Mind (mental health & positivity)

How to Find Balance (when you feel overwhelmed)

REAL TALK TIME: I had an entirely different post planned for this week. It was all about positivity. It was happy go lucky and woo woo life is great. But ya know, sometimes life just comes at ya fast and knocks you straight on your ass. None of that “it knocked me off my feet” romanticized feeling of change. I’m talking a swift kick to the hiney kind of change.

There’s been a lot of change happening in my life lately (most of which is solidly in that tbd stage on whether or not it’s good). And if isn’t already changing, it’s on my list of things that I want to change (like can we talk about the roach infestation in my apartment right now because NO!).

And change can be scary. Especially when it comes all at once, and you’re not expecting it. And if you’re anything like me, this is when I get overwhelmed as hell.

Because you see, I’m a “do it all 100% or not at all person”. I’m either totally on, let’s do the damn thing, or I’m “turn off all the lights don’t talk to me, I’ll be here in bed for the foreseeable future”. And there is very little in between.

I struggle to find balance. And when I’m overwhelmed, the scales are solidly tipping one way or the other.

And that’s something I wanted to conquer with this list.

18 Ways to Find Balance When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

How to Find Balance

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So here’s how this will work. You’ll notice a lot of opposing ideas on here. That’s because your scale might tip differently than mine. And you might find balance by focusing on the exact opposite of what I would need to focus on.

So for each pair, determine which side you lean more towards. None of the these options are inherently bad. So no harm no foul if you lean way, way far over to one side.

Then, figure out some ways to help yourself lean a little bit towards the other side. It doesn’t have to be an entire habit overhaul. Just come up with a few ways to tip the scale slightly in the other direction (& don’t worry! I provide some suggestions too. A girl can’t leave the fam hanging!). Because even if you don’t achieve perfect balance, you’re still moving in the right direction.

So without further ado…

Control vs. Release

1.Control what you can

For me, that overwhelming feeling usually kicks in when I feel like my life is out of my control. I am 100% a type-A person. If I could control everything – even down to that day’s temperature – you bet your bottom dollar that I’d do it. But I can’t (& honestly I probably shouldn’t). But there are some things that you can always control:

    1. Your attitude
    2. Your mindset
    3. Your coping mechanisms

 Focusing on these things will help bring you from 100 to 0 in no time.

2. Release what you can’t

Sometimes  stressful things are going to happen no matter what you do. And the best solution is just to accept it, let it go, and move on.

Struggle with this? (Girl me too). Try this:

    1. Get it out. A lot of times I can’t let something go because I haven’t let it out. Talk it, write it, sing it, or scream it out.
    2. Meditate. Breathe in slowly and imagine that you are grabbing all of the negative thoughts, situations, experiences that you can’t change into the middle of your body. As you breathe out, imagine the breath is forcing them out and away from you.
    3. Find a mantra. One of my favs is “I am strong, smart, confident, capable, and calm. I can’t change this, but I can sure as hell conquer it.” Rinse and repeat.
Repeat after me: I can’t change this, but I can sure as hell conquer it. Click To Tweet

Slow vs. Fast

3. Slow down

Sometimes we cope by going going going nonstop. It’s like if we just keep moving, we won’t have time to feel all the feels. I get it, trust. But we can literally overwhelm ourselves by doing this. So take a moment to slow down. Take a day off. Go for a walk midday. Or even just put everything down (yes even your phone), close your eyes, and take a breath.

4. Speed up

If you tend to cope by totally shutting down (I’ve been there), then you’ve got to find some things to help you get your momentum back up. I like to make a list of things that I can do pretty easily. Seriously. Jam pack that list with each small step (sit up, put feet on floor, walk to bathroom) and check off each item. It’s small, but we all love checking things off our to do list so you’ll feel accomplished.

 

Love vs. Hate

5. Do something you love

It’s easy to get stuck when you feel unbalanced. Sometimes you just need to do something you love to help shake up the scale. Choose something that energizes and refreshes you so you can use all that good juju to keep moving forward.

6. Do something you hate

I know, I know. This one sounds counter-intuitive. But here’s why I say it: when I get overwhelmed, I tend to avoid 1) whatever is making me nervous or 2) the things that I hate to do. So that means that I’m not actually tackling the overwhelming feelings…and that the dishes don’t get done. Lose lose for Asha. So pick one thing you hate to do, and just do it. It’ll suck (I’m not going to pretend it won’t), but it might not suck as much as you were thinking.

 

Reach Out AND Reach Out

7. Reach out to the sisterhood

This one’s pretty simple. Reach out to someone. Ask them to hang out. Let them distract you, chat with you, love you, laugh with you. Let them help you.

8. Reach out to the sisterhood

Nope this isn’t a typo. It’s on the list twice because it’s so important AND because it’s still important to reach out even if it’s to ask them to give you some space. Let them know that you’re struggling, and tell them to give you some time. Yeah, everybody needs somebody. But you don’t need them all the time.

(Don’t have a supportive sisterhood? Girl reach out to me. I’ll start one with ya.)

 

Routine vs. Switch it Up

9. Get in a routine

Feel like everything is in a tailspin? Grab onto the things that you can, and make a routine. Even on my craziest days, I try not to steer too far away from my morning and night time routines. Amidst all the chaos, it gives me something to feel in control over which helps me keep my sanity.

Check out Dee from Morning Coffee with Dee and Amanda at The Light Owl for some inspo on how to start good routine.

10. Do something different

Sometimes you gotta jolt yourself out of the overwhelming feelings. Do something random, that you wouldn’t normally do. Try a different spot for lunch. Drive a different route to work. Brush your teeth after you eat instead of before. Change doesn’t have to be huge. It just has to be different.

Change doesn’t have to be huge. It just has to be different. Click To Tweet

Plan vs. Flow

11. Make a plan

Remember how I said I was a type A person. Yeah. It’s pretty evident when you look at my calendar. I plan out everything down to the minute. And it’s organized by category. And then color coded. It might sound crazy, but it keeps me sane y’all. You don’t have to go as detailed as I do, but doing some planning will help decrease those feelings of drowning.

12. Be ok with the unexpected

Even the best laid plans fall apart. And that’s ok! Remember how earlier I said that sometimes you just have to release what you can’t control? That applies here too. It’s hard when you’re already overwhelmed and something else pops up. But just take it with stride and remember that this is just one more way for you to prove that you’re a badass.

Fight vs. Flight

13. Escape

Look. Sometimes you just need to run away from your problems for a while. The key is to remember to come back at some point. So pop in your headphones and get engrossed in a podcast. Read a book and fall into someone else’s story for a while. Take a moment to forget your own life, and then come back ready to kick it’s ass.

It's ok to run away from your problems. Just remember to come back at some point. Click To Tweet

14. Be present

Alternatively, don’t go into lala land, pitch a tent, and start to call it home. Daydreaming and escaping your problems are good and all, but you still need to find some time to take action. So try to be present in the moment. Feel the feels, fight through them, and then conquer. This is a great step to pair with some others (i.e. be present + make a plan. Or be present + reach out)

Power Through vs. Power Down

15. Just do the damn thing

Sometimes you don’t need to think. You just need to do. There’s definitely a time and a place to just barrel through the anxiety (you ever had a huge project that you left until the 11th hour? No, just me? K cool.), and sometimes it’s just a matter of stepping up and getting it done.

16. Take a break

Listen to yourself, girl. If you need a break, take a break! Don’t burn yourself out just because there’s a lot going on. Sometimes taking that step back will allow you to re-enter the situation with more clarity.

Related // (The Ultimate Treat Yourself Day)

 

Automate vs. Delegate

17. Automate

My boyfriend is the biggest proponent of automating that I’ve ever met. Homeboy has made a name for himself at his job by figuring out a way to put everything on autopilot. And he’s really started to inspire me to do the same, especially during those weeks that I have a lot going on. Put your bills on autodraft so you don’t have to worry about them. Order your food through Instacart and have it delivered to your house so you can save time and energy. Use my code ASHAT23 to get $10 off your order, and you’ll save money too!

You can even automatically order new clothes for yourself by using Stitch Fix. Take their style quiz, put in your sizes and preferences, decide how often you want your box, and a personal stylist will pick out 5 pieces for you. Keep and pay for what you want, send back what you don’t, and BOOM, you’re killing it and you didn’t even have to go to the mall. (Use my referral link to try it out for yourself!)

The more you can get things in your life on autopilot, the more you can focus on what it is that’s overwhelming you.

18. Delegate

When your plate is overflowing and you realistically have enough on your to do list that you need to have two plates, it might be time to delegate. How do you know when you’ve reached this point? Well for me it’s when my to-do list starts to flow over into 2 pages, or when my inbox gets over 100 emails. That’s usually a sign to myself that I need to ask for help.

This doesn’t have to mean passing off the whole kit and kaboodle to someone else. But it does mean seeking the help of someone that might have expertise that you don’t. So let’s say you need to bring a side dish to your work’s potluck but you have no earthly idea where to start. Ask a friend who likes to cook to recommend an easy recipe. You connected with someone, asked for help, and saved some time trying to hunt for recipes yourself!

Thanks for reading, friend! And let me know down below what’s been stressing you recently and how you’re working to find balance.

Loved this post? Then check out these next:

How to Find Balance and Conquer Overwhelm

 

 

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  • Krista Iverson Moore

    Thanks so much for this article! The title just jumped out at me on Pinterest and the article pulled me right in. I have been struggling with this stuff for a long time, and I tend to just hibernate and ignore the stress. I am going to use these opposites to get some balance. I just started daily planning and bullet journaling, and I think it will work great to choose which side of the equation I plan to concentrate on each day! Definitely following your blog for more!

    • Krista that makes me so happy to hear the it called to you! Sometimes we get just what we need at the right moment, and I’m glad this post found you right when you needed it most!

      I’m also a hibernate and ignore kind of person, and sometimes it can be hard to pull myself out of that. But I love the idea of using your journal and planner to help you find a focus. On the weeks I need it most, I write a word or manifestation at the top of my planner page to help me stay focused. It’s a great idea to choose one of the side of the balance scale as your reminder!

      Let me know how it goes implementing some of the techniques!

  • I absolutely love all these tips and I LOVE that you put the opposites side by side. Even when you know how to get through hard times, you still need posts like this to reinforce it and keep motivated. Thank you!

  • I am struggling so hard with overwhelm, like, every minute of every day. I’m back to school after a few years of working, and I want to 100% my schoolwork. But, I need moneys, so I have two jobs, which I also want to 100%. Last year, I was getting married, so I wanted to 100% my wedding. THAT was the most stressful time in my life – working, going to school, and doing the wedding thing. I gained weight and lost my hair. Seriously!

    Now, I’m married but still working those jobs and going to school, workin’ the side hustle, taking care of sick family members, trying to find time to be a wife and actually do the dishes instead of letting them pile up, etc. etc. etc.

    I have so many days where I just shut down and literally can’t even.

    Even now as I’m procrastinating from homework, reading this helped me immensely. Seriously. I needed to hear every single one of these things, and I’m going to keep coming back to them.

    THANK YOU <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    • I’m SO glad that this gave your some distraction/comfort/motivation! I totally feel you on wanting to do each thing in your life 100%. I do the same with work, relationships, blogging, chores, on and on and on.

      What’s helped me is to think of my life as being 100%, not each individual thing. And each week, I assess where my percentages need to be. One week at work might be crazy, and I need to give 50% of myself to that. So then maybe I only give 25% to side hustles, 10% to cleaning, and 10% to relationships and 5% to self-care.

      But then the next week maybe I’ve got a huge blogging project, so the percentages have to adjust! And if there’s a week where I can’t fit in something, I give myself some grace and know that at the end of the month, it will usually balance itself out. 🙂

  • Kendra Wilson

    These are very great tips. As a mom, Full-time worker and part-time blogger, Life definitely gets overwhelming at times. I have goals that I want to hit now and be able to do the things I want to do right now, but I can’t because it’s going to take time to reach these goals so I’m working on being patient and sticking to the plan to get me where I need to be! Love the idea of Power Through vs. Power Down. This is something I’m working on creating a healthy balance with.

    • I feel you on being busy busy busy! It’s really hard to juggle it all sometimes! But it’s amazing that you have found the ability to be patient. I find myself wanting it all, right this very moment. But sometimes staying the course and going slow and steady really does lead to a much better outcome. It gives you the time to access each step and choice and really be conscious with your actions.

      And it’s ok that you are still working on it! That’s life friend! If we weren’t still working, then we wouldn’t be growing 🙂

  • I like to think about that movie “What about Bob?” and take baby steps when I am feeling overwhelmed haha. It’s funny but it actually helps slow things down!

  • Maya Maceka

    Yes. Yes. YES! The truth is, everyone deals with feeling overwhelmed differently. While some people need to take a break, others need to keep busy. But honestly, I love that you mentioned “reaching out” twice. Because I think it’s SO important to surround yourself with people who you can vent to. Asha, you hit the nail right on the head. Great stuff!

    • So glad that you liked it! I definitely wanted to play to both sides because everyone is so different, and so is every situation! Some weeks I need to just chill, and other weeks I need to plan and keep pressing forward. Having options in my arsenal has been a life saver!