Thursday Thoughts: How to Deal with Getting Overwhelmed – Open to Suggestions

Thursday Thoughts on Caught Read Handed

I’ve felt super overwhelmed lately. To the point of almost having a panic attack the other day. I have this problem where I take on way too many things for a few reasons – 1. I have a problem saying no. 2. I like to be busy. 3. I like having a lot of projects to distract me. 4. I really don’t know how to say no.

BUT it’s okay. I’ve got an awesome mini-road trip coming up this weekend with a friend (including some live music!) and I’ve decided to take a break from technology and the internet for the whole weekend – NO Twitter, NO Facebook, NO blog (sorry, guys!), NO Instagram (Okay, maybe one or two pictures), etc. I need the break for a lot of reasons and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m bringing at least two books with me, ones that I want to read FOR ME and not ARCs, no books I should read by a certain date, just ones I’ve been looking forward to for a while.

The whole point of telling you all this is to start a conversation with you. I know I’m not the only one who gets overwhelmed; this post isn’t a pity party. This point is meant to see what you do to deal with feelings of anxiety or your to do list that feels like it’s going to smother you and give you a few examples for how I deal. What do you do to calm yourself down, to focus on what you have to do and get it done?

Here are a few things that I like to do that (sometimes) help me stop overthinking, freaking out, panicking, giving up:

  1. Read. This is a given. But I mean read FOR ME. Like a lot of bloggers, I have a list of ARCs that I’ve requested/been given and sometimes I just want to NOT read them. So I pick up a book I want to read and read it. I try not to think about how I’m going to review it (which has become a problem for me recently – WHY do I do this??). I lose myself in this new world and take a mental road trip, if you will. Sorry that was cheesy.
  2. Listen to music. This is another given for me. However, I have to fit the music I’m listening to to the mood I’m in. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of pop stuff because anything dark or with lyrics that hit too close to home (read: twenty one pilots – one of my two favorite bands but not something I’ve been able to listen to for about two weeks). I’ve been listening to Vinyl Theatre’s Electrogram a lot. I’ve also created a playlist on my computer called “Get out of your f*cking funk” that has some Eric Hutchinson, Fall Out Boy, Uptown Funk, One Direction (I don’t even care if you judge me), Bleachers, and a bunch of other peppy songs. Any recommendations?
  3. TRAVEL. I know a lot of wanderers will be able to get this: I feel a constant restlessness when I’m not going places. Traveling – driving, experiencing new places, seeing amazing sights, meeting fun new people, all of it – is something that settles me. It calms me on the inside and centers me. Some people won’t understand this at all and that’s okay. But for me, travel is a necessity. I’ve just downloaded and printed Sarah Shott’s Adventure Generator to take with me on my trip – a choose your own adventure type thing for the real world! I’m so excited to use it. I think I’ll probably share where the Adventure Generator takes me.
  4. Sleep. I tend to not sleep a lot when I have too many things going on. I stay up way too late working on whatever it is and then, because I’m a morning person/I’ve got an internal alarm clock that wakes me up around 6 a.m. every day, I wake up without being fully rested. Sometimes I just have to tell myself that I need sleep and the project will wait until tomorrow.

  5. Breathe some fresh air. I work inside at the library and since I have an online job, I spend most of my time inside. This is really horrible for me but I somehow forget that all the time. Then one day I’ll realize I can barely breathe because it feels so stuffy wherever I am, and I’ll do #1 outside. It’s amazing how much better I feel immediately when I go outside and breathe some fresh air. I’ll sit on my porch and read – even if it’s only for thirty minutes. I feel so much better.

So now I want to hear from you – How do you combat the stress? What do you do that helps you breathe better and not panic? Or if your one of the lucky ones who doesn’t freak out or knows how to say no when you have too many projects already, how do you keep track of what you have to do? Let’s talk for real in the comments!

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28 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts: How to Deal with Getting Overwhelmed – Open to Suggestions

  1. I’m a very anxious person. Like I’d stress over a small matter when it’s sort of unnecessary anyway. I’ve had panic attacks, and let me tell you: it is not the best feeling ever. Suddenly it’s so hard to breathe; suddenly you just want to crumple on the floor. But when you have people there to support you in times like this – that’s the best feeling there.

    What I like to do to deal with crowding situations is to first: BREATHE or abruptly pause. Sometimes it helps to no feel for a few moments to clear the mind. And next: LISTEN TO MUSIC. As a person who loves music in general, it’s been a therapy for me to listen to my favourite records to calm the nerves. Also: how cool is that you’re a Twenty One Pilots fan too?!

    Hope your weekend road-trip refreshes you and HAVE FUN ABOVE ALL! 🙂

    • Panic attacks suck, I agree. They make you feel like you’re dying. At least that’s how I feel.

      DEFINITELY listen to music. That helps so much. You like twenty one pilots too?! They’re incredible. Love them.

      Thank you!!

  2. The best way for me to figure out stress is to take a shower because it always helps me work out my problems for some reason. I always feel better after that. Strangely, reading actually gives me more stress, probably because the situations are really intense or whatever, lol 🙂

  3. I totally get where you’re coming from. I think learning to say no comes with practice, and knowing when you need to say no because you have enough on your plate also comes with experience. It gets easier.
    In the meantime though, I always find that when I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s useful to think about my priorities. Which items on my to-do list aren’t urgent? Which can wait or be crossed off altogether? Sometimes you have to let one or two things drop so that you can manage everything else.
    I also don’t review a ton of books on my blog that I’ve requested, because as much as it’s great to get free books, it does also create pressure. I’ve found that buying more of my own books – even if it means I’m a step behind release dates on some of them – buys me some leeway and keeps blogging fun. It’s good to have a balance. After all, it’s not a paid job. So I don’t want it to just feel like work! I think your idea of putting aside ARCs and reading just for yourself is a great one! I hope your road trip this weekend ends up being exactly what you need, and that you have a great time!

    • I find it hard to tell myself that not everything is urgent. I make a list of things I need to do and even if some of them aren’t super urgent, I feel like I need to do all of it RIGHT NOW. But I’ve started to realize that that makes it worse. Yesterday I made two lists: one of things I had to do yesterday and today and one of just things I need to do eventually. It actually did help!

      Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to it.

  4. Going outside is a big one for me! If I can take a walk at all, I usually feel so much better – just for having gotten out. I feel like walking helps me mull things over, and by the time I get back my priorities seem clearer, ha. Also, hanging out with my cat, Sheba. She is one seriously blissed-out animal (snoozing as I type!), and that also helps me put things in perspective. #3 is also crucial…so many!

    • YES! Getting outside is such a necessity. I’ve realized that driving with my sun roof and/or windows down helps if I can’t get outside during the day because I’m at work. It sort of simulates being outside.

  5. I’m like you in that I love having lots going on because that’s when I thrive but at the same time it can become too much. In the past year or so, I’ve really worked on trying to say “no” more, or offer alternative solutions to people. I’m not at all good at it yet, but I’ve gotten a little bit better, and I want to keep working on that. Also, I try to prioritise things as best I can so the “important” (or unpleasant) stuff is getting done and that reduces stress levels while I’m busy procrastinating. Writing things down and making lists help me too. And I’ve found blogging is something I do to take my mind off things. I’ve been absent for this week because I had a big event to organise and run for work, but I’ll be back with a bang when things calm down. Also, taking a lazy weekend, pottering around the house, getting odds and ends done, really chills me out too and recharges the batteries!! R x

    • Alternate solutions – that is a great idea. I’m definitely going to start working on saying no or offering a different solution to people.

      Blogging is definitely a great outlet. I felt so much better after I sat down and wrote this post. Even if it isn’t super bookish or anything – just letting it out has helped. And it seems a lot of people appreciate it too.

      Hope you have a good lazy weekend!

  6. Excellent list, some really good recommendations. I find doing tasks I have to focus on helps to calm me down. Baking is especially good as you have cake after 🙂 Walks are good, and something I don’t get enough of. Writing always helps me too.
    Have a wonderful trip, and enjoy some you-time! 🙂

    • I find that baking only helps sometimes for me. I think it has to do with the fact that you have to get everything right or it doesn’t taste that good so when I already feel like I’m failing, it doesn’t help. Does that make sense? BUT I have a solution – you make me cake and I’ll eat it. Hahahaha.
      I agree that doing and focusing on one single task really helps.
      Thank you!!

  7. When I can’t hold my shit together (and it does happen), I tend to get a little crazy. It’s nice to say to myself, hey, you have a support system, you have people who love you. Sometimes, I just want to be able to lose it a little bit and eventually find the way back to myself. When I do try to distract myself off the crazy, anxious ledge, I read. Sometimes I read random articles about various royalty on Wikipedia. Netflix helps. I crochet and embroider (not enough on both) so those help me a lot too. And sometimes, I just vent it all out to my all suffering boyfriend.

    • Sometimes I just want to lose it too. I can definitely relate to that. When I get to that point, I usually paint. I don’t know why this helps, but I can just let the paint go wherever and let it all out.
      Random articles about royalty on Wikipedia actually sounds like a lot of fun. Going to add that to my list next time I need a distraction.

      • It’s because at heart I am a total history nerd. I sometimes think my boyfriend just smiles and rolls his eyes thinking “Oh that silly girl of mine.” The of course I put up with his babble about board games so it’s all relative. 🙂

  8. Holy cow this could not have been a more timely discussion for me to come across. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately too and for all the same reasons you listed. I don’t know how to say no, I don’t like doing it, and I like to have a lot of work going on. At work I tend to take on more projects than necessary and it makes me crazy sometimes. The best way for me to decompress and relax is to focus on the positives in my life. I like to make lists of all the things that have made me happy in the last month and think of ways to prioritize everything. Reading is a great distraction too!

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one. Wow. We seem to have the same thing going on here. I really like your idea of writing down all the things that have made you happy in the past month. I’m going to try that and see if it helps.
      I’ve just made a list of all the things I need to do in order – prioritize, like you said! It definitely does help.
      I really hope that both of us can get out of this overwhelming feeling. Definitely feel free to message me if you need to talk or want some encouragement!

  9. Great topic! I’m terrible at saying ‘no’ to people, too. And it does get overwhelming at times. I find that reading for ME, just like you said, helps me. Also, drinking wine, lol. 😉 And lately, working out really helps me destress and feel better.
    Have a great time on your trip and enjoy!!!

    • I really don’t drink. Every once in a while, I’ll have a rum and something but I just don’t do it all that much. I actually think it would make me feel worse – mentally – if I did it too much anyway, so it’s probably best I’m not much for drinking. Plus, I’ve never really found a wine I liked.
      Working out! YES! That’s me too. Walking/running, lifting weights, any of that. Good point.
      Thank you!

  10. It looks like a few of us are in the mood to talk about how we manage our stress/uncertainties today! 🙂

    I have to agree with so many of your points, especially #5. Now that spring is finally(!) coming, going outside is becoming enjoyable again. Taking even just a short stroll in the sun is such an amazing mood-booster, especially since I work (and live, coincidentally—I didn’t select two on purpose!) in a dim basement. 😛

    I hope you have a fantastic time on your trip. ENJOY UNPLUGGING! It’s the best. 🙂

    • I usually hate spring because my allergies are so bad but I’m really looking forward to it this year – for walks outside, like you said. I’ll just dose myself up on Benadryl. Lol! You work AND live in a basement? Yeah, I can see why you need outside time!
      Thank you! I’ll post some pictures and such when I get back. 🙂

      • Haha, I do! My apartment is a huge studio in the basement of a renovated linen factory. It’s awesome but is also a bit hard to keep well-lit. And yeah, my lab is in the basement of my building. So many basements in my life!

        And oh, can I relate with the allergies. Sometimes I think the only way to survive is perpetual antihistamine dosing. 😦

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