4 Tips for Dealing with Overwhelm

Posted July 20, 2016 in stress, stress management, dealing with overwhelm, self-care, primary foods, health coaching, holistic health


As I drove to work today, I had this overwhelmingly intense tension in my chest and throat. 

I kept replaying my to-do lists (yes, lists) over and over again in my mind, thinking about the disarray (and let's be honest, dirtiness) of my house and my schedule, which had me going non-stop until 9 p.m.

I wanted to turn my car around, drive home and climb back under my sheets. 

These feelings of overwhelming stress are actually somewhat new to me. For just over a year, I've been working full-time, running my health coaching business, blogging, teaching fitness classes, selling a nutrition line and more recently I've been doing yoga teacher training. All this sprinkled in with volunteering for a few organizations, creating a new group for entrepreneurs in my community and preparing to teach a college course in the fall.

While I practice self-care daily to manage my stress and create a bit of balance in my life, I occasionally have a mini meltdown. When I do, these are the steps that I take to take back control and find some calmness...

  1. Stop and Breathe - The first thing I do when I feel that tension in my throat and realize that my mind is racing, is pause. I close my eyes and focus on each inhale and exhale. Each time my mind wanders back to my to-do list, I re-focus on my breath. Breathing or meditation helps me to reset and move forward more calmly. Sometimes I'll use a mantra like - "I am enough" or "I am capable" or my personal favorite from Grace Smith "I am a f***ing rockstar and I'm kicking ass at life." I may also take a moment to make a mental list of things I'm grateful for. Gratitude always grounds me.
  2. Get real organized with your to-do list - When I have a long list of things to do, it feels incredibly overwhelming. I don't know where to start, so I do nothing. At the beginning of the year, I began creating a day-to-day to do list. I make a list of my goals for the week and everything I'd like to accomplish during the week. Then I think about my schedule each day, and chunk everything down by assigning each task a day (and maybe even a time). This has helped me feel less overwhelmed and has helped me accomplish so much more. I also try to schedule in workouts or time to relax, so self-care becomes part of my day's schedule.
  3. Stay in the present - I often find myself in the middle of one task, thinking about the next three things I have to do. Or going back and forth between multiple tasks. This creates so much more stress. And multitasking, while glorified in our society, doesn't work. A few months ago, a friend suggested setting a timer for 25 minutes then 5 minutes. You work on one specific task for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. When I implemented this technique, I got so much more done and I was able to focus my attention to the present moment. I admit, I haven't been doing this lately and I need to get back to it. 
  4. Focus on what matters - When my to-do list seems completely overwhelming, I'll look it over and begin cutting. I ask myself, "What can wait until next week." I also take a moment to think about what is most important in my life - my relationships. Does my schedule allow me to spend time with the people I love? What can go and what can be shuffled to another week? If we're not nourishing our spirit, then we won't find calmness and peace. 

Finding ways to manage stress and developing a self-care practice are key pieces to my holistic health coaching programs. These are called Primary Foods™. Primary food is nourishment that doesn’t come from your kitchen and doesn’t appear on your plate. 

When you have contentment and joy in these areas, food becomes secondary. Even if you’re eating kale and quinoa every day and drinking all the green juice, if you’re not nourishing yourself on a holistic level you won’t feel fulfilled and vibrant. As a health coach, I can help you achieve your health goals, but also learn how to find peace and balance.

Schedule a health coaching consultation today! Email sarasweetsuccess@gmail.com.

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