6 Ways to Handle Life When You Feel Overwhelmed
If life has you overwhelmed and you don't know what to do, take a minute to reflect on your goals and prepare yourself to go for them.
Life isn’t easy. Even when things are going great, you may go through times when you just feel overwhelmed.
The important thing is to not let pessimism set in. It’s natural, and even healthy, to be sad, angry, or depressed. What’s not natural is to remain that way.
Here, we’d like to offer you some ways to handle these tough moments and keep moving forward. You’ll see that it’s not about magic formulas, but rather about simple attitude adjustments.
1. Be generous
You already know that when you’re feeling overwhelmed, your thoughts go to what you’re lacking and what you don’t have. However, being generous is food for your soul.
Instead of dwelling on how you don’t have enough time or money or on your problems at home, find a way to help someone else.
We recommend giving something to a total stranger. You don’t have to give a ton of money. Actually, you don’t have to give money at all. Maybe you’ll run into someone trying to carry heavy bags of groceries or having trouble crossing the street. Give them a hand!
Helping people will show you that, even if life seems like too much right now, you can always do something for another person.
The feeling it’ll give you is wonderful.
2. Sit and people watch
One of the biggest problems when you’re feeling overwhelmed with life is that you turn inward and only think about yourself and your problems. Next time you feel that way, try going to a park or café with lots of people passing by.
Take a seat and observe the people. But remember, we said to observe; don’t just look at them. In other words, take a minute and watch someone and imagine who they might be. Look at their face and wonder what their life might be like.
This exercise will help you live in the moment and remember how kids smile all the time and what makes them happy. You’ll also see people who look sad or angry, and maybe even witness an unpleasant situation that you can’t do anything about.
You don’t have to talk to anyone or try to solve their problems. This purely observational exercise will help you be more aware of your limits, but also of your privileges.
3. Go home and relax
Is it your job that’s feeling like too much for you right now? Is your relationship not going well and you’ve been fighting with your partner? Or is a problem with your family? If so, step away from the situation.
This isn’t running away. It’s just taking time to be alone and get your mood under control. The longer you stay in a situation like one of the above, the more likely it is that someone will say something they don’t mean.
Go home, make a nice cup of tea or coffee, and take a nap or a maybe even a bubble bath. Later, you can analyze what happened and see what’s really going on. Right now is about letting things cool off.
You’ll see the next day that everything will be less negative and you’ll be in a position to make better decisions.
4. Love yourself
Are you feeling overwhelmed because of a relationship that isn’t good for you? Does it seem like your friends have suddenly decided you’re not good enough? It’s OK. In the end, you are the one who has to love yourself.
Give yourself a minute to consciously love yourself. Work on creating helpful habits:
- Keep a thankfulness journal where you write one or two things everyday that make you special, reasons you love yourself.
- Set aside time every week to be alone and treat yourself to a massage or a hobby you love.
- Look at yourself in the mirror every night before bed and say those three magic words: “I love you.”
A lack of self-love can make you accept situations and conditions that hurt you. Don’t let this happen.
5. Educate yourself
There are times when you feel overwhelmed by situations that you don’t know how to handle. For example, maybe you always end up in debt at the end of the month no matter how much you work, or you keep getting passed over for that promotion.
In situations like these, it’s important to figure out if the problem actually has to do with your emotions or skills. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know everything.
Instead, look for ways to acquire the skills you’re missing.
The answer will depend on what you need:
- A personal finance class if you don’t know how to manage your money.
- A class or two to learn a skill that will help you advance at work.
- Psychological therapy to identify and resolve emotional issues that keep you in abusive relationships.
Remember that there’s no magic solution, and sometimes you have to stop and learn something. Once you do, it’ll be much easier to move forward.
6. Get inspired
Find a spot in your home where positivity abounds. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and lose direction when you don’t take the time to be thankful and get inspired.
Want to travel to Asia? Earn enough money to buy the house of your dreams? If you don’t keep the right focus, you’ll lose yourself in the process of trying to reach your goals.
Get a notebook or find a place in your room to put pictures, quotes, and anything else that will remind you what you’re working towards.
That way, when you’re feeling like you can’t handle life, you can go there and get your ideas, plans and activities in order.