Mental Health
10 Self Care Ideas When You're Feeling Overwhelmed

10 Self Care Ideas When You're Feeling Overwhelmed

4 min read


Lauren Carlson

Self-care is often viewed as a luxury or an indulgence, but it is actually a necessity, especially when we feel overwhelmed.

Being overwhelmed is a feeling of being completely overcome or overpowered by a situation, emotion, or task. It is characterized by a sense of helplessness, intense pressure, and an inability to cope with the demands placed upon us. Overwhelm can be experienced in various areas of life, such as work, relationships, finances, or health, and can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion.

Symptoms of overwhelm may include difficulty concentrating, feeling irritable or short-tempered, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, and physical symptoms such as headaches or muscle tension.

Feeling overwhelmed can be incredibly draining and can make it hard to stay positive and motivated. However, there are plenty of effective self-care methods that people can use to manage their emotions and break away from the exhaustion of feeling overwhelmed.

Self Care Ideas for Overwhelm

From mindful activities to practicing gratitude, here are 10 self-care ideas that you can use to boost your mood, stay energized and create a positive attitude when it starts to feel like too much. Read on to find the ideas that will work for you!

1. Connect with nature: One of the quickest ways to reduce stress is to spend time in nature. Research shows that time in nature can lower stress hormone levels, heart rate and blood pressure, as well as improve mood, focus and energy levels. So, the next time you're feeling overwhelmed, take a break to go for a walk outdoors, sit in the park or simply spend some time in your backyard.

2. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is all about paying attention to the present moment and letting go of stress and worry about the past or future. To practice mindfulness, try focusing on your breath and the sensations in your body. You can also try a guided meditation or mindfulness exercise, such as a body scan or sensory awareness.

3. Get active: Exercise is a great way to release tension, improve mood and increase energy levels. It releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting properties, and can also help to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Exercise can also help to focus your mind and improve concentration. When you're feeling overwhelmed, try to get active for at least 30 minutes a day as a way to get out of your head and focus on something else. Some activities can include going for a run, heading to the gym or trying a yoga class.

4. Connect with loved ones: Spending time with loved ones can help reduce stress and promote positive emotions. Whether you stay in touch virtually or in person, spending time with people who make you feel good can help you feel more relaxed and upbeat. So, reach out to a friend, family member or significant other when you're feeling overwhelmed and in need of some support.

5. Make time for yourself: Spending time alone can provide an opportunity for self-reflection and introspection. This can help individuals gain a better understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, leading to increased self-awareness and self-understanding. It's important to schedule some time for yourself each day to do something that you enjoy. This can help you relax, recharge and feel more positive. Whether you read, take a bath, listen to music or take a yoga class, make sure to schedule some time for yourself every day.

6. Eat healthy: Eating a nutritious diet is important for both your physical and mental health. A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can provide the body with essential nutrients, promote a healthy gut microbiome, regulate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and maintain a healthy weight, all of which can support optimal mental health. If possible, try to avoid sugary and processed foods, which can make you feel worse.

7. Prioritize sleep: Sleep is the body's natural way of repairing and restoring itself. During sleep, the brain consolidates memories, processes emotions, and restores energy levels, which is crucial for maintaining optimal mental health. It is recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support optimal mental and physical health.

8. Practice gratitude: One way to shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive ones is to practice gratitude. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to think about and/or write down things that you’re grateful for. You can also try to express gratitude to people in your life, such as friends, family members, co-workers or your partner.

9. Take breaks: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to take regular breaks throughout the day. Taking breaks can help reduce stress levels by providing an opportunity to rest, relax, and recharge. This can help prevent burnout, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and increase resilience to stressors. During the work day, it can be beneficial to step away from your desk every few hours to take a walk, get some fresh air or simply take a few deep breaths. Taking breaks can also help improve mood by providing an opportunity to engage in enjoyable activities, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones.

10. Seek professional help: If you’re feeling overwhelmed on a regular basis, it may be helpful to seek professional help.  A therapist can help you to identify and manage your stressors, as well as teach you coping and relaxation techniques. MyWellbeing offers personalized mental health solutions and can help connect you to a practitioner that aligns with your needs and goals.

Why is Self Care Important?

Self-care is essential, especially when we're feeling overwhelmed. By taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally, we're better able to manage stress and improve our overall well being.

When we're overwhelmed, it's easy to focus solely on the tasks at hand and forget about taking care of ourselves. We may skip meals, neglect exercise, and forget to take breaks. However, neglecting self-care can actually make us less productive and more prone to making mistakes. By investing even a small amount of time self-care each day, it can pay off in big ways.

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About the author

Lauren is a member of the content team at MyWellbeing. She originally began her career in Client Services within the field of Advertising Technology. Recently, she transitioned career paths to pursue her passion for helping others. In December 2022, Lauren graduated with a Master’s degree in School Counseling and is primarily focused on working with middle school and high school students.

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