“ You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” ~Timber Hawkeye 

People get overwhelmed constantly. Life throws out numerous stressors or unexpected events. Normally people can navigate stress and figure out how to cope. However, when stressors accumulate, you might start to feel overwhelmed. With our fast-paced society mixed and daily demanding tasks, it is easy to constantly feel overwhelmed. Here are some tips to prevent feeling overwhelmed.  

Cognitive Fatigue

Besides feeling tired, irritable, and confused there is such a thing as cognitive fatigue when feeling perpetually overwhelmed. If this continues for multiple days it can lead to forgetfulness, slowness, and difficulty thinking logically. For example, if you are stressed over memorizing a presentation and formatting a new project by the next morning, cognitive fatigue will make you finish it slower. Instead of rereading the same lines for the next hour, pinpoint the primary source of overwhelm. One way to do this is to ask yourself, “If I could take two things off my plate to eliminate 80% of the stress I am feeling, what would they be?” This helps identify your major stressor so you can solve the problem.  


Keep in mind, you do not have to do everything. The whole point of working in teams is to have others share their knowledge and help you. When a project feels too large, break it down into chucks. Then delegate tasks to others who are willing to help. If you don’t know where to start, think about what the best use of your time is right now. Anything that does not fit into that, delegate it to your peers.  


Alternatively, you could set strict boundaries to be productive with your time. If you have 10 hours to read a paper, then you procrastinate until the last hour. If you only give yourself 1 hour to read it, you will be more efficient with your time.  


Being overwhelmed does not only apply to work. You can be overwhelmed by thinking about your financial future too. The same rules apply — pinpoint your stressors, break down tasks, and delegate work. If you are worried about financial planning, find help from a financial professional. With someone to share your financial goals, or how you envision your retirement years, you are not only discarding loads of potential stress, but that financial professional could provide steps that will allow you to get closer to your goals with better clarity.

It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. This does not have to do with how smart you are but recognize that there are steps you can take to make sense of the world and operate in it. Only you can prevent the frequency and extent that you feel overwhelmed.