How to Overcome Overwhelm

Many young adults struggle to overcome  overwhelm they feel as they experience the momentous transition into adulthood. They try their best, juggling work, school, personal life, and finances, but often feel overwhelmed by their countless responsibilities.

Is this the case with you? Are you stuck in a never-ending cycle of “to do’s” that never seems to get finished? Is the stress interfering with your daily functioning?

Take heart! Don’t give up yet. There are ways to regain some control.

Halt the Overwhelm

When life becomes overwhelming, your ability to think clearly and objectively fades. Your brain is simply too cluttered with all the things you must do. What can help you overcome overwhelm?

Understand your limits

Stop trying to do it all! Become aware of where your limits lie. Don’t push yourself beyond them and don’t compare yourself with others.

Get the clutter out of your head

Put the issues that cause the overwhelm on paper. Jotting things down will help declutter your thoughts so they don’t keep circling around in your head. Don’t worry about writing it down neatly in any organized form. That will come later.

Put distance between you and your issues

Step away from the clutter – physically and mentally. Create distance to gain clarity and perspective on your issues. Do something to slow your mind: deep breathing, a long walk, silent meditation, or soothing music may help.

Set Goals

Goals keep you from going in circles and give your life direction and purpose. But how do you set attainable goals?

Identify your goals

Look back objectively at your clutter list. Figure out what are the true issues you must address. Sometimes your emotional perspective on a matter is more overwhelming than the reality. To overcome this feeling of being overwhelmed, it is important to detach the emotions  from your thoughts and make sure your goals focus on the real problem. Write each objective down. This will help you visualize what you want to accomplish.


Make sure each goal is specific and measurable so that you can easily break it apart into its components and track your progress. Also, consider if there is more than one way to achieve what you want and tweak your goals to work for you.

Remember, the most important goals are the one that means the most to you. Try asking yourself why you’re doing something to reveal what you find most important. Then sort your list accordingly.

Make a Plan

Of course, you won’t know every single step. And you’ll probably have to make some adjustments on the way, but creating a plan can help you immediately feel less overwhelmed.  So, how do you plan with purpose?

Tackle your goals wisely
Take your biggest goals, break them down, and created measurable tasks that you can accomplish and check off your list. Then focus on completing your most important tasks first. Allowing yourself to experience completion will help you maintain motivation.

Set boundaries
Reduce distractions by setting boundaries and eliminating what robs you of the time you need to handle the tasks. Design each day to manage your time effectively. Set a timer to overcome procrastination and to stick with a task when handling responsibilities for work, school, or home. Allow yourself some leisure time, but keep strict control on time wasters.

Don’t be afraid of giving up a little control. Handing certain matters over to someone else will lighten your load. Ask friends or family for help and graciously accept what they’re willing to offer.

Remain Connected to Your Intentions.

Review your tasks and goals every week. Remind yourself why each one is important, track your progress, and adjust them if necessary.

Then, schedule time for work, personal matters, and socializing for the coming week. Even if it doesn’t work out exactly as planned, it will help you overcome overwhelm and keep it in check. If you would like help to overcome the overwhelm in your life, please contact Denise Aden in Bettendorf, Iowa at 563-213-5100.


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