You’re probably used to feeling overwhelmed regularly, but do you know what overwhelm is? For that matter, do you know what to do about it? Learning all you can about this topic can be the difference between life getting to you or you getting a handle on all the things pressuring you.

What Is Overwhelm?

Many people often admit to feeling overwhelmed. What does this mean, though? The specific triggers and symptoms can vary greatly, but it’s usually a situation where a person is more than anxious and honestly feels as if they can’t function and deal with all the demands placed on them at the time. Being overburdened can be a temporary situation that happens in a particular moment, but it can also be a phase of life in general that you go through.

Why Do We Feel Overwhelmed?

We can feel overburdened because there is so much demand on us at one time that it might feel impossible to function at all. Being overly burdened can mean having more on your plate than you can handle at one time, so you think you can get some of your responsibilities done, but not all of them successfully. When you are feeling overwhelmed, you might think you can’t get anything done. That could be as specific as being a retail worker on Black Friday, but it can also be as general as struggling to juggle work, marriage, and parenting if you have kids and a career at the same time.

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What Are the Mental and Physical Symptoms of Being Overwhelmed?

Feeling overwhelmed is a general state of mind, but distinct symptoms accompany it. Some are mental, whereas others are physical. Knowing what they are can be crucial to managing current overburdened states while preventing or coping with future incidents.

Mental Symptoms of Overwhelm

Feeling overwhelmed has numerous mental symptoms that you and your therapist might identify:

  • Being emotional more than typical
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Having a hard time making choices, problem-solving, focusing, or getting things done
  • Feeling like you’re on edge
  • Relieving your mind using drugs or alcohol

Physical Symptoms of Overwhelm

If you are feeling overwhelmed, consider reporting these specific symptoms to your physician:

  • Sexual problems
  • Gastrointestinal complications
  • Less or more sleep than previously
  • Feelings of depression, exhaustion, and anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Being short of breath
  • Headaches
  • Jaw clenching and teeth grinding
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Heaviness in chest
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Chest pain

Emotional and psychological causes can trigger physical symptoms in your body, so don’t overlook these if and when they occur at any time.

Impact of Overwhelm in the Long-Term if Not Addressed in the Short-Term

Feeling overwhelmed can happen to most people at certain stages in life, so it’s normal if you feel it sometimes. However, when left untreated long enough, it can go from acute to chronic. The longer it takes hold, the more powerful it can become. Physically, you can gain weight, lose sleep, suffer immune system decline, and be prone to numerous diseases. Mentally, you’ll possibly lose your joy for life and self-esteem.

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Looking at the Causes of Your Overwhelm

Feeling overwhelmed can happen for many reasons. Unexpected events and precipitating stressors can be triggers of a period of being overburdened. Even relatively normal or light periods of demands on a person might be too much if they don’t have mental health or coping skills strong enough to deal with the pressures they are facing at the time. A series of multiple contributors might collectively accumulate and pile up on a person.

Top Tips on How To Cope When Feeling Overwhelmed

Once you identify as being overburdened, consider these many potential coping strategies:

  1. Change your perspective by stepping back from current thought processes so you can recognize your feelings and situation.
  2. Set boundaries and reconsider your priorities. Dropping a few responsibilities might make all the difference in the world.
  3. Challenge any assumptions you have because illogical thoughts might not be as real as they feel.
  4. Make new friends, or connect with a community group or cause that you find meaningful.
  5. Try a grounding technique, such as the 5/4/3/2/1 exercise in a quiet spot. Count five things you can physically see before finding four you can feel or touch. Continue for three, two, and one thing you can respectively hear, smell, or taste.
  6. Get more sociable with friendly coworkers so you can all help each other out.
  7. Relax for a few minutes. In the neverending search for perfectionism and productivity, you might have stopped taking breaks for yourself throughout the day.
  8. Avoid negative people whose energy brings your own down even more.
  9. Get some exercise. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to practice some yoga or go for a quick walk.
  10. Try journaling to put thoughts into words for better comprehension.
  11. Listen to some music. If you can and want to, sing or dance with it.
  12. Get a scented candle and light it for a soothing aroma.
  13. Sit in a quiet space and close your eyes.

Where Can I Get Help To Recover From Overwhelm?

Depending on who you trust, there are numerous resources you can turn to when dealing with situations such as these:

  1. Friends and Family: If you have anyone in your life that you can turn to when there’s too much on your plate, reach out to them for conversation or time together.
  2. a coach: Looking for someone that really takes the time to help you then maybe a coach with some good experience can be a huge help.
  3. Therapists: Whether you meet in person or do telehealth, you can find mental health professionals trained to help you out.
  4. Online Resources: From coping mechanisms to support communities, you’ll quickly find you’re far from alone in dealing with all of this.
  5. Employment Assistance: Your job might have employment assistance programs that can help you deal with everything stringing you out.
  6. Your Doctor: As this can be a very physical condition, your primary care physician might be someone who can help you with that side of matters.

Conquer burnout and stress

Reducing stress and recovering from burnout can be quite the challenge. With the help of our professional coaches, we are convinced that a full recovery is within reach. Our years of experience has taught us what stepping stones will help you reach your goal more effectively and how to make sure the changes you make will be of help to you for the rest of your life. Let’s turn your burnout or stress into your best life ever.

FAQ

Feeling overwhelmed for too long can be both a cause and a result of burnout. If you have more questions about overwhelm, you’re far from alone. These are frequently asked questions and answers others have had before.

Feeling overwhelmed happens a lot in modern life. Whether it’s school, work, bills, or family demands, there are times in life when too many things pile up at once and lead to a state of overwhelm. Certain times of year are certainly known for it, such as the winter holidays or back to school at the end of the summer. Certain cycles in your professional or academic life might also play a part, such as project deadlines or semester exams. Identifying them on your calendar in advance helps you possibly prepare for them, so they are less painful to endure when they do happen.

Feeling stressed is often defined as looking at your current environment or life and not feeling like you can successfully handle all the demands being placed on you. On the other hand, overwhelm is an extreme level of being stressed out to the point of potential burnout. Feeling overwhelmed doesn’t mean you don’t think you can successfully handle everything so much as you feel like you can’t function at all. One way to consider the relationship between being stressed or being overwhelmed is to think of yourself as being inside the plants of a home’s front yard, as stress is thought of as being in the weeds, and being overwhelmed is when you’re getting physically blown around.

That can depend on how overwhelmed you feel and what you do about it. The first and most crucial thing you can do is decide you don’t want to feel overwhelmed. The second step is doing something about it. You can find momentary relief quickly by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Even just a sip of water might be enough to get your mind to reset at the moment. Suppose you can remove yourself physically from an overwhelming situation and spend 10 to 20 minutes outside or walking around the block. In that case, you can feel better about yourself and better handle things. It’s okay to go sit in another room or just the bathroom to have a quiet moment and collect your thoughts.

One of the inherent dangers in dealing with overwhelm is the fear that you might wind up stuck feeling overwhelmed for a long time, perhaps the rest of your life. This condition can grow in magnitude and longevity when left untreated. Since the very nature of the condition is to be overwhelmed with things, you will naturally feel like you can’t cope. This can lead to the conclusion that the situation will remain in place forever. It can take a lot of time to come out of it, but with the tips provided here, professional care, and reaching out for help, you can eventually escape it. Not only that, but you can learn how to prevent it from happening again.

References

  1. Ohsu.edu – The new definition of overwhelm – found on 20-12-2022
    Link to page on ohsu.edu
  2. Colorado.edu – 5 things you can do if you’re feeling overwhelmed… – found on 20-12-2022
    Link to page on colorado.edu

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