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What is Overwhelm?

With modern human life getting more and more complex, the state of overwhelm is very common for many different walks of life.

From family commitments, ongoing and increasing work demand with unrealistic workloads and under-staffing, financial costs rising and bills increasing, endless health demands, the push of all the things we ‘should be doing’ and ‘shouldn’t be doing’ and endless means of stimulation such as coffee, sugar and entertainment to keep it all going can make it a very easy trap to get swept up by the state of overwhelm if we don’t have the tools and support in place.

As humans we tend to live in a way as if we never have to ‘stop’ and you can easily see this way of life when you open up any social media app such as Tik Tok or Instagram, putting us in a constant motion of scrolling is quite symbolic of how life can be.

The state of overwhelm does not just turn up overnight and then knocks on your door, it is usually a point that we reach after we have been through a process of built-up moments that we have ignored for many reasons, that notify us that we are heading into overwhelm.

Signs and Symptoms of Overwhelm

- Being more emotional than usual

- Feeling overwhelmed or on edge

- Trouble keeping track of things or remembering

- Trouble making decisions, solving problems, concentrating, getting your work done

- Wanting to ‘quit’ life or other responsibilities

- Using alcohol or drugs to relieve your emotional stress.

There are many tools in life that we can access to get support, but most of the time stopping is what is required so we can clear our head and have some space to feel what is actually important and what is not.

With life never stopping, how can we stop, and how can we prioritise?

4 Tips for managing Overwhelm

  1. Take a breath and stop – this can sometimes be challenging as previously mentioned life does not stop as the responsibilities and things we need to attend to don’t just go away. But this does not mean that we can’t, even if it is for a moment to recollect ourselves to be re-connected once again to the body. This can be really settling especially when something has reached its quota of intensity.

  2. Create a priority list and set boundaries – creating a priority list can be a huge support as it allows us to again see what our energy is going into and if it is actually supporting us or holding us back. The same goes with setting boundaries as this is putting ourselves first without compromising anyone else in the process.

  3. Be gentle with yourself – as we all may have experienced during states of overwhelm it can be easy to want to push all of what we are feeling down, but this can only make the situation worse as it inhibits us from feeling what we truly need and that is usually to check in with the body and gentle with ourselves

  4. Reach out for support – during states of overwhelm it can be easy to want to shut off from the world to do it on our own, which only creates more tension. Also, scientific studies show that humans actually live and thrive from the support of others, and this can be through calling a friend, speaking with someone you trust, or with a professional.

If you would like to book in a session with one of our counsellors to discuss treatment of anxiety symptoms you can book online using the button below. You can also access some free government helplines for immediate support over on our resources page

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