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How do you turn things around when you feel like you're overwhelmed and have too much on your plate?

19 Answers
Last Updated: 04/26/2021 at 9:16pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Top Rated Answers
March 29th, 2015 11:12pm
Whenever I can't handle my own thoughts, I make a list. I write down all the things I would like to do something about on a piece of paper; then, I cross out all the things I can do nothing about. I classify the remaining items by priority. I like adding stars, or hearts or smiley faces or something like that, from 1 to 3 (1 for secondary, 2 for somewhat important and 3 for very important). Then I just go thinking about what I can do about them and write that down too. It is important, when doing that, to stay within reason and not put too much on your plate, and also accept that we can't always do all the things we want to do.
March 2nd, 2015 8:29pm
I think for me there are two pieces to this question. The first half is how do I deal with too much on my plate in the short term and get through it. For that, the first step is to make a to do list and break it down into really small, manageable pieces. Rather than 'write 10 page paper' or 'complete work project', I will look at chunks that can be done in an hour or less if possible. 'Get research materials', 'create an outline', 'write intro paragraph', etc. It's much easier for me to feel like I'm getting things done if I can consistently see myself checking things off my list. The other in the moment thing I do is set a schedule and figure out how the different tasks fit into my day (e.g., I will get my research materials and make and outline before my first meeting; I'll write the introduction right after lunch but before my afternoon class; I'll go to the gym between class and dinner, etc.) The second part of the question to me is how to deal with generally having too much on your plate and how to decrease that amount on an ongoing basis. For that, I sit down and think through which of my responsibilities are most important to me, which will impact others if I drop, and which are lower priority or have other people who might be able to take them. I naturally have a really hard time saying no to things, but when I am able to, I feel much better and often find that other people are willing to step up and take on more responsibility.
April 8th, 2015 6:48pm
4-7-8 breathing technique (breath in for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, let go for 8, done 4 times total), playing some video games while listening to some angry music and then picking the easiest thing to do and doing it.
June 29th, 2015 3:35am
When I feel too overwhelmed and have too much on my plate, I often find that the best thing to do is first, breathe. Then I write down all that is bothering me (or that needs to be done) and I pick one thing, even a small thing and I do it. Slowly but surely, I get headed in the right direction.
January 5th, 2016 10:50am
I think a good place to start is by making a list of what exactly is causing you to feel overwhelmed. Then, figure out what your priorities are, and what you can let go.
January 30th, 2018 1:07am
most of the time it is a temporary thing, I try to sleep it off. a lot of rest can help you very well but sometimes even that won't be helping you, when you have urgent problems you will have to come with a solution. try to talk to someone to see if the solution you've come up with is a good one, lets be honest not all solutions fit every problem, we can't make a puzzle piece fit in the wrong puzzle.
March 1st, 2021 3:05pm
When we get caught up in the whirlwind of the emotions it becomes impossible to look at things objectively so its best to take a step back to calm down and try and observe the situation rationally and think it through and even sleep on the decision we make as the next day will bring more clarity with it. And then we might see or notice some important piece/info earlier. Now with our heads a little clearer we are in a better mindset to make a logical and well-thought decision. Having too much on our plates is surely overwhelming but we can deal with things a little at a time so as not to rush our decisions. Also the accumulated anxiety of it all hinders our decision so as we deal with things one at a time our anxiety will also reduce with it.
March 15th, 2015 3:49am
Try to focus on your coping mechanisms maybe such things as taking deep breaths,drinking water and try to think positive thoughts .
April 2nd, 2015 8:51pm
I hear that you are wanting a positive change in your life. Can you tell me what is on your plate and what it is that is overwhelming you at the moment?
August 4th, 2015 7:19am
If a situation has you feeling overwhelmed due to having too much on your plate, its time to prioritize those things in your life. You could make a list of pros and cons of each of those things or seek counseling or therapy to help you get your mind on track. You could also seek a life coach if available in your area to help you organize the things in your life if you feel you are to overwhelmed to do so yourself.
September 1st, 2015 4:40pm
One thing at a time. The first step is having the willingness to make a change. Often, we will feel overwhelmed but we won't do anything about it. If there's a desire to change, that's the first step. Then, we can reassess our plate, and edit our priorities. I always tend to prioritize self-care in these situations!
November 16th, 2015 6:26pm
Take a minute to breathe. It's important that you find yourself again, so just stop for a minute and just breathe. Next, you could make a list. Write down everything that you have to do. Include times and dates and days etc. Organise it so that's in order - order of importance, chronological order, order of how long it takes - it's up to you. When you're finished, put your list somewhere safe - on your bedroom wall, on your phone, inside your planner - somewhere you'll see it and let it remind you of the jobs you have to do each day Organising your activities and your work load will help you to schedule your life and create a bit of order in amongst the chaos. Good luck
February 2nd, 2016 1:44pm
Take one thing at a time- make a to do list and work your way through them. It is clearer to see what you have to do and you will feel better once you are able to tick things off the list. Also, try talking to a friend or family member if there is anything they can help with.
February 8th, 2016 3:39pm
I tend to plan. I like to make to do lists and schedule blocks of time where I can focus on certain tasks.
June 20th, 2016 12:30am
First of all I take a break from work, to clear my head. Next I seggregate the activities in two piles according to their priority- Urgent and can be dealt with later. Then I look at the important ones first and I try to solve or work on one thing at a time. This way I keep striking off things on my list, till I reach the last thing on the list.
July 10th, 2016 8:57am
If you feel like there is so much on your late, you might consider dropping something that isn't important. You prioritize. You figure out what is important. Do the important stuff first. If you do what is important, you can stop feeling worried and overwhelmed because everything will be done.
March 14th, 2017 6:39am
Different coping mechanisms can be used for different people. I have found it helps to prioritize based on due date and order of importance. It helps me to jump right into things and reach out for support when necessary, It's okay to drop some things (hobbies, extracurriculars, etc.) if it becomes too much!
May 28th, 2018 12:18am
Chunk it down. Don’t look at the whole look at it’s parts and tackle one piece at a time. Most success is built little by little over time.
April 26th, 2021 9:16pm
Thank you for reaching out! From personal experience when I am overwhelmed I try to take a step back and relax. Evaluation of what is stressing you out and thinking about if something is really worth worrying about is something to ask yourself. When things get too much overwhelming, taking a few deep breaths to clear your mind and rationally think what the best way of going about the situation is can be a great way to reflect and process what you are going through. Taking one thing at a time, like a step by step process is very important in helping ease any tension. When we see a clearer picture of what is outstanding and needs to be done we can feel less overwhelmed in general. Making lists of what needs to be done from most important to least important is always helpful. Also having a clear, organized space to work is important to focus and have a clear mind. Talking through with someone or just writing out your feelings is so helpful too. Ask yourself whether people helping you out with certain tasks would make you feel less overwhelmed with what need to be done? Sometimes we can give too much of ourselves and we can say it’s alright I will do it. Do reflect on this too. You are welcome to reach out to one of our amazing listeners and therapists on our site to further explore your thoughts and feelings. You can get through this. It all starts with how you manage your work.