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Overwhelmed & Drowning Like the Rest of Us?

What To Do When You Feel Like You’re Drowning

I don’t even have to ask. I know we’ve all felt like we were drowning at one point in our lives. If you had your shit all tidy and together, you wouldn’t be reading our blog right now. That’s ok. #ItsOkToNotBeOk Being overwhelmed is a natural feeling. It happens to everyone. What you do when you’re overwhelmed can sometimes be the make or break for just how overwhelmed you will feel in the future. If you take care of shit now, and continue to take care of it, the feelings of “too much” won’t happen as often.

Whether you’re overwhelmed with work, school, kids, life, or relationships, this is a good place to start.

Wanting to help everyone, I will assume you’re in over your head drowning while you read this. That way, you have a game plan. If it’s not quite that bad, you can adapt my suggestions and make them work for your scenario. Leave behind the advice that doesn’t fit you, and take what you need right now. You can always come back to these posts and pick through again if you need a revamp.

Stop everything & take self-Care time

Self-care isn’t always about bubble baths and classical music. While that is relaxing, it’s not everyone’s tub of tea. Self-care was abducted by the beauty industry and sold to you in convenient commodity packages that you buy, use up, and buy again. Dolla dolla bills. Except, not everyone who needs self-care wants to be beautiful. Not everyone feels relaxed in a bath. Self-care doesn’t stop at the beauty aisle in the Walmart of life, it goes much beyond that. You can find self-vigilance in almost any aisle if it changes your life. See the thing about it is, you’re not just trying to relax and feel a little better right now. The moment you get out of the sauna and step back to reality, the relaxation vanishes. What if you could make your everyday life a little easier? Wouldn’t that be the epitome of taking care of yourself?

If there’s something that stacks up and swamps you, take care of it! Literally.

  • Open the stack of mail. Shred what you don’t need and file what you do.

  • Get rid of any piles on horizontal surfaces. Consider throwing it away, almost always it’s just clutter that’s not needed. If it must stay, find it a home. If it’s that important, in a pile isn’t the place for it.

  • Take your dog to the dog park (if you have one). You will feel better, and so will they.

  • Clean your goddamn toilet. It’s such a neglected place. Scrub down your sink while you’re at it.

  • Pick one small thing you keep pushing off and make it the thing you get done today.

  • Respond to the assholes you’ve been avoiding. Sometimes it’s not an asshole and it’s your sweet and loving Grandma, but it’s overwhelming and got avoided, so get back to them. Get it out of your mind once and for all.

  • Take that pile to the homeless shelter. Skip the thrift stores, they only want to resell your shit and make money off of it. Click here for a list of homeless shelters near you.

  • Delete your junk mail. This is a favorite of mine when I am feeling low. I start in my inbox and sort things into junk. Not all systems do it, but mine gives me the option to unsubscribe and categorize the sender as junk. Doing this keeps the nastiness out of my inbox in the future. It’s always gratifying to clear out the junk box though. The number in there tells me how long it’s been since I’ve taken care of myself this way.

  • Find a place, or make a system, for the items you always lose. Do your keys make it into the fridge sometimes? Hand a hook by the door or by your nightstand (for a redneck alarm system). Lose that book you need for that one class? Only do your work in one designated area. If you need to take it places, put it back in your bag immediately after using it, no exceptions. You will always know where to find it. Forget to take your birth control pill? (Not just for women anymore) Rubber band that shit to your toothbrush, you won’t forget when brushing your teeth has been cemented in your mind since childhood.

  • When you do relax, fucking relax! Don’t sit there feeling all guilty about how you should be doing things. It defeats the purpose and creates burnout. Let yourself have that peaceful moment so it actually does some good for you.

The most important part of self-vigilance is scheduling it. It doesn’t happen if you don’t take the time to make it happen. Right now you’re throwing your hands up and need to do it immediately, but part of self-care is taking care of future you, so schedule future self-care sessions so you don’t end up like you are now, again.

Brain Dump

Have you ever done a brain dump before? They’re glorious. I will tell you what. They’re not only relieving in the moment but fun to look back on. Make a list of whatever it is keeping you up at night. What bothers you and picks at your skin? Once you’re finished dumping your brains all over your notebook, use the instructions below to finish the Free Brain Dump Worksheet. Use the Journal prompts below to get the juices flowing for your brain dump.

  • What are you avoiding?

  • What do you keep forgetting to do?

  • What timelines are trying to sneak up on you?

  • Who have you been meaning to reach out to?

  • Do you have regrets?

  • What would make you really happy?

  • What really worked this week?

  • What felt like a fail?

  • If you could cast a magic spell, what would your life look like?

  • What are some feelings that arose recently?

  • Who/what makes you feel good about yourself?

  • When do you feel loved?

  • If you could only take one thing from today to tomorrow, what would it be?

  • What do you keep talking yourself out of doing?

  • If you had 3 wishes, what would you spend them on?

How to Use the Free Worksheet

  • Make a list from the brain dump

  • Rank the list by Importance 1-5

    • What will fall apart if these things aren’t done?

    • What is a need to do, rather than a want to do?

    • If it feels massively important and the world will fall down around you if this doesn’t get done at some point, mark it a 5. If it feels like “meh” when you think about it falling off the scale, mark it a 1. Think long-term and short-term. If it feels important in either, mark it accordingly.

    • Separate your lists based on their number of importance. Make new lists based on their corresponding number. Make a list of 5’s, 4’s, 3’s, etc.

  • Pick out the action steps you can take to ease your mind. Similar to self-care, but this time, make it less about you, and more about how you function and getting what needs to get done in a manageable state.

  • Rank each of the lists by Urgency

    • What has a deadline or a time crunch? What will make you worry the closer it gets to the due date, even if it’s an ambiguous one? Thinking short term, which on this list feels most urgent? Rank these in order. So 1, 2, 3, etc. Don’t double up numbers this time.

  • Cross-reference with the brain dump

    • The last thing you would want to do is get through this whole process and realize you completely forgot something. Make sure to cross-reference with your brain dump so nothing comes back to haunt you later.

    • Don’t get rid of it when you’re done. This will be great to look back on years down the road, but also can help you in Goal Setting.

  • Before you start any projects or tasks, make sure to schedule your next Rest Day or self-care/self-vigilance day.

  • Start with the Level 5 Importance level list, and start working your way through them.

    • If this still feels too overwhelming, further chunk your list down by tasks that take 5 minutes or less of time. Use these smaller tasks as quick wins when you need them to stay motivated.

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Love this and how you made it more than just about bubble baths and the typical go to’s. You are right. Once those things are over we are still overwhelmed. Really great and helpful post!


This is really helpful! I tend to let myself feel overwhelmed a lot. You mentioned a few strategies that I've never personally tried (like the journal prompts for a brain dump). I'm going to save this post so I can come back to it the next time I'm feeling overwhelmed! Thank you :)

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