In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and frazzled from time to time. With responsibilities piling up and anxiety increasing, it’s essential to find effective ways to relieve stress and regain agency. In this article you’ll learn 7 simple and effective ways to manage your stress, reduce overwhelm and find more balance.

1. Recognise Your Stress Points & Take Action

One of the easiest and most practical steps to take is to recognise your stress points in advance and implement suitable actions to remedy them. By understanding these triggers, you can begin to build a healthier approach to managing your anxiety and seeking the best possible solutions for staying calm and focused, in your everyday life. Taking action to identify and overcome these stress and overwhelm triggers not only brings peace of mind but provides a sense of accomplishment and agency in your life.

So how do you recognise your stress points? Start tuning-in to when and where you feel stressed. This could be as subtle as a general “out of sorts” feeling or as obvious as a full-blown sense of foreboding and panic. As you track your stressors, try to distance yourself from the feelings, and the situation so that you start to get a more objective, bird’s-eye view. This “zooming out” allows you to get more clarity about the reality of the situation and start seeing ways in which you can start to take action that will create more balance and reduce your experience of stress and overwhelm.

2. Be Mindful of the Commitments You Make

In today’s fast-paced world, we often feel pressured to commit to things in the moment without taking time to consider our capacity and enthusiasm to actually deliver on the requests that have been made of us. We shoot off a yes to please the person in the moment and this creates added, and often undue, stress and overwhelm. This applies to what may seem like mundane frivolous commitments too – coffee dates, promises to call, etc.

By carefully considering these commitments and assessing your capacity to meet the resulting expectations, you can foster healthier relationships and avoid overextending yourself. Remember, it is always better to under-promise and over-deliver than to make ambitious promises that you cannot uphold. Your time and energy are valuable resources, and effectively managing them can lead to increased agency, productivity and personal fulfilment. So, stop take a breath, and think about whether you can [and want to] make your next commitment before you respond to the request.

3. Make a To-Do List & Break it Down into Smaller Chunks

Another effective strategy to manage feelings of being overwhelmed is to create a to-do list and break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. By organizing tasks in this manner, we can easily prioritize and tackle responsibilities one step at a time. This method helps reduce anxiety and promotes a sense of accomplishment as we progressively complete each task. Furthermore, breaking down complex tasks into smaller components allows for better focus and increased efficiency in achieving our goals.

4. Put Boundaries Around Your Time & Set Priorities

Setting boundaries and establishing priorities are key strategies to overcoming the feeling of being overwhelmed and frazzled. By determining what is truly important and necessary, we can allocate our energy and resources in the most effective manner. This not only helps with time management, but also alleviates the mental and emotional burden of trying to juggle too many tasks at once. This can feel like an impossible task, because it may seem like everything is a priority, and it can be really hard to say no to requests. A few tricks that you can use to set the ground-work for creating healthy boundaries are:

  1. Buy time to consider your capacity to fulfil requests by formulating [and practicing] a few delay statements like; “I’m not at my desk at the moment, can I check a few things in my schedule and get back to you?” This also gives you time to formulate a good way to say; “no”.
  2. Estimate time allocations for each task and block out time in your schedule for each task – this often gives us a reality check in that we get a visual of the time we have in a day vs the work-load we have planned for that day. This can also create a mind-shift regarding saying no.
  3. Colour code your tasks according to your assessment of their priority. You can then schedule your priority tasks to be tackled first.
  4. Learn to say; “I’m sorry, I thought I had capacity to attend to your request, but I am really struggling to find the time to work on it. Can it wait until …[fill in your next available time slot], or would you like to ask someone else to assist?”

5. Take Breaks & Unplug from Technology

Taking breaks and unplugging from technology is another effective strategy to combat feelings of being overwhelmed. Allowing our minds and bodies to rest by disconnecting from our devices can significantly reduce stress and improve mental clarity. Engaging in activities such as meditation, reading, or exercise during these breaks provides a respite from the constant barrage of information and stimulation technology often delivers. Taking time out can feel self-indulgent [the psychology behind this is an article itself], but the research tells us otherwise. Taking a break not only allows us to recharge and re-balance, it also creates space for us to see different perspectives and gain clarity. It is also shown to increase our creativity and productivity. So all in all taking a break is good for you, and those around you, including your clients, customers or employer.

6. Exercise & Connect with Nature

Incorporating regular exercise and connecting with nature can work wonders for managing overwhelming feelings. Physical activity facilitates the release of endorphins, which act as natural stress relievers, while spending time outdoors exposes us to fresh air and the calming effects of natural surroundings. Combining these elements encourages mental clarity, promotes relaxation, and fosters a deeper connection to oneself. Engaging in this holistic approach on a consistent basis can significantly improve our ability to manage stress and maintain a balanced lifestyle.

7. Practice Mindful Meditation Techniques

Practicing mindful meditation techniques is another highly effective way to combat feelings of being overwhelmed. Mindfulness meditation encourages individuals to focus their attention on the present moment, allowing thoughts and emotions to arise without judgment. This practice helps cultivate an attitude of acceptance, reducing rumination over past events or future concerns. Regularly practicing these meditation techniques can support emotional regulation, enhance mental clarity, and provide relief from overwhelming feelings, ultimately enabling a more grounded and balanced life.


Although the above may be simple steps, they aren’t always easy to implement. In fact, it may feel too overwhelming to even start to put things in place for yourself. It is okay to feel this way and doesn’t mean all is lost. You can still take small steps toward gaining perspective and agency. Firstly, start with where you are at this moment and take small steps to regain control and re-centre your sense of agency. Secondly, remember that you don’t need to do it alone. You can reach out to a friend, family member, or even a professional therapist or coach to help you get started and to support you through the process of change.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on how you work with feelings of overwhelm – please leave a comment in the box below. If you found this article interesting or helpful, please like and share it to your social media platform of choice. Thank you.

To work with me or book a mindfulness-based support session, please contact me directly.

Image Credit: John Towner


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