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How to restore calm when you feel overwhelmed

How to restore calm when you feel overwhelmed 050424


It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed with everything we have to do in our busy lives, and before we know it, we’ve lost our calm and peace and become stressed and panicky.


What makes us feel overwhelmed

We might be worrying about our to do list for work, home chores, parenting responsibilities, keeping on top of our emails and messages, or just fitting everything we hoped to do into the day.

It’s even harder if you tend towards perfectionism and feel anxious about getting everything right. Social media sometimes adds to the pressure. Is it just me that doesn’t have that picture-perfect Instagram life? I’m sure we all know that we shouldn’t compare our daily ordinary to other people’s best moments that they’ve chosen to share, but that’s easier said than done.

So, what can we do when it all feels too much and how can we get that sense of calm back?

When I was working this morning, I took a quick break and stepped outside into the garden for a breath of fresh air. The first thing I noticed was a patch of weeds near the back door. I had a momentary feeling of overwhelm – how can I find the time to pull up all the weeds in the garden? That feels impossible.


What to do when you feel overwhelmed

And then I realised, it’s ok, I don’t have to pull up all the weeds. I can just take a small step and pull up the weeds right in front of me. That’s enough for now.

So, pull up the first patch of weeds… and what next? Is that enough? Or do you want to pull up some more? You decide. What makes you feel better?

You’ve pulled up some weeds. Your garden looks a bit better than it did before. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

When I pulled up that first little patch of weeds, I felt happy. I went on to another patch and pulled them up too. And then, I decided to stop. Maybe I’ll do some more weeding tomorrow or maybe I won’t and that’s ok.


Small steps can reduce your stress

And this is not just about weeds! So, how can this help you in your life?

What do you feel stressed or overwhelmed about? Where is that first metaphorical patch of weeds you can pull up? What is the first small step? Don’t worry about the rest. Just make a small start and you will start to feel better.

And once you’ve made a small start, just see where it leads. That tiny action might have a snowball effect and you might get lots done. Or you might just do a little bit and that’s enough. Either is ok.


Trust yourself to know what to do

And if you’re like me, you might be wondering, how do I know when to stop? How do I know what’s enough? Just try to trust yourself. Listen to your body. Will it make you feel better to do more, or does it feel like time to stop? Do what feels right and trust yourself to know when you have done enough for today.

So, when you feel overwhelmed try to think of one small step you could take and focus on that. And don’t forget to celebrate every little step forward.

You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to do it all in one go. Small steps are enough.


It’s ok to need help sometimes

You can take those small steps forward, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you feel like you need a little bit of help managing feelings of overwhelm and you’d like to restore calm and balance in your life, counselling can give you the space you need to do that.

Contact me by email on or by phone on 07305 424417 and let’s see if we can get that calm and peace back for you.

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