How to Deal with Being Overwhelmed

Hey friends!  So, today I am going to share a few candid thoughts on a topic that I am guessing most, if not every single one of you, can identify with- BEING OVERWHELMED. Sound familiar?

I remember talking to my brother Mitch about this a few years ago, and just telling him what a major problem it was with me. I would get big-time stressed-out over things like a full schedule, big decisions, last minute tasks, leadership, and the list goes on and on.

Maybe later I’ll write more about my journey with anxiety (do any of you struggle with that?), but for now I’m specifically talking about that overwhelmed feeling.  You know, when you feel like you can’t possibly do everything you need to do, or that life is general is just too much?

Can I encourage you with something?  Please don’t stay in that place of overwhelm!

I think that when it comes to this thing of being overwhelmed, we have it all wrong.  It is easy to feel that “I am so overwhelmed” and stay helplessly there. But remember:

Overwhelmed is a FEELING, not a REALITY.

What we need to do is identify how we got to this place and what to do about it. Living in a state of being overwhelmed is not the fullness of life God intended for us.

Here are a few things I’ve found to make a HUGE difference for me when I am getting overwhelmed.

  • Spending sufficient quiet time with Jesus every morning.  Really, this is such a big, big deal.  If I rush through my time with the Lord, or am not really truly seeking to know His heart more on a regular basis, I begin to have major problems.  I have found that I get overwhelmed so much more easily when my relationship with Him is suffering.
  • Speaking the truth to my heart.  The Bible says that David “encouraged his heart in the Lord”. Sometimes we don’t even realize the lies we are being fed or even saying to ourselves.  When getting overwhelmed, I need to tell myself things like, “You CAN do all things thru Christ Who strengthens you”.  Or, “If Christ is for you, who can be against you?”  There are so many verses and truths that apply here.  On the flip side, it is too easy to go down the detrimental road of telling ourselves lies like “No one cares.” or “I can’t please anyone.” or “I am such a failure!”
  • Evaluating my schedule + priorities.  Sometimes when I am getting overwhelmed, it is because I have not prioritized correctly.  There are times when it is helpful to step back and ask, “what all is on my schedule right now?  Are these the priorities Christ wants me to have or are there some good things I need to cut to make room for the best things?”
  • Getting sufficient rest.  Again, this is HUGE for me!!! For some very silly reason, when I have extra much to do I tend to cut back on sleep. Those are the very times when sufficient rest is most crucial!  We are not super-humans- God created night-time for REST and trying to make it on insufficient sleep on a regular basis is not healthy or wise.  Obviously, there are seasons when we cannot control this, but the majority of us have the ability to choose to sleep.:)
  • Seeking Godly counsel.  Sometimes when I am starting to feel overwhelmed, or trying to figure out whether or not to say yes to a particular activity, I call  my dad and ask his opinion.  For me, this has been a super helpful way to get another perspective (from someone I trust and admire greatly) on the situation. I highly recommend finding that person in your life that knows you- personality, priorities, and schedule- well and will tell you their honest opinion/counsel about whatever decision or struggle you are having.

Friends, God is for you!  He smiles on you.  He wants to help you with whatever you are struggling with.

love,

Allison

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17 Comments

  1. Thank you, sweet Allison!! This post was really a blessing to me as I have really felt overwhelmed in the past couple weeks or so. Super timely and blessed my heart immensely!

  2. This is so good, Allison!! Love all the points you made, especially the one about making sure that your relationship with Jesus isn’t suffering—I have found that to be SO true, in eliminating stress/the feeling of being overwhelmed. Thanks for the reminder!!

  3. This is a great post Allison! A great encouragement!! I know it’s well needed for many folks, as I personally have struggled with it at times, but also have had the blessing to be able to help encourage my younger siblings and other girls in exactly how to deal with the feeling of “overwhelm”! You hit it nail on! As I was reading, the whole time I was like Amen, amen!! It sounds like exactly what I always say! The most important part being that on purpose personal time in the word and also prayer, talking to the Father, asking for the spirit and strength for the day and also laying any burdens we feel at Christ’s feet! It says in Matthew 6 to seek first His kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be added to us. What a wonderful promise that is!! And so often is forgotten on a daily basis. Thanks for all your posts! I have enjoyed browsing them from time to time when I get a free chance! Blessings 🙂

  4. Thank you so much, Allison, this is timely! Recently I was praying with some friends and while praying for me, a friend mentioned “anxiety” and I kinda bristled inwardly when he said that word… “hey, I’m not anxious!!” Yet after thinking some more, ok, maybe I am a little… 🙂 Matthew 6:25-34 & Philippians 4:4-7 have especially encouraged me! I loved this: “Overwhelmed is a feeling, not a reality” and your points at the end. Excellent!!

  5. What an encouragement! Thank you for this reminder that our God is GREATER than our emotions– praise Him for that! I’ve struggled with anxiety and panic attacks and all of your points are spot on. I definitely notice that my overall anxiety (which is essentially unbelief!) is heightened when I’m not pressing into His fullness of joy, speaking truth to myself, and taking care of the body He has given me. His spirit is NOT one of fear, but one of power, love, and sound mind! (2 Tim. 1:7)

  6. Great Post Alison!
    I think this is something that we all struggle with at some point in our lives… it’s just coming to these solutions and creating a habit of them really makes a difference In The long run!
    Something that really helps me, if it seems like there are a lot of little things that seem to be of the same importance, don’t overthink which one is first! They key there is to just get moving and be diligent! Do the best you can and then realize that you didn’t have the ability to accomplish it all today, but you did the best you could as unto Christ!
    This creates that ability for us to find satisfaction that we did the best we could, and he is going to bless you regardless of your “shortcomings”. 😉 However I agree that if there are larger things, they definitely must be prioritized! Just a little thought that has really helped me!

  7. So wonderful + encouraging my friend! I love this: “Overwhelmed is a FEELING not a REALITY”. Feelings are SO changing + can be overcome thru Jesus. Thanks for your inspiring words.

  8. Thank you Allison,

    For the encouraging words and much wisdom for over coming “Overwhelmed” in life’s journeys.

    While reading through the blog, I too struggle with these everyday issues of life and with anxiety/depression.

    What are your thoughts on getting through life with depression? And feeling worthlessness to wanting to end a life “self” that God has made.

    1. Hi Scott,

      I think that a powerful and often overlooked tool in victory over anxiety/depression is believing the truth, and memorizing Scripture. These have both been a tremendous blessing in my life. It is so easy to believe lies, but we need to speak the truth to our hearts. Also, Godly counsel is very beneficial, as well as spending time with people who will lift us up (as opposed to negative peoples).

      May the Lord give you light + grace.
      prayers,
      Allison

  9. Thank you for posting the Allison. As I read it I just kept saying to myself “Yes, yes, she is so right”.
    Thank you for the encouragement!
    Love,
    Laura B.

  10. Thanks for the excellent list! I’ve too often proved that when I don’t start my day spending time in the Word, practically everything goes wrong.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!