5 Ways to Combat Overwhelm

5 Ways to Combat Overwhelm

August 29, 2018 0 By Shan Ellis Williams

Looking after yourself, especially when it feels like every one and their auntie wants a little bit of you for themselves is VERY hard! But it is vital for you to have coping mechanisms for when time gets a little bit tough. It’s the end of the Summer holidays here. My children will return to school a week yesterday and although I’ve enjoyed them being at home, I’m SO ready to pack them off for another school year. This week has seen more arguments. They’ve had enough of each other too.

It’s been the back to school week where all the school uniform has been bought. It’s been the bill paying week, where some of the largest household bills have been paid. It’s also been the week I started thinking about Christmas. Also stressing about this and what may or may not happen.

I’m overwhelmed, so I apologise if I’ve been quieter than usual of late. I’m not being rude, but I’m taking a few weeks for self care and following my own advice.

What is overwhelm

It’s basically when you hit a brick wall and you’re pushing back so hard. All noises become extra loud, my senses become super prickly when I’m overwhelmed, and a small argument might sound like the end of the world in my head. I find my productivity dips, and that I’m generally sleeping less and quite anxious all the time. A small problem becomes a HUGE problem that I can’t solve. Every bump in the road becomes a Carpathian style monster and I can’t find my climbing spikes for love nor money. It’s out of character for me as I’m a warrior woman who usually thrives in a room full of people. In weeks such as these I feel vulnerable, fragile, and I have to follow my five golden rules for combatting the overwhelm.


Be still, Be Silent

This is the one I struggle the most with when the kids are at home. I like my space, and I love my own company and headspace. Usually it’s possible to escape to the great outdoors to reconnect with nature when the kids are at school. I walk the way through my worries. So seeing my problems like a huge jigsaw puzzle and solving the problems in front of me by trying to find solutions (pieces) that fit neatly in the holes. When I am walking, the rhythm is just there, and I am locked in my own happy place solving my life puzzle. You might think I’m crazy after you read this, but visualisation is a great tool to use when you’re stuck in a bad place.

Since we moved here in November, to our decrepit home, falling apart at the seams, I’ve kept myself strong, painting a bright future here, by seeing the renovated beauty of our Victorian home in all it’s glory in my head. Even when I’m removing the mushrooms from the floorboards behind the toilet. Even when I’m cleaning the damp spots of their mould waiting for the walls to dry out.

If I get five minutes in the evening I ground myself before bed. This often means leaving my partner downstairs and heading to bed, just to breathe and be still.

Listen to music

I’m going to add reading to this list too! I’ve taken myself temporarily away from the computer screen, because it was all getting a bit much, and gone back to listening to YouTube, Spotify and my downloads on iTunes. To be fair I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with the Pentatonix crew. They’re just amazing!

I’ve started doing my going to bed early to read thing again and that’s helping with the sleep routine. Trying not to have screen time at least half an hour before bed it priceless!

Change what you’re eating

I swear this is a biggie for me at the moment. I’ve completely changed the way I eat recently, which means eating meals and no snacking plus being mindful of what’s in the food I eat. So looking at the nutrients my body needs to survive and making sure I’m getting enough of those things. I’ve always just eaten because I was obsessed with food. I’d be thinking about tea after eating lunch and I used to crave sweet foods. I think investing some time into learning about what my body actually needs in a day has opened my eyes and satisfied my cravings.

It’s also changed my mood. I’m a lot calmer, not so easy to anger, and I feel satisfied. I’ll add here remember to drink enough too, I’ve increased my water intake substantially recently and I’m loving the effects on my skin, and waistline. Makes a HUGE difference! I have eaten chocolate until I feel sick if I was feeling like this before so this is ALL NEW 😀


This is also a big one and the kids have been helping me the last few weeks. we’ve been swimming twice a week and go for a huge walk once a week. It doesn’t matter about the weather. Yes I’m slower than I was before my Rheumatoid Arthritis hit in earnest, but I’m forcing myself out and hitting my goal of 10,000 steps every day. When you’re overwhelmed it’s so easy to want to hide under your favourite fluffy throw and watch Netflix with a coffee and a pack of biscuits. It’s one of the worst things you can do!

I’m currently in the process of looking to going back to Yoga once more, as I can’t do high intensity exercises like HIT at the moment. I’ve come to the stage now though that I really want to get my fitness back.

A problem shared…

Ask for help if it all gets too much. I’m so fortunate that I have two best friends who I can message at any time and ask over or visit. They’ve been there for me through everything, and I’d drop everything to be there for them too. I’m so fortunate to have a partner who will hug me to death after he comes home (this is AFTER a 12 hour shift in the kitchen).

Don’t offload on your kids but do HUG THEM MORE! Apparently the best thing you can do to set your endorphins (happy hormones) raging is have a good reciprocal hug. And let’s face it, sometimes we ALL need one!


tackling overwhelm and anxiety

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