I hear from readers every day who thank me for what I write. They are overwhelmed, they are depressed. They need a word of encouragement, they need to know they are not alone.

Many of us feel overwhelmed at times. Sometimes it may be a temporary situation, a crazy busy weekend. Or it may be that you are caring for a chronically ill family member. Maybe you are on bedrest for the remainder of a pregnancy. Maybe your husband left you and you feel alone and overwhelmed.

5 things to do when overwhelmed

I hope that something below can give you a little hope and a little direction at this trying time.

5 things to do when you feel overwhelmed

1. Accept that you can’t do it all.  Admit that you put pressure on yourself to TRY to do it all, but you can’t. Look to God, and admit that you are but human, and you can’t do everything. I think that some of my most miserable times are when I am trying to do everything in my own strength instead of looking to God for help, wisdom, and strength.

2. Accept that some things are just not going to get done. It won’t be the end of the world, I promise. Even things that we feel are very important may not get done, and you will find that you can survive, and do.

3. Set up a Triage center for your life. When you go to the emergency room, there is a nurse who will see you, examine your case, and decide how critical and crucial it is that you be taken care of. A heart attack comes before a finger that needs stitching. By applying the principals of triage to your own life, you can figure out which things can be ignored without danger, and those things that must be addressed immediately.

In the same way, consider each and every area of your life. Examine each activity and responsibility and determine its overall importance to your life and your sanity at this point. Decide what level of importance each thing is.

Action step: One way I have done this is with a stack of index cards. On each index card, write a person or group of people in your life, an activity, responsibility, a hobby, a career. Then start putting those cards in order in front of you on the table. Literally, place the most important cards at the top, and add each additional card where it belongs. You will probably have to shift some cards around. You may find that some of those things you thought were so important really aren’t in the big picture. (note- you could also use post-it notes)


4. Learn to practice intentional neglect. In certain seasons of our lives, especially in times of being overwhelmed, it is completely alright to NOT do certain things. Or do things less often than you might normally like to.

Is it really going to matter if you change your sheets every week, or can you go 2, 3 or even 4 weeks? Convenience foods may be your only sanity right now, it is okay to use them. You may need to sweep your floors weekly, but mopping? You and your family will survive.

5. Ask for help. Admit to those around you that you need help. If you have friends or church members ask if you need help, tell them yes and give them something they can do to help.