Signs You're Feeling Overwhelmed And What To Do

Most times, students don’t know when they are in over their head with work, commitments, and life challenges. We give them the knowledge to recognize when they are overwhelmed and the tools to not be paralyzed by the feeling.<br><br>

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The most common signs you feel overwhelmed

1. You are always tired.

When overwhelmed, your mind is on overdrive. This can feel exhausting and may leave you feeling tired all the time. This fatigue or excessive tiredness may continue even after you have gotten sleep, no matter how much sleep you get

2. Procrastination

We all tend to procrastinate when dealing with tasks we’d rather not do but need to do (like that book report). When you are overwhelmed, procrastination becomes a way of life. We delay and dread everything until we feel pushed into a corner where we have to do something.

3. Overeating or eating less

Any unexpected change in appetite or eating habits is typically not good. If you find yourself not as hungry as usual or hungrier than you normally are, then sometimes this could be a sign of an emotional or psychological issue. It’s time to pay attention before your mental health impacts your physical health.

4. Loss of focus

If you find yourself staring at a blank screen or unable to pay attention in a class or during an activity that usually interests you, this could be a sign that stress is making your mind shut down.

5. Dread

If you wake up in the morning dreading the things you need to do and feeling anxious, chances are you’re in overwhelm mode before you even start your day.

Dread is anxiety wrapped in resistance. We feel torn between having to do something, and fearing that we won’t be able to do it. So we resist it and then feel more anxious. Vicious cycle!


Now that you know how to identify when you’re struggling with being overwhelmed, let’s talk about how to break through it.


Strategies to fight feeling overwhelmed

1. Take an emotional time out.

Read that book your friend told you, you must read. Go to a movie or watch one at home that makes you laugh. The point is to take an hour or two away from your problems--physically somewhere else, if possible. You'll remember that there's a vast world out there, and maybe put yourself back in perspective.

2. Exercise.

Same idea here, but with a personal physical component. Move your body. Go for a run or walk. Find a fitness video on YouTube you can do at home. Take a spin class. Whatever it is that you do for exercise, work it into the middle of the day, so you can separate the difficult morning from the rest of the afternoon.

3. Breathe deeply.

Any easy, and inconspicuous way to address anxiety and feeling overwhelmed is to breathe. Just take a full 120 seconds to breathe in and out, very deeply--maybe six or seven breaths per minute. By the end, your body will be less tense and you will feel better.

4. Pray or meditate.

Mindfulness and faith might look different for everyone, but the benefits are universal. When you are overwhelmed, taking a few moments to express your gratitude and connect to something higher than yourself.

5. Clean things up.

Clear out the clutter in your room, locker, and backpack. Clearing the messiness in your space has a profound calming effect. Take a few minutes to straighten up spaces that you keep avoiding, and you might see things in a whole new light.