Are you feeling overwhelmed?

How’s your personal bandwidth doing? Are you sometimes feeling completely overwhelmed with what life brings you? I know I often do, so I looked into the problem and tried equipping myself with a new approach.

Everything is great until it’s not.

How come, one day, after reading or watching something, after an exciting and invigorating conversation, I feel excited and ready to conquer the world, and another – depleted and, well, entirely overwhelmed. 

Yesterday, I had lofty goals and made plans. I had a streak of productive days and had just assumed yesterday would be no different. But I was wrong. 

It started well, but then something fairly positive happened” (my fish gave birth to a ton of tiny guppies- that’s how exciting my life is right now), my attention got a bit scattered. Eventually, the whole productivity plan got derailed. 

The more I forced myself to go back to my desk and work, the more I rebelled inside. Like a cork pushed under the water, I’d pop out the moment I stopped trying. So I stopped. I leaned in and went on to watch the tiny fish. 

It starts with awareness.

I’ve grown wiser over the past couple of months. I have more self-compassion to offer to myself now than only a while ago. 

I realized I was tired after that productive streak. Tired and a bit overwhelmed, with my mental bandwidth stretched to the max. 

Not too long ago, I would probably start blaming my bandwidth in the first place: why is it that I get chocked so easily? I am just not hard-working enough, not resilient enough, I’m not doing enough, and it wouldn’t get me anywhere. 

To reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed, we first need to decide whether what’s causing us to feel overwhelmed. Is it due to internal or external factors?

Simply put, is it because we have too much on our plate, or is it because we put too much pressure on ourselves? Or both?

Feeling overwhelmed -Immediate Relief

Now I know (a bit) better. When I struggle with feeling overwhelmed, the first thing I try to remember is to:

– raise my head, stop staring at whatever screen I’ve been staring at, look around, at telling myself that what I see in real life. My life. I get in touch with my environment to get out of my head, to get grounded. 

– limit input: move away from my computer or phone, stop reading, stop researching, stop making plans, or setting goals. 

– limit distractions: turn off my phone or at least put it on flight mode, turn to pen and paper, clean my place.

– deliberately slow down. Doing so often seems counterintuitive if you feel like you’re in a hurry, but I find it very helpful. Sometimes realizing that it won’t make a considerable time difference, whether you hurry or take your time, is all you need. If you rush yourself, you’re using some of your available resources (energy) to deal with that feeling. Use this energy to complete your tasks. 

– look into my toolkit for tools to help me with overwhelm.

We are tired

We are tired because we’re not machines. 

There’s the physical aspect of being tired, and then there’s the mental side of it. 

It’d good to create a habit of taking stock and getting in touch with yourself to have the time and space to ask yourself: why you’re feeling overwhelmed? What’s causing your mind to get jammed? 

Simply put, it’s ‚jamming’ your mental bandwidth, just like you can have paper jammed in your printer. Too much, in too short of a time., forcefully pushed.

What would you do with a paper jam? First, try and get it all out, to empty it, then maybe clean your printer. 

Sometimes, it’s quite simple: you’re tired, overworked, dehydrated. 

Sometimes it’s a bit more complex and stems from FOMO (fear of missing out), setting your expectations too high, comparing yourself to others instead of measuring your own progress, focusing on the outcome more than the process. 

Overwhelm – Tools for life


It’s the first thing on the tool kit list because it is the foundation for any other work that you may want to do. 

Practicing meditation means creating more mental space between a trigger and your response, thus getting you off your autopilot mode. Having the time to choose your answer allows other changes to follow. 


Being able to stop, take a step back to assess the situation, and decide what to do about it.


Getting clear with yourself about your expectations and deciding what is enough in different areas of your life is like a compass amidst the chaos.


It may sound a bit woo-woo to some, but from a strictly practical point of view, it’ll get you further than blaming, shaming, and other guilt-trips. Self-compassion is not about cutting yourself some slack (well, maybe, sometimes), but about appreciating your human side; it’s about increasing your awareness and, therefore, understanding of underlying processes and patterns and moving on. 


We’re all different, with a different set of skills, abilities, life circumstances. You can get inspired by others, try and model your actions on others, but compare yourself to them all the time? Nah-a. Not good, not healthy. Acknowledge where you are and how far you’ve come. 


That should be the source of your motivations and actions. 

Sometimes it’s easier to define your values within different areas of your life. Be prepared for them to compete sometimes.


There’s only so much control we can have over things in our lives (ever heard of COVID?).

Maybe we’ll reach our goals, perhaps not, but as long as we see a purpose in our journey and find meaning in the doing, we’re winning anyway. 

Whether you get where you’re heading or not, ask yourself if you are enjoying the journey. Now, of course, not every step towards your goal is pleasant, but as long as you see the value and meaning in it, you’re on the right track. Simply put, you know why you do what you do.


Or at least try to get into the flow state as often as possible. That’s the place where time stops, and you feel like flying. 

And to enter the flow state, it helps to learn how to:


What you pay attention to grows. So, by deciding what to pay attention to and what to ignore, you are actively shaping your reality (life). Our attention is one of our most precious resources. Spend it wisely.


Shape your environment to serve you, and not just react to whatever calls for your attention (technology needs to be tamed and help you; other people in your life need to know your boundaries)



This one is easier said than done, but this should not discourage you in the slightest. 

I like to think of resilience as a table. A table to stand needs at least three legs, and four is common. 

It’s about learning the tools to thrive (grit, growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset), having a safety net (from finances to relationships), improving your physical resilience by taking care of your well-being (exercise, hydration, nutrition, sleep and creating a better environment to thrive).


Slowly, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of stopping whatever we were doing and taking the time to unwind appropriately. Still, we can slow down, take a deep breath, and avoid all-or-nothing thinking. 

It’s your life, not s race. We all start with different positions and may need to finish at other times. 


You might have heard of it in terms of personal finances (David Bach) 

I’ve adopted the idea into my life. That means that whenever possible ( I try to make it every day, but I’m happy with 70% of the time), I take the first hour of my day (after all other necessary stuff is done: feeding the family and getting them out the door) and invest it in my well-being. 

You can think of it as a power morning routine, Miracle Morning, or whatever you like to call it. I just realized that if I wait for later with this, there’s either no time or energy left for it until everything else is done. 

So I moved it to the top of my list now. For me, it’s simply making my habits: meditation, some form of movement/exercise, and whatever is currently on my habit list. 

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