3 Mistakes to Avoid When Feeling Overwhelmed

May 03, 2021

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Feeling Overwhelmed

It's normal to feel overwhelmed from time to time, but how we react when we're feeling that way can potentially make matters worse. At times, we may not be aware of our bad habits or we simply do know what to do to resolve those habits. So here are five common mistakes we may make when we feel overwhelmed and what practical steps you can take to handle the tasks better.


1. Assuming

At times you know what you need or have an idea of what would be helpful in making you feel more in control of your situation, such as asking someone for assistance or practicing self-care. However, you may dismiss the idea, assuming that you simply won't have the time or that the other person wouldn't be available. You may also assume how others may react to your suggestions or you want to wait and see if there's a more ideal time to implement your idea. However, assuming and waiting around will never help you solve the issue and you may never find your perfect moment.

Instead of always trying to find the perfect solution, try to consider this: What is the best plan of action that's easily available to you right now. Using the example earlier, although you aren't sure if the person you ask for assistance is readily available, why don't you ask a few potential people, even if one rejects, you still have other options. And so what if one says no, it doesn't mean that everyone feels the same way. When you actually have good ideas but don't take action, that's when you feel more helpless. In addition, you may be losing out on a potential benefit, so don't just assume and take more action.


2. Negativity

At times, we may feel overwhelmed when are faced with a task that we're not familiar with or because the task is very important and we really want to do an excellent job. Usually we are able to work through the tasks despite feeling overwhelmed. However, there are times when we may feel very negative or critical about ourselves feeling overwhelmed. When you are being self-critical, it can cause you to procrastinate and make you feel shameful and anxious that you are having these feelings.

To offset the criticism going on in your head with compassionate self-talk. Practice mindfulness, taking a few seconds between emails or meetings and assess your current situation. "This is difficult right now" or "I'm feeling anxious right now". When you become aware of your emotions it can help you to avoid becoming overwhelmed and continue to make decisions with more clarity. Another step to take is to recognize that you are not alone. Other people also face similar challenges. This recognition can help support your wellbeing and interaction with others. A third step to consider is self-kindness. Ask yourself "What would be kind right now?" When you take time to treat yourself well, it can refresh and motivate yourself and move you to help others as well.


3. Withdrawing

Sometimes when you feel overwhelmed, you may have limited emotional energy. This can significantly affect the way you act and feel. When you are overwhelmed, you may lose focus of those around you, being absent minded. For example, you may have a huge project to finish, however, when your spouse comes over to speak to you, you give very simple responses while still thinking about that project of yours. However, when you do this, it can be actually self-sabotaging.

When we are feeling drained emotionally, that means we also need to fill up. When we act distant and withdraw from our supports, it can not only cause those around you to notice, but it can also potentially negatively impact your relationship with them. Instead of allowing your overwhelm feelings to cause you to miss out of fueling up emotionally, try to find ways to still connect with your supports. Schedule short breaks in between to talk with your loved ones or those around you. In this way, you not only can maintain your relationship with others and at the same time, you can feel rejuvenated and ready to take on your project or whatever overwhelming task you have at hand.


The Takeaway

Now that you know three of the common mistakes we make when we're feeling overwhelmed, you can start implementing the practical steps to overcome them. In this way, you can successfully be in control of your feelings.