Quick ways to focus when you feel overwhelmed

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Feeling overwhelmed? Modern life can be stressful. Your days are full and complex and it can be a lot to handle emotionally and physically. There are both hope and help. Here are my quick and simple ways to get focused when you feel overwhelmed and life seems out of control.

Maybe you popped in here because your life feels out of control. You do not have to live your life feeling overwhelmed. There are many simple things you can do to get your control back and begin your transformation to a calmer, happier life today.

Before we begin, If you are in trouble or feel like the world would be better off without you, call the Anxiety Hotline, go to your doctor or closest emergency room. Sometimes chaotic thoughts and extreme overwhelm can be dangerous. Please do not go it alone. There is help available. You are valued, loved, and we need you.

Quick steps to get focused when you feel overwhelmed:

Go potty
Breathe
Eat, drink
Washers
Thought download
Gratitude
Cancel plans
Nature
Move it
Get in the water
Sleep
Create
Talk

Skimming? Save to Pinterest of later

Ideas to recenter yourself when your life seems out of control

Go potty

You have probably been holding it. Go to the bathroom and lock the door. Go!

Take a deep breath

If you are stressed you have probably been holding your breath, too. Take a breath in, hold for 3, and then out. Repeat. Breathe.

Eat and drink

It is so difficult to focus and be at our best when we are hungry or thirsty. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself, “am I thirsty or hungry?”

Snack

Grab a snack that has some fat, protein, and a complex carb if it has been a while since you have eaten. (I know the commercials are funny, but a candy bar will not satisfy).

Try:
*An apple slices with peanut butter
*A cheese stick and some baby carrots
*A handful of almonds and a banana

One quick, healthy snack might do the trick!

Drink water

In addition, being hydrated has a bazillion-gajillion benefits. Fill a glass and drink it.

If you struggle staying hydrated. Find some ways to make drinking enjoyable and a habit. Check out my Drink More Water post to see some ways that we get that water in over here.

Start the laundry and dishwasher

Get those machines humming with progress for your best passive action. Fill the dishwasher and get it running. Gather some laundry and put it in. These actions will get you moving ahead and feel like progress.

Thought download

Anyone would feel overwhelmed with a million thoughts, ideas, to-dos, and lists swirling in her head. Set a timer for 5 minutes and do a thought download, also called a brain dump or mind sweep.

Studies suggest that capturing your thoughts on paper can relieve stress because it signals your brain that the idea has been retained on the page, so your mind can let it rest for now.

Free Download: Prompts to Clear Your Mind

Freeing!

Get a clean sheet of paper and start a thought download. Set a timer and write down what is on your mind. If the thoughts are flowing and you need more time, set the timer again and go at it.

For tips and a guide to help get your thoughts out and a FREE DOWNLOAD of journal prompts to help you, go to here:

Free Download: Prompts to Clear Your Mind

Count your blessings

Write down all the things you are thankful for. Counting your blessings is a great way to put into words what is going well. I believe that gratitude is the root of joy.

I’m not sure the source of this saying (if you do, let me know, so I can attribute it!), but it is fun to think about: “you can’t be stressed and blessed in the same breath.”

Set a timer for 5 minutes and write down things that you are thankful for or appreciate. It can be simple, it can be big, it doesn’t matter. Consider keeping a small notebook or journal dedicated to gratitude or counting your blessings on an ongoing basis.

The practice of focusing your brain on the positive helps to calm you when you feel overwhelmed.

Cancel something

When you feel overwhelmed, cancel some plans and ALL of the drama. Do not ghost on your responsibilities, but consider evaluating your schedule and obligations. Is there anything that you can quit?

Be ruthless and cancel the complex. Pay close attention to which activities and events on your schedule bring you joy and then begin working yourself out of the others.

Further, drama demands you to take responsibility for things that do not belong to you. It is draining and can amplify overwhelm. Use this guide:

How to Avoid Drama in Your Life here to guide you through canceling drama.

Go outside

Getting in nature is one of the best ways to center and ground ourselves. Get some fresh air, sun on your face, and enjoy your surroundings to reset your day.

If you can go alone, excellent. If the trip outside includes tiny people, that is great, too for you and them! It does not need to be fancy like a trip to the mountains. If standing on the balcony or sit on the porch for 30 seconds or walking the dog is the best you can do right now, start there.

Get in nature to help you find your focus again when your feel overwhelmed.

Move your body

My body was designed to move and I always feel better when I do. If you are overwhelmed, now is not the time to start training for the swimsuit competition. Simple loving movements like stretching and walking can literally alter your mood in 5 minutes flat.

When you feel overwhelmed, lovingly move your body to help you re-focus.

Get in water

As babies and toddlers, if my kids had an off day and were fussy, I would put them in water and it always did the trick to give us the reset we desperately needed. Sometimes that was water play or a bath, or even putting their tiny hands under the running faucet. Either way, it was usually the magic trick we needed.

Nearly like a miracle, taking a bath, shower, swimming, or even putting your feet in a container of water is so powerful in bringing you back to a place of calm and peace. Give it a try.

Next time you feel the overwhelming feelings coming, get in some water and see if it helps.

Go to bed early

Most of the time, going to bed at a healthy time is what your mind, body, and soul require. There are times to stay up all alone and get some extra work done or binge on a show, if you are feeling overwhelmed, you might need more sleep.

I know, it feels counter-intuitive to stop to rest or sleep when there is so much to do, but meaningful rest can actually help your work-time to be more productive and joyful. Many people are chronically sleep-deprived and it can exacerbate mental and physical problems.

Go to bed.

Do something creative

Whatever you love to do that gets your creative juices flowing, do it now. I know you are overwhelmed with all of the obligations of life. Those things will be there. Now, is the time to find joy and connection to your creative side.

When we are creative, we use a different part of our brain than what we use for the day-to-day grind. Connecting with that part of us has many benefits. It can rest the brain. Creativity can help us with problem-solving. It can help us connect to our 5 senses, our spirit and so much more.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, make a plan to do something creative, even for a short time.

Talk to someone supportive

We were made for human connection. When you are feeling overwhelmed, you are probably also feeling lonely. If you have a trusted friend, sister, or partner, call or sit down and talk with them.

If you feel that a professional counselor or therapist is what you need, do not hesitate to go see him or her.

Emergency?

Lastly, again, if you are in trouble or feel like the world would be better off without you, call the Anxiety Hotline, go to your doctor, or closest emergency room right now. There is hope for you and help can be found if you ask. You do not have to live your life feeling overwhelmed.

To sum it up

Life is stressful these days. Your days are full and complex and it can be a lot to handle emotionally and physically. There are both hope and help.

Is your life feeling out of control right now? Now you know that you don’t have to live your life feeling overwhelmed and quick and simple ways to get focused when you feel overwhelmed:

Go potty
Breathe
Eat, drink
Washers
Thought download
Gratitude
Cancel plans
Nature
Move it
Get in the water
Sleep
Create
Talk

Taking Action

If you enjoyed this post, please:

  1. Apply it, try some of the tips, then come back and tell me about it!
  2. Share it (on social media, Pinterest, or with a friend).
  3. Subscribe to my email list for more great stuff like this.

Your feedback is important

I love connecting with my readers because your feedback is important to me. Please leave a (really kind) comment, or find me on social media @altogethermostly

About the author, Jaime

Jaime Ragsdale
Jaime Ragsdale, Founder of Altogether Mostly

Here at Altogether Mostly, you will find grace, compassion, joy, and beauty. I use empathy and a little tough love to bring out the best in people. I live in the Midwest United States with my loving husband and awesome children. For more about me and Altogether Mostly, please visit my about page here.

green labyrinth maze text quick ways to focus when you feel overwhelmed
Quick ways to focus when you feel overwhelmed
Quick steps to focus when your feel overwhelmed checklist
Quick steps to focus when your feel overwhelmed checklist
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