Feeling extremely overwhelmed stinks, doesn’t it?

Really, feeling overwhelmed can happen to anyone, whether they’re single or married, two kids or twelve kids, student or employee. It’s all in perspective (mostly). And there is the good kind of almost-overwhelmed-ness that makes life feel wonderfully full and satisfying. Kari Curran over at Catholic Stand talks about that brilliantly in an article here. However, I would like to talk about the darker, more depressing overwhelmed-ness that I am all too familiar with.

When you feel that everything is closing in on you and there is no escape, life can be miserable. Prayer becomes difficult, if not impossible. Communication with others can become unclear. Anxiety can come and hinder you from carrying out even the most regular of household jobs. Depression can darken the doorway too, if it goes far enough.

Yesterday I was feeling quite overwhelmed. The laundry room was a mess; the kitchen counters were covered in papers, mason jars for canning, fresh produce, and dirty dishes; the kids had only sort of done schoolwork; I almost missed an online course in the morning (due to being very overtired and mentally foggy); and both parents were gone for most of the day. It all seemed like too much: juggling laundry, dishes, housecleaning, teaching the kids, music practice, additional music subjects (harmony and history, both necessary for my music exams), my school subjects, my social life, learning and practicing the Faith, exercising and getting fresh air, making meals. . . .

I usually have a few ways of dealing with feeling overwhelmed:

  • Make a list. Or two or ten.

I find that if I make lists/plans for dealing with different things, then coping with it all becomes easier. I often make lists of things I need to do that day, that week, and things with no deadline. I usually aim to complete at least 70% of the items on a to-do list for the day. If I don’t get it done, oh well. It’ll get done the next day.

  • Smile

Make an effort to smile. Apparently it releases feel-good endorphins that improve mood and brain activity, which we all need at some point, right?

  • Pray

Even if prayer gets hard, keep at it. If you have no time for long prayers, pray short aspirations, like “Jesus, I love you,” “Jesus, I trust in You,” “All for you, Jesus,” or “My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee!” Repeating these prayers many times a day has gotten me through all sorts of days

  • Count your blessings

Instead of being annoyed that the kitchen counters were covered in stuff, I decided to be thankful for our kitchen and how handy it is. Rather than be mad that the kids aren’t grasping certain concepts in schoolwork, I looked back at last year and saw how far they have come since then. Looking at the bright side can be a big helper if you’re feeling discouraged in any situation.

How do you deal with feeling overwhelmed? What are your suggestions?