8 Solutions for Beating Overwhelm that You Can Action NOW!

A ‘to do list’ that keeps growing, an overflowing email inbox, a big project eating up all your mental and emotional bandwidth, an ironing pile which now needs a base camp before you can reach the top….

And that’s before you’ve given time to your partner, kids, colleagues, boss ….

You don’t know where to start.

You feel physical anxiety and your flight, fight or freeze response kicks in. 

This is overwhelm.

And we’re in an overwhelm epidemic. In a recent UK study 81% of women said they’ve felt overwhelmed in the past year (compared with 67% of men).

Overwhelm kills our  productivity, fries our brains, knocks our confidence and hits our performance and happiness big style. 

Dealing with overwhelm is the #1 topic that comes up in our 1-1 coaching with our women leader clients. 

YES there are longer term strategies to ease out the flow and workload and key conversations you need to have

But if you are in overwhelm the you don’t need a long term plan – you need emergency help right here, right now! 

Here’s your overwhelm first aid kit: 

Firstly get grounded. Breathe. Set an intention for this next moment. How do you want to feel today? Connect with that feeling.  Move your body to go and make a hot drink or get a glass of water. Drink your drink! 

Secondly agree with yourself that you’ve got this. Yes, you’ve a lot on your plate and you feel overwhelmed at this precise moment. AND you are able and capable. You are enough in this moment. Don’t look ahead ‘If I know I’ve got back to back events/ people/ things when I look ahead I can feel waaaay too full and over loaded and it’s too much’. 

Thirdly decide and agree with yourself that you will be present for one thing at a time. Thinking about everything all at once creates mental shut down – we literally don’t have enough metal bandwidth to cope. So, the strategy is to be fully present with each thing. Decide to focus on one thing at a time and do one thing at once. Close down everything else on your work station. Rather than having multiple documents, emails, social media open all at the same time, clear out your work space – have the one thing you are working on open.

Fourthly connect with the bigger picture of your life - your goals, your big ‘why’, how you want to feel in your life, your sense of the important things in your life. Just for a moment remember why you’re doing this, who it’s for and why it’s important to you.

Fifthly decide what is the most important thing I need to progress today (note progress not complete). What is your ONE high priority thing for today. And we know that when we’re overwhelmed, even making this choice can be hard. If it feels hard then connect with the one priority which will help you progress your bigger goals, and move towards that. OR identity the one priority which is causing you most negative feelings and move towards that.

Sixthly do that thing FIRST. ‘I notice there’s often a pull to knock quantity off my list so I’ll do 7 small things. But then I get to the end of the day and I haven’t done the most important thing for that day’. Do the high priority thing first. 

Here’s how this works. 

Choose your one thing to work on. Shut down everything else. Set your timer for 30 minutes. Work undistracted for 30 minutes on that one thing. 

When the 30 minutes is up STOP. Get up, stretch, move your body, go get a drink.  Movement is really important. It helps you mark that this piece is done. It activates your brain in a fresh way. It kicks you into a different state. Stand up, stretch, run up and down the stairs, do star jumps, get your heart rate up. ‘When I’m overwhelmed I often go to my phone or put on a podcast or open Facebook. These are ‘strokes’ to make me feel better – actually just contributing to the problem of overwhelm.’ 

Next ask yourself what is the next most important thing I need to progress today. Ask this question to help you focus on the next most important thing. What is the one thing I can do right now that’s going to make the biggest difference to me feeling how I want to feel today. 

Go to your next thing. Set your timer. Work for 30 minutes. Stop. Take a break. Repeat!

At the end of your day

At the end of your day, clear your workspace. Make a fresh list for tomorrow. Allow your brain to let things go. Know there will be time tomorrow. 

Reflect back on what you were able to progress. Notice you may want to focus on what you haven’t done and how there’s still so much to do. Instead focus on what you were able to do. Share some gratitude with yourself that you’re making progress. 

Do something fun for yourself that energises you and enables you to feel the way you want to feel today. Walk in nature. Squeeze or FaceTime your kids or a friend. Listen to your partner. Watch an inspiring talk. Tune into your favourite podcast. Cook some delicious food. Listen to relaxing or energising music. Have a bath. You know what to do! Give yourself 30 mins for this too :)


Get up 30 mins earlier and start your day with a focused morning routine (more on this soon!) to set you up in a great place for the day ahead :)


Over to you

Coaching prompts

·      What are your patterns when you’re in overwhelm? 

·      What are your go-to behaviours?

·      How do you want to feel instead of overwhelmed?  


Want to go deeper? Need to beat overwhelm in your life? Want to feel more spacious? Want to get more done?  


Join us HERE for ‘How to beat overwhelm, feel spacious and get more done’ webinar, for more practical make-a-difference-now strategies - make a difference in just 60 minutes!