What To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

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Can I just say that classes this year went from 0 to 100 real quick? In addition to all new subjects to deal with, I have more extra curricular and work responsibilities than I’ve ever had before. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret any of those responsibilities; I’m gaining great leadership experience and having a lot of fun in the process.

This, however, means that I have a lot more on my plate. I need to manage my time even more specifically to meet my various deadlines. I’m also finding myself sleep-deprived, stressed, and overwhelmed more regularly. Life shouldn’t be so exhausting all of the time. You shouldn’t have to go through your days feeling like there’s too much for you to handle.

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” -Rikki Rogers

I know you can handle whatever is being thrown at you. You just need to take a step back and refocus your mind. Today, I’m sharing what I’ve found really helps when you’re feeling overwhelmed!


1. Take a shower.



This is definitely my go-to when I get back to my dorm after a long day. While I’m walking home, I usually think about all of the work that’s waiting for me and it seems impossible. So, I’ll dump my stuff off at my desk and just jump in the shower. This allows me to go through what I need to do and formulate a plan while avoiding outside distractions and drowning in to-do lists. I always feel more prepared and more capable of getting my stuff done afterwards. It’s a physical, mental, and emotional refresher and nothing’s better than a hot shower after a stressful day anyway. Plus, your hair can dry while you work. #efficient

2. Turn your to-do list into a weekly timeline.

My planner has my color-coded, most up-to-date monthly calendar as well as all of the homework/outside tasks I was assigned for each day of the week (obviously, that’s the point of a planner). This is great, but it isn’t always clear which assignments I should prioritize since the due dates are all over the place.

I fix this by making a separate weekly timeline showing the due dates of each assignment the day that they are due (I’ve included some examples below in case that isn’t clear). This helps me see what is most time-sensitive and subsequently plan out when I will work on what during the week.

img_8126 img_8125to-do-list

I didn’t know I’d be including these in this post at the time, so they aren’t very neat. That just makes them authentic, right? 😉

3. Reset.

Startup Stock Photo

Before you sit down to work, organize your space. Clear off your desk, sort your mail, fold and put away any laundry, and make your bed. A cluttered mind definitely doesn’t need the additional distraction of a cluttered work space. This may seem like procrastination, but it takes no more than 10 minutes and it will improve your focus tremendously.

4. Get moving.



Get some fresh air. Open a window and do some yoga. Go for a walk. Hit the gym for a half hour. You can always take your textbook or laptop to a treadmill and work while you exercise, so kill those two birds with one stone (sorry birds).

6. Drink.


No, I don’t mean alcohol. Upping your water intake has so many health benefits. It will wake you up and re-energize your muscles, which is great because it will help you focus on the task at hand. I wrote about the power of infused water here, so check it out for more information!

6. Call a friend.


Text your sister. Send a ton of Snapchat-filtered messages. Other people are usually great at helping you get your life in perspective. Just talking through your day can help you organize your thoughts and realize that maybe you aren’t buried under a mountain of work like you thought you were. Often times, I’ll complain to my roommate about how I’ll be up all night doing homework, but end up finishing it in a few hours. The saying that work expands to fill the time you have to work on it is completely true; once you make yourself realize your deadlines and your true availability, it’s not too difficult to get everything done.


“It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” -Henry David Thoreau


And remember, knowing your limits is so important. Know how to say no. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can get done today. Power through, this won’t break you!


~ What helps you pull your thoughts together?


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