Overwhelm is an emotional state in which we are struggling to deal with the current situation. Overwhelm can happen to anyone at any time, especially given how busy society has become in recent years. Overwhelm can happen for a number of reasons including (but not limited to),

  • Underlying physical or mental health conditions.
  • Issues in relationships.
  • Demands from occupation or career; Being overworked when you are trying to do more than you manage
  • Money troubles.
  • Life transitions, such as buying a house, having a baby, or looking after an elderly parent or partner.
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Insufficient time to complete tasks or rest.
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Poor diet
  • Personal history of trauma.


Each individual will experience overwhelm differently, one person described overwhelm as being ‘Tsunami of small stuff that had overpowered them and taken them under’.

There are common feelings that many people describe, such as feelings of Overloaded, being swamped, as if they are drowning, a sense of  powerlessness or defeat. Other common feelings may be,

  • Panic, anxiety
  • confusion or uncertainly
  • Struggling to concentrate or stay focused
  • Pressure
  • Struggling to sleep or sleeping more than usual
  • Struggling to relax
  • Minds over thinking switch ‘constantly on and on overtime, ‘spinning’, especially at night as you try to relax
  • A sense of ‘falling into the abyss’, as you start to drop off to sleep, causing you to wake up again in a fit of panic
  • Constantly feeling tired, or exhausted – even after a long sleep
  • Always in a rush, low productivity
  • On edge, irritable or snappy/ mood swings
  • Fear of saying no, fear of missing out, fear of letting others down
  • A sense of dread
  • Flitting from one thing to another.
  • Procrastination –
  • Unable to focus on one thing at once. You try and keep all the plates spinning but you don’t really know why you are doing it. The act of keeping everything going becomes more important than the reason why you are doing things in the first place! You cannot see that it is better to spin fewer plates well.
  • Subconsciously seek distractions.
  • Struggle to make meaningful decisions. You make poor decisions because you lack clarity. You change your mind often and with ease – although this provides added stress and worry.
  • Usually late for things.
  • Unable to relax and ‘be still’.
  • Overeat or under eating/loss of appetite
  • Unable to pleasure in simple things
  • Lose sense of self, experience low self-esteem and/or loss of confidence
  • Have unrealistic expectations for yourself and others.

Making the decision not to live with the feelings of overwhelm is the first step in dealing with the problem. While some stress and pressure can be a good thing, assisting us to strive and achieve goals in life,  living in a constant state of arousal isn’t good for our health.

I have included a strategy called S.T.A.N.D for Overwhelm which you will find in the dropdown in the Self-Help Menu.

S.T.A.N.D is an acronym for Stop, Think, Act Never Doubt. Acronym’s are easy to remember and called to mind in times of stress. S.T.A.N.D is can be a useful tool for dealing with overwhelm.