Here are 10 key signs of overwhelm and being on the verge of burn out and our tips on some ways to try and minimise the negative effects of feeling overwhelmed during difficult times.
Being self aware and able to self diagnose is super important to ensure you don’t get burned out – even if you’re doing what you love. Everything becoming too much can easily creep up on us, especially during 2020 and it is ok to admit you’re overwhelmed by life. This year has been particularly difficult for us all with national lockdowns and other big shift changes that cause uncertainty and a chaotic feeling that runs through most areas of our lives.
Let’s get stuck into the ten different ways you can experience feeling overwhelmed and being on the verge of burnout and some ideas to try that may help you feel a little more at ease.
1. You have difficulty sleeping or you’re sleeping too much.
- Find a night time routine that works for you and stick to it. This can include wind-down time, dimmed lights, a relaxing bath, reading your favourite book and preferably some no-screen time before bed.
- Wake up at the same time every day. This gets your circadian rhythm into well…a rhythm.
- Sounds obvious but…go to bed when you feel tired! If you wake up at the same time each day, your body will tell you when it’s ready for sleep. Don’t fight it by staying up to watch one more show on Netflix. Go to bed.
- Practice relaxation techniques before bed such as Yoga, Meditation and listen to soft instrumental music. Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, just five minutes can help.
- Avoid caffeine after lunch.
- Fall asleep to a scent that helps relaxation such as lavender. Pillow sprays such as this one work very well for this.
2. You are always tired, no matter how much sleep you get.
- All tips from no.1 apply well with this one – make sure first your sleeping schedule is on point.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet – be sure to focus on whether you are eating a lot of sugary food or refined carbs, they play havoc with your energy levels throughout the day.
- Being overwhelmed can feel exhausting. Give yourself a break and listen to your body – if you need more time to rest and take it a little easier, perhaps you should take that time.
- Exercise – give yourself an easy goal, pick something you love to do. That might be Yoga, walking or a home workout. Aim for 10,000 steps per day if you love walking. Walking alone can be wonderful meditative time too.
- Check out your iron levels and other vitamin deficiencies. It may be worth getting hold of a blood test to be sure but a general multivitamin will not harm you. Be sure to pick a premium high quality vitamin supplement.
3. You lack energy.
- Most of no.1 and no.2 applies for this too. If you’ve eliminated many of those and are working on them then be sure to focus on your sleep as a priority.
- Is it energy or motivation? Motivation comes and goes in us all. Rather than driving yourself hard and pushing more towards burnout, be honest with yourself. Have you worked a lot recently? Are you pushing too hard? If so, take a break.
- Feeling overwhelmed for most of the day and perhaps anxious is hard work! Don’t be hard on yourself, take ten minutes just to breathe and close your eyes.
- Listen to your body – if you need time off to chill out and recuperate, take it. This time off must be zoned-out, minimal technology and phones!
- The less you do = the less you want to do. If you’ve had a little talk to yourself in the mirror and you feel that it’s just pure motivation, you need to dig deep and find it. The sooner you get going on your goals, the more quickly you can get out of a rut and back to where you want to be in life.
- Find something that inspires you. That might be a book, YouTube video or reading a blog. Make notes, plans and some small goals that are easily achievable. It’ll be like a snowball effect once you get started.
4. You are highly strung and feeling anxious.
- Take a little walk to get a break from whatever you’re working on right now. Get out of that loop, especially if you’re feeling that overwhelmed feeling creep up on you.
- Journal – write all your thoughts immediately down on paper or on a ‘blank sheet’ online – see this cool writer that’s perfect for online journaling – Calmly Writer.
- Anxiety is usually related to living in the past or the future – going over what’s happened before or worrying about what’s to come. Focus on right now as living in the present is the only way to fully address anxiety. This one is definitely a process but worth working on.
- Limit and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Even if you’re very stretched for time, make time for exercise and get your body moving.
5. You have a loss of appetite or are overeating.
- Try establishing an eating routine and eat set meals and certain times of the day. If you over-eat, try and avoid snacks or choose healthy ones. If you’re undereating, be sure to stick to those meal times.
- Plan your meals properly and plan ahead. Preparing your meals in advance can really help.
- With a loss of appetite – pick your favourite foods and small snacks and just nibble on them through the day.
- Eat healthy as much as you can. When you’re stressed it’s difficult but if you try and stick with meals that provide more protein and healthy fats rather than too many refined carbs, this will really help your mood.
- Be sure to exercise. If you’ve not eaten a lot – don’t overdo it, just do some gentle walking. However, if you’re overeating, get working! It’ll help your mind and your body.
6. You’re having difficulty focusing.
- Break down big projects into smaller tasks.
- Make to-do lists with small wins to help you achieve small steps towards your goals.
- Establish a plan of action and try and stick to it so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by your work.
- Take regular breaks to refuel both mentally and physically.
7. You’re keeping to yourself more.
- It’s okay to want to be alone. If you feel you need space take it. Don’t make yourself guilty or beat yourself up about needing some me-time.
- Take time when you’re alone to improve your wellbeing and do some things you enjoy such as reading a book, taking a bath, watching a movie or applying a face mask.
- Try and reach out to someone you trust, if you feel it will help. Small steps can help you move from being alone if you’re starting to feel isolated.
8. You are moody and emotional.
- It’s completely normal to feel very emotional when you’re overwhelmed. Accept this fact and learn that you can impact your mood by your surroundings, the people you interact with and what you spend your time doing.
- Spend less time on social media. Comparing the reality of your life with the fake-realities of others online will do your emotional state no good.
- Let others know that is how you feel so they are aware and can act accordingly. Keeping others out of the loop of your feelings can mean you may lash out or hurt others which in turn can make you feel worse.
- It’s ok to have a good cry! Sometimes it helps to let your emotions out. Just be sure to give yourself the time to do so and the time to recover and practice some self-care.
- If you need help – take it. There is no shame in sharing if you feel a little out of control with your emotions. You are never alone and a lot more people understand than you think.
9. You feel pessimistic and negative about most situations.
- Practice a little gratitude. Journaling is the best way to do this. If you can list three things each morning that you are grateful for, you’ll begin looking for them in your daily life, every day. Try this Five Minute Journal to help you.
- Realising that feeling bad is a phase. It is always a progression onto better things. Out of difficult times comes growth.
- Watch some funny YouTube videos or a comedy show. Without sounding a little cheesy, laughing does really help.
- Take a break. Take a vacation, even if it is simply some time off away from your work. As much as possible, un-plug from social media and do things with your family, friends or practice some self-care to get back on track.
- Change something – get to the root cause of your feelings. Is it your job? Your relationship? If something is niggling you, share it with a trusted friend or seek counselling to work through these issues.
10. You’re forgetful.
- Keep yourself mentally active with activities you enjoy. These could be crosswords, puzzles, or even just learning something new.
- Accept this is how you can be sometimes! Don’t give yourself such a hard time.
- Take the opportunity to become more organised. Buy a diary and some notepads. Organise your day, week and month and be sure to give yourself prompts and to-do lists.
- Set reminders on your phone, even for small things.
- Try limit your distractions at work or when you’re focusing. Don’t chat too much while trying to work and put your phone onto Do Not Disturb mode while you’re trying to do deep work or undertaking something that is important to you.
Our guides are not a substitute for medical help by a qualified professional. You should always consult your doctor if you are feeling consistently unwell.