope with before it starts to freak out

2| Get a change of scene

Once I’ve emptied my brain of every last thing, I stop everything and get out the house {unless one of my absolutely have to’s has to be done RIGHT THAT VERY SECOND. But generally, it can wait at least half an hour. So get out – either into the garden, or taking the kids to the park, or sneaking off for a coffee on my own if I’m super duper lucky. A change of scene never fails to help – and getting away from home, where I have an endless list of tasks that I should be doing, to somewhere I can switch off fully and relax.

3| Reach Out

We all need some time with our friends, and when you’re a full-time/working mama it doesn’t always happen as much as it should. Sure – I see plenty of ‘grown-ups’ through the week, dropping the kids at groups, the DPD man, people in the shops… but it’s often more of a ‘hi, how you doing’ kinda chat than a deep and meaningful one, or even just a giggle fest {and we ALL need those from time to time}. So when I feel like I might explode, I’ll reach out. Call or text a friend, meet up if possible, even just have a good natter with a chum on facebook. A little bit of human interaction is oh so good for the soul.

4| Clear the clutter

Modern life is great, I mean, I love that I get to work from home doing something that I LOVE… but it is also full of NOISE. Facebook, Twitter, Emails… my phone beeps so much that I can never seem to get away from the noise. It’s a huge distraction and also a massive time waster. I’ll be stressed out about not having enough time yet find myself mindlessly scrolling through facebook… not exactly productive huh?! Switching off from the internet, and spending some time away from the noise really helps my head feel less full. If I’m on the computer I’ll use an extension such as Stay Focused – it lets me work and not check FB over and over again! I’ll mute {or even uninstall} social media apps on my phone, and turn off syncing for my emails. I don’t need to see what every single person on my Fb feed is up to all day long, and when I stay away from checking constantly I feel so much better!

5| Pamper Yourself

Often I end up working evenings as I just don’t have enough daytime hours to get everything done. This is all well and good, and sometimes I don’t mind. But often it means I don’t get a chance to relax. Some evenings I’ll watch an episode or two whilst working, but it’s not the same as switching off properly. So, to combat stress, I’ll make evenings chill out time – take a long, hot bath, watch a movie, read a book or a magazine… drink some wine and eat all the chocolates! I feel guilty {at first} for doing nothing. But sometimes nothing is just what you need to avoid burn out.

6| Move Your Body

This is one piece of advice I really need to take right now. Exercise is something I really don’t want to do when I’m this stressed out, but is actually probably one of the best things I could do. Personally, I find that a good session on my cross trainer, with some loud music pumping, always makes me feel better. Endorphins are one of the best remedies for overwhelm and stress. These magical happy chemicals literally help you to think more clearly, and moving your body beats that ‘tensed up, about to explode’ feeling.

What do you do when you’re stressed and overwhelmed?


  1. Candy Pop

    July 14, 2016 at 11:30

    Brilliant post and I love all your tips. Have a great Thursday! x

  2. Eleanor (The Bristol Parent)

    July 15, 2016 at 06:50

    I think I do the same sort of things, really. I write a list, update my calendar, try and buy myself more time, section out the day as much as possible. I always get up earlier than everyone else to get things done, as well.

    Randomly, what we’ve most started doing which relaxes me, is leaving the telly off in the evening, where possible, and talking. I like to read instead, too. Anything to escape real life, basically!

  3. Slummy single mummy

    July 15, 2016 at 11:04

    God, I need this today! It’s the last day of term and I’m feeling really overwhelmed at the thought of it – I just wrote a blog post actually and surprised myself at what spewed out!!

  4. Penny

    July 15, 2016 at 12:21

    I need this so much, feel comforted knowing I am not alone, although I am sorry you feel overwhelmed too. I do lots of this, especially the list thing and the prioritising the list thing. I also delete the facebook app from my phone and turn off my pc, it really gives me so much time back! Til I miss my friends ;) x

  5. Laura

    July 18, 2016 at 11:43

    These are some fantastic tips and I know just how you feel about being overwhelmed – I have felt that way too lately.
    I find making lists and knowing exactly what I need to do in plain writing really helps as well as decluttering.

    Laura x

  6. Alice

    July 18, 2016 at 13:27

    These are brilliant tips, Polly. The list especially always works well for me! xx

  7. Kathryn

    July 20, 2016 at 17:01

    I feel the same to be honest Polly and I feel like I need a break and a change of scene. A holiday would be great right now! xx

  8. 7 Days, 7 Posts #57: Takeover Edition - Sally Akins

    August 7, 2016 at 17:01

    […] at Enchanted Pixie (@pixie_polly ) – 6 Tips to Help when You’re Feeling Overwhelmed I’m a sucker for a good list post and the first piece of advice in this one is to make a list […]

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