Do you struggle from an overwhelming life? Time to change that and stress less with this ultimate guide on how to feel less overwhelmed.
Estimated reading time: 15 minutes
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Remember when you were a kid and couldn’t wait to grow up? Most of us longed for the freedom of adulthood. I certainly did. If we only would have known how overwhelming life can be at times, right?
Once you become an adult, you realize that there are many responsibilities to take care of. For instance, you’ll have to work, clean your house, maintain your social relations, stay fit and healthy, pay your bills and much more. This can be overwhelming for many of us.
As a highly sensitive person or empath you most likely know that life can be extra overwhelming for you. Besides the above mentioned challenges, you are increasingly sensitive towards your surroundings. Where highly sensitive people are experiencing overwhelm because of deep sensory processing, energies of other people tend to overwhelm empaths every now and then.
If you are both an HSP and an empath, like me, I can only imagine how overwhelming life must be for you at times. Therefore, I created this extensive guide to help you reduce overwhelm and feel happier.
Here’s What You’ll Learn:
- Overwhelmed Socially? Try These Tips!
- Is Work Life Overwhelming? Implement These Best Practices!
- Financially Overwhelmed? Here Are Some Finance Hacks!
- Overwhelm Because Of Your Home Chores? Try this!
- What Are Your Secrets To Reduce Overwhelm In Life?
Overwhelmed Socially? Try These Tips!
For many HSP’s and Empaths, it is common to become socially overwhelmed in life. Social overwhelm is caused by different aspects. For instance, it arises when you overcommit yourself to socializing. Also, it is a result of hanging out with too many people or people who do not fit your personality and needs. For those of you struggling with social overwhelm these tips might come in handy.
Identify Your VIP’s And Spend More Time With Them
If you find yourself socializing with many different people throughout the month, it may be wise for you to identify your VIP’s. Your very important people.
It may sound harsh, but this article states that about 20% of your relationships cause 80% of your overall happiness. Hence, only 1/5 of the people you socialize with, are having significant impact on your happiness. Therefore, it may be wise for you to look who belongs to these 20%.
Once you have identified the people that are important for your overall wellbeing, you know who to socialize with more often and who to see less frequently. This way, you can protect your energy and avoid becoming socially overwhelmed in life.
Let Go Of Unhealthy Relationships
While you are at it and evaluating your relationships with people, it may also be wise to look at the relationships that cause stress and overwhelm. Sometimes, this can be friendships which have changed greatly over the years.
For instance, you could have grown apart and have different interests, but still see each other because you feel obliged to do so because of the many years of friendship. Sometimes, it is okay to realize that you have grown apart and it is time to let that friendship go.
Moreover, unhealthy relationships could also be relationships in a business setting or even family members. Realize that it is not selfish to let go of those bonds. If they drain your energy and cause you to feel overwhelmed in life, this is the best thing to do.
I know that it is hard, but you will most likely feel relieved once you have decided to part ways. When I had to let go of some relationships in the past, I felt truly upset at first, but in the long run I noticed that it was the right thing to do for both parties. Therefore, do not feel guilty when friendly letting go. The release of those connections will make room for fresh energy and inner peace.
Set Healthy Boundaries
If you happen to be a people pleaser who cannot say no to others and wants to help everybody who asks, this one is for you. Most likely, you may struggle with setting healthy boundaries. As a result, you put everybody else first and ultimately burn out your energy.
Therefore, setting healthy boundaries is crucial for you in order to reduce social overwhelm. There are many ways to learn how to set healthy boundaries.
For instance, you may want to create a ‘helping others’-time budget. Clarify for yourself how many hours a week you want to spend helping others. Then, when people ask you to help them out, have a look at your time budget and see if you hold space for them.
If you want to help them out and have time in your time budget to do so, feel free to help them. However, if you are running out of time or you don’t actually like doing the task they ask you to help out with, don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries and say no.
The method above is one of my absolute favorites, as I love helping people out, but sometimes struggle with saying no when I don’t have time. Setting a time budget at the beginning of the week helps me to manage my energy and still be of service to others.
Is Work Life Overwhelming? Implement These Best Practices!
Another major potential source for overwhelm is work. Many highly sensitive people and empaths struggle with finding a good work-life-balance. As the 9 to 5 is created for the majority of people, who are less sensitive, this work pace and these expectations can be challenging for us to live up to. Hence, it is important to be aware of how to manage work overwhelm in life.
Discover Your Ikigai
One of the biggest game changers for me in relation to work, was to identify my Ikigai. In the illustration to the right, you can see the Ikigai model. Ikigai means waking up every morning, doing what you love for a living. It consists of four aspects: doing what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs and what you can get paid for. Combining these four aspects results in your dream career.
In order to experience life as less overwhelming, identifying your dream career and pursuing it is crucial. For instance, this model helped me to realize that I could make a living from becoming a blogger and freelance writer/translator/social media expert. Self-employment would enable me to make a living, while doing what I love and am good at and helping other people with my skills.
At the same time, I managed to create a life that isn’t that overwhelming. I work no more than 30 hours a week and have enough room for rest. Something which is crucial for highly sensitive people and empaths.
Therefore, I highly encourage you to deep dive into discovering your Ikigai. I am 100% sure that this will reduce much of your work overwhelm in life.
If you’d like to learn more about Ikigai and implement it in your life, I recommend you to read the book ‘Ikigai – The Japanese Secret To A Long And Happy Life’.
Implement Time Management
Another important factor in order to feel less stressed at work, is to implement time management. Oftentimes, many of us have a to do list that only seems to grow. This can feel incredibly overwhelming in life.
At some point, you may not even know when you have time to do specific tasks. That’s where time management comes in handy. Not only will proper time management give you an overview of how you spend your time at work, but it will also serve as a guide when setting boundaries at work.
Similarly to your ‘helping others’-budget that I talked about earlier in this article, your time budget for work can help you to see what tasks you can take on. Also, it will allow you to set healthy boundaries towards co-workers and your boss. Moreover, proper time management will help you to prioritize work tasks and have a clear overview of what needs to be finished when.
Therefore, if you feel like you do not have an overview of your work tasks, it may be wise to sit down and put them into a time table. If time management is new to you, you may want to read the book ‘Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind’.
One of the biggest epiphanies I have had in my career, is that rest is the most productive thing you could do. I don’t know about you, but I used to feel guilty about resting. Even when I was working 8 hour days, I felt that I was being unproductive during my time off.
This resulted in me never being able to truly rest. “I could be doing something more productive right now”, was a thought that struck my mind many times.
However, after coaching with an energy coach, I realized that not resting was counterproductive. When you go to work without resting, you are not productive. You are tired, easily distracted and feeling down.
Do you know that feeling after a long vacation, when you feel like you can take on the world and be super productive? That is because you took the time and gave yourself permission to rest! What if you would allow yourself to rest during your day-to-day life? See your resting hours like mini vacations where work talk (and thoughts) are not allowed.
Resting is like recharging your battery. Hence, it is the best thing you could do for your productivity. Additionally, I guarantee you that you will feel less overwhelmed in life once you implement rest without guilt in your daily routine.
If you want to tackle the rest guilt tripper once and for all, I highly recommend you to read the book ‘Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less’.
For Self-Employed Females: Synch Work With Your Cycle
This one is for the female, self-employed readers amongst us who menstruate. For me, understanding my cycle and synching work according to it has been a true life changer in order to reduce overwhelm. Believe me, you’ll want to dive into this.
When I did not know much about my cycle yet, I scheduled work tasks without thinking about the hormonal changes in my body. Hence, I oftentimes found myself in situations where I had scheduled incredibly challenging tasks during that time of the month. Tasks that would require all my energy, both socially and physically.
However, did you know that we are supposed to slow down during our period? That resting during those few days of the months is better for us? I did not, so when I first discovered this, it was a big aha-moment.
Hence, I began an experiment. I dove into this insightful article and rearranged my work schedule according to my cycle. In the weeks after my period, I now schedule work tasks that acquire more energy, social obligations and public presence from me. I also do product launches in those weeks.
After ovulation, I schedule tasks that require more of an introverted energy, such as checking off the smaller to do’s from my list, creative projects like writing and doing administrative tasks.
Where I often experienced work as overwhelming in life, I now truly thrive. Being in tune with my body and its needs is a freedom that I hope every woman will be able to experience in her life.
Financially Overwhelmed? Here Are Some Finance Hacks!
“Money, money, money, must be funny, in the rich mans world.” While I love this Abba-song, money hasn’t always been funny for me. Perhaps because I am not a rich man, haha! Anyways, I know that many of us struggle from overwhelming feelings in life due to finances.
Bills have to be paid and of course, we still want to have enough money to do the things we want to do. Therefore, I have looked into ways on how to reduce financial overwhelm, so we can all relax a little more. Here are some tips that I found to be useful in my own finances and that many financial experts recommend:
Create A Financial Budget And Set Financial Goals
I remember when I moved out, my mom gave me a financial planner as a gift. Perhaps she knew how overwhelming the financial aspects of life could be. Therefore, I learned at a young age to set a budget and financial goals.
If you want to feel less overwhelmed in relation to finances, this is the first thing you need to do. Identify your income, so you know how much money can spend every month.
Additionally, it is valuable to set financial goals. If you want to go on a vacation, this might be a financial goal. Another financial goal might be to save a certain amount for fun date nights or for a hobby. The sky is the limit and you are in charge of determining what financial goals you would like to set.
Setting a financial budget will reduce overwhelm, because you take charge of your finances and are aware of what you have. Hence, start there in order to reduce overwhelm.
Identify Your Spending
Once you have set a budget, it is time to identify your spending. This task can be somewhat overwhelming, as many of us may not be aware of all the money we spend on unnecessary things in life.
In order to identify your spending, have a look at the last three months of bank transactions. Divide even the tiniest amounts into categories, so you know where your money flows.
After identifying your spending, you will know where you can save money. This will give you a sense of calm and inner peace in relation to your finances.
If you happen to realize that you spend more than you make, it is also a wake up call to make changes or perhaps look for a job that pays more.
Do you want to take control of your finances? This book helped me tremendously in budgeting and categorizing my spending: ‘Kakebo – The Art Of Saving’
Set Up An Emergency Fund
Another overwhelming aspect of life is to not always know what life will throw at you. Whether it is a broken washing machine, an unexpected medical bill or a new car; those costs can add up quickly.
If you are anything like me, you worry a lot about these things. Therefore, I advise you to set up an emergency fund. This will take a major weight off your shoulder, as you know that you always have some savings to pay for those bills.
Overwhelm Because Of Your Home Chores? Try this!
80 years ago, it was common for women to stay at home while the man took care of the financial aspects of life. Nowadays, both have to work in order to be able to make a living. This results in some big challenges for couples, who often have to work fulltime and also manage a household along with all its chores.
As a self-employed HSP and empath I know how overwhelming it can be in life to maintain your household. Meal planning, cooking, cleaning, washing laundry, folding laundry, gardening and overall maintenance… who would have thought that adulting is so challenging at times?
However, it is possible to make these chores easier. Below, you can find some of the activities to reduce overwhelm in your household.
Declutter Your Home
When you have less stuff, you have less to worry about. Decluttering your home will provide you with many benefits. You will have more space in your cabinets and drawers and it will be easier to manage everything you own. Everything will have its own designated space.
Therefore, my first advice to feel less overwhelmed, is to set up a plan for decluttering your home. There are many ways to go about this, but I found the KonMarie method to be very useful.
This method asks you to only keep items that spark joy within you and that enrich your life. Getting rid of items that do not check off this criteria, will give you a great deal of inner peace and calm within your home.
Identify Your Chores And Make A Plan
Another thing that helped me and Riny to feel less overwhelmed in relation to our household, is to identify all of the chores that need to be done and to divide them amongst us.
It is wise to have an overview of all your chores along with how often these chores need to be done. There are many apps for that. I found the app Sweepy to be very useful in this process.
In this app, you can add all of your chores and how often you want to do them. The app will then remind you whenever it is time to get these chores done.
Get Help From The Outside
One thing I learned in Dr. Elaine Arons book about parenting as an HSP, is that you as an HSP shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. This counts for parents, but also for people who are not parents (yet) and in need of help.
When you feel that you are overwhelmed with everything going on in your life right now, it is not a shame to ask for help. Riny and I have been working crazy hours in the last year, which is the reason why we chose to hire a housekeeper.
It is nothing to be ashamed of and it is okay to hire help when you can afford it and you need it. And if you are really struggling and need a kind push from somebody that cares about you, do not be afraid to ask for their help.
For example, if your garden needs to be maintained, don’t be afraid to ask a friend who loves gardening. You will have a great day together, doing something that your friend loves and that helps you.
Oftentimes, we are afraid to be a burden for other people, but just remember how much you appreciate when somebody asks for your help. Most likely, the other person also will feel flattered that you think of them when asking for their help.
Asking for help will help you to get back on track with your household and maintain it in a calm and structured way in the future.
Automize Chores At Home
Finally, one of my little secrets for reducing the overwhelming household chores in life, is to automize whatever you can automize. There are some appliances that can take over some of your chores.
For example, you may want to consider buying a Roomba, which is a robot vacuum cleaner. Riny and I got one 3 years ago and it honestly was the best buy ever. With a dog in our home, this is a true life (-and time) saver!
Therefore, I can highly recommend you to invest in some automated kitchen- and home appliances. They will definitely make your life easier!
What Are Your Secrets To Reduce Overwhelm In Life?
Now that you have read my top tips to reduce the overwhelming aspects of life, I am super curious to discover your secrets! Feel free to share your ultimate life changers in the comments below!