For when you feel overwhelmed

I hear from readers every day who thank me for what I write. They are overwhelmed, they are depressed. They need a word of encouragement, they need to know they are not alone.

Many of us feel overwhelmed at times. Sometimes it may be a temporary situation, a crazy busy weekend. Or it may be that you are caring for a chronically ill family member. Maybe you are on bedrest for the remainder of a pregnancy. Maybe your husband left you and you feel alone and overwhelmed.

I hope that something below can give you a little hope and a little direction at this trying time.

5 things to do when you feel overwhelmed

1. Accept that you can’t do it all.  Admit that you put pressure on yourself to TRY to do it all, but you can’t. Look to God, and admit that you are but human, and you can’t do everything. I think that some of my most miserable times are when I am trying to do everything in my own strength instead of looking to God for help, wisdom, and strength.

2. Accept that some things are just not going to get done. It won’t be the end of the world, I promise. Even things that we feel are very important may not get done, and you will find that you can survive, and do.

3. Set up a Triage center for your life. When you go to the emergency room, there is a nurse who will see you, examine your case, and decide how critical and crucial it is that you be taken care of. A heart attack comes before a finger that needs stitching. By applying the principals of triage to your own life, you can figure out which things can be ignored without danger, and those things that must be addressed immediately.

In the same way, consider each and every area of your life. Examine each activity and responsibility and determine its overall importance to your life and your sanity at this point. Decide what level of importance each thing is.

Action step: One way I have done this is with a stack of index cards. On each index card, write a person or group of people in your life, an activity, responsibility, a hobby, a career. Then start putting those cards in order in front of you on the table. Literally, place the most important cards at the top, and add each additional card where it belongs. You will probably have to shift some cards around. You may find that some of those things you thought were so important really aren’t in the big picture. (note- you could also use post-it notes)

4. Learn to practice intentional neglect. In certain seasons of our lives, especially in times of being overwhelmed, it is completely alright to NOT do certain things. Or do things less often than you might normally like to.

Is it really going to matter if you change your sheets every week, or can you go 2, 3 or even 4 weeks? Convenience foods may be your only sanity right now, it is okay to use them. You may need to sweep you floors weekly, but mopping? You and your family will survive.

5. Ask for help. Admit to those around you that you need help. If you have friends or church members ask if you need help, tell them yes and give them something they can do to help.

If you feel that you may actually be depressed, or wonder if you could be, you can find more of my posts on depression here.



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11 comments to For when you feel overwhelmed

  • This is so excellent! No surprise, I pretty much support and adore everything you write and stand for. It is so needed in this demanding society we live in. I needed this as a reminder today. Just got back from a much needed Mom only trip…only to come back to a disaster of a house. Being a Mom with ADD it’s very easy to get overwhelmed, but when I haven’t been around to help maintain order and keep sanity in our home; it’s difficult to know where to start and feel as if everything needs to be done right away. Since I know that is not going to happen (nope, I don’t have magical powers) I just want to shut down and give up. This is such a paralyzing feeling, a hopeless feeling…pretty crummy! So to come here and you give me some hands on things I can do, really helps! Thank you Bernice and Happy Valentines Day!
    Shan@FamilyBringsJoy recently posted..Running DedicationsMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Oh, I remember those days of needing so badly to get away, yet dreading the mess when I returned!
    So glad I could be a help, and I can’t wait to meet you in real life, next week!

  • Oh my goodness!! Your tiing is impecible!! I was sitting here fretting about everything and nothing all at once and your blog arrived in my email. I love the trieage idea and I am implimenting it right now!! Thank you.

    bernicewood Reply:

    You are very welcome Barbara! Glad to be a help…

  • Sound practical advice! I bookmarked this for next week when my husband is away on a mission trip. (just in case) :)
    Rachel Wojnarowski recently posted..His Grace- More Than EnoughMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Hopefully you’ll be prepared for his absence, but you never know what life may throw your way. Good luck!

  • Love the index card idea. Right now I have the top of my desk plastered with post-it notes on things I need to get done. The cards may be more effective.

    Hope your Valentines Day was lovely!

  • Wonderful post!!! I am trying to cope up with too much stress right now and it’s so good that I get to see this. They are practical advises and yet we tend to forget when things get hectic. Thanks for sharing!
    Karen Khaye recently posted..Touching Hearts and LivesMy Profile

  • Hi, Bernice,
    I like that you are suggesting we should intentionally try neglecting some things. I could not agree more on this. But, it is easier to be said than done, especially if you are a perfectionist. That is why we also need practice in it.
    EleonoraEOF recently posted..Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer ReviewMy Profile

  • I can’t tell you how much I needed to read these words today! It’s one of those days where, as much as I love my kids, I can’t wait for bedtime! I have this bookmarked to come back to as needed.
    Heather recently posted..$500 Apple Giftcard Giveaway Ends 3/24My Profile

  • Hi to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this web site,
    and your views are pleasant in favor of new visitors. recently posted..blogspot.comMy Profile