7 Ways To Manage Anxiety Overwhelm

Imagine this.

You start doing chores around your house, maybe vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen or doing laundry. Then, you remember items for your job or your life that need more immediate attention. You have a few more days to do those specific things so you keep putting them off. When it comes time to actually get things done it seems that everything in life is piling up. The lists keep getting longer, nothing gets done, the dishes are piling up, and you can’t finish a single task because your body is so overwhelmed with anxiety that you freeze up.

Sound familiar?

DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am not a medical professional, counselor, therapist, psychologist, or any of the like there of. I am not licensed to give professional advice in terms of mental health disorders & medical advice. All statements below are my own personal experiences and personal advice. I am not liable for any outcomes or decisions made based off of this writing or other articles written by myself on this website. Please see a licensed medical professional for mental health advice and/or counseling.

This can be a “normal” situation, but for those of us that have been clinically diagnosed with a mental health disorder this can be our normal on the daily. And it’s a very hard loop to work your way out of.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, I have experienced this a few too many times and have learned some healthy skills to help manage this. I am no stranger to anxiety and the overwhelm that can surround it and I have found these things o help slow that spiral of overwhelm and aid me in accomplishing what actually needs to be done.

Below I am sharing seven tips on how to effectively deal with that crazy overwhelm!

  1. Stop what you are doing immediately.
    • Yep. Stop. Find a space that is somewhat calm and practice some box breathing, or deep breathing. You can find lots of guided breathing techniques on YouTube.
  2. Practice breathing techniques BEFORE you reach the “overwhelmed” state
    • You might be thinking, “Erin, I breathe all day long. How will that actually help?” Well, slowing your breathing down can help lower your heart rate. Lowering your heart rate in a stressed state means less physical symptoms. As well as stretching and yoga (along with breathing) can help relax those tense muscles.
    • This takes PRACTICE. This is not a let me breathe for 2 minutes and everything is cured. You have to practice this in order for it to actually work.
  3. Focus on ONE thing/task and ONLY that task
    • I know that this is easier said than done, trust me. But, when you stop and focus on small tasks that are one at a time, say bringing in the mail, emptying the garbage, ordering that item online, your brain is recognizing a hit of dopamine. Dopamine is usually called “the reward chemical” because you get a “hit” of dopamine when you accomplish something (even small tasks).
  4. Do what actually needs to be done.
    • I know when you are overwhelmed any task can seem daunting. But say there are two items that need to absolutely be done today. Guess what? Do them. Because once they are done you have one less thing to stress about.
  5. Use the “Rule Of Three”
    • This is my “signature” technique that I came up with and I’m pretty proud of it! It more so has to do with cleaning. I usually find when life/work things are piling up so are the cleaning tasks in my house.
    • Put three things away right now. OR do 3 very small tasks right in a row. Doesn’t matter what they are, what order they are in, or if they make sense, count one, two, three and then start over. You will notice that in a short time things seem cleaner and much less over whelming!
      • Put away shoes on the stairs, blanket on the couch, and a jacket on the chair.
      • Wipe down the table, unload the dishwasher, switch a load of laundry.
      • Pick up three items that are on the table and put them away. 34 items on there? That’s okay, take 3 at a time and break it down.
      • Send that email, pay the credit card bill, and empty the trash.
    • This is all about completing small tasks that help lessen the load of that overwhelm!
  6. Overwhelming thoughts? Use the “Thought Stop” method!
    • This is one of the harder ones to do but physical tasks are done once their done, right? But your thoughts can be a freight train with not breaks.
    • Put your hand up and mentally say “STOP”. Take a deep breath, one thought at a time, and maybe grab a pen and write them down.
    • This also takes practice but the mental “STOP” when putting your hand up can be a good reminder to slow that freight train of thoughts!
  7. Get outside and go for a walk!
    • Nature and sunshine can do wonders for your mental health!
    • Get outside and walk around the block. This can help freshen your perspective, the exercise can help release the excess cortisol (stress hormone) in your body, and maybe you can plan out your task list while walking.
    • Seriously it’s like a win-win situation, try it!

Feel even more overwhelmed by the options listed above? That’s okay! This takes practice. Pick one and try it out!

Check out the Instagram post I did on “Thought Stopping” awhile back.

What are some of your best practices in helping manage that anxiety overwhelm?

Thanks for reading!

~Erin, The Short Wife

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