Feeling Overwhelmed by Life? 7 Steps to Calming Your Mind During Hard Times

When life feels like it’s too much to handle these 7 steps will help when overcoming overwhelm.

Do you struggle with feeling overwhelmed by all the things all the time because there’s so much going on in your life? You still have your regular life of taking care of your people, taking care of yourself, and working and serving. You’ve reached the point where you just don’t know what to do. Today, I want to share seven steps to help you overcome this overwhelming feeling that you get during hard times.

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If I can name one feeling that is constantly with me when life is really really hard, it would be overwhelm. I hear from so many of you that you also struggle with feeling overwhelmed because there are relational problems, financial problems, or health problems. Life is just really hard and everything seems to be coming at you all at once and you don’t know what to do.

Over the years, I’ve learned that this feeling of overwhelm really stems from feeling like you need to be in control of all the things. You feel overwhelmed because you can’t control it. I had to learn how to calm myself down and how to quiet my mind so that I could actually do the things that I needed to do.

I had to learn how to trust God without running myself into the ground trying to figure out all the answers, figure out all the solutions, and do all the things that led to me being overwhelmed in the first place. Today let’s explore how you can use these seven steps that I’m going to tell you about to overcome overwhelm so that you can walk through hard times well. You can be well-rested and feel safe and secure in your faith and knowing that God is in control.

Overcoming Overwhelm Step #1: Do a Brain Dump

The first step in overcoming overwhelm is to take some time to sit down and figure out what is actually going on in your mind. What is it that’s plaguing you all day, waking you up at night, or keeping you from having peace? Sit down, get a pen and your journal, and dump all of that on the page. Every situation that’s not going well and every thought that you’re having that’s not bringing you peace. Just get it all out of your head.

This is something I talk about a lot with my coaching clients because when you’re going through hard times, you have so much that’s on your mind. There’s so much that’s on your heart, and you carry that around with you and it’s too much. You need to get it out of your head, out of your heart, and onto paper so that you can stop carrying it around with you. Once it’s on paper you can actually deal with it and do something about it.

Walking through a hard time and aren’t sure how to climb out of your pit of despair and move forward? Get to the root of the problem by learning to manage your emotions and negative thoughts so you can learn how to recognize God’s presence in the messy middle of pain and suffering with a Peace-Filled Mind™ coaching session

Overcoming Overwhelm Step #2: Focus On 1 Thing 

Step two, once you’ve done this brain dump, is to choose one thing to focus on. Remember this overwhelm comes from feeling like you need to control everything, and so you have to learn to slow down and take one thing at a time. Ask yourself what is the thing that’s most pressing. What is it that’s causing you the most anxiety, the most worry, or the most heartache in your life?

What is that one thing? I know you may feel like it’s everything. I’ve been there but pick one thing to start with. If you have to flip a coin, flip a coin. Choose a random number, whatever you need to do, but pick one thing to focus on. The simple act of getting everything out of your head and then picking one thing to focus on, those two things alone are going to help alleviate a lot of overwhelm that you’re feeling.

Overcoming Overwhelm Step #3: Break Down into Baby Steps

Step three is to take that one thing that you’ve decided to focus on and figure out what needs to happen or what you want to do about it. Write it all down. If the problem is coming up short every single month with the bills. Think through what you need to do. You might need to make sure that you have all of your bills and know what they are and have the amounts and when they’re due.

Maybe you want to see if you can extend some payments or make changes to your budget. Maybe you need to pick up some more hours at work. Whatever those steps are write them out. Anything that’s on your heart, all of your ideas on how to fix the thing, get it out of your head and onto paper.

Overcoming Overwhelm Step #4: Choose a Baby Step

Step four is to look at the list that you’ve written down and find one baby step that you can do right away. In the example that I just gave about the bills, your baby step could be sitting down and getting all of your bills together so you know what you need to pay and the dates that it’s due. Can you go out back and find a money tree and suddenly have all the money to pay your bills right away? No, but you can keep it simple and make a list of the bills, their amounts, and when they’re due. That’s a baby step.

You choose a baby step because even this idea of writing down all the steps can cause more overwhelm. You look at the list all you see is all the things that need to be done. You don’t want to do that. You want to keep your focus small. What is one teeny tiny thing that moves you forward? Now take that baby step and break it into baby steps. You can pick up a teeny tiny baby step from that.

One micro-step that you can actually do – no pie in the sky, magic here. Just one thing, something that’s super practical, that you could actually do preferably something that you can do within the hour.

Overcoming Overwhelm Step #5: Find Accountability and Support

Once you have your baby step, step five is to find accountability and support. You were not made to go through hard times on your own and it becomes really, really hard when you isolate yourself and go through things on your own. Look at your baby step, the thing that you’re focusing on, and figure out what kind of accountability you need to make sure that you do the things that you know need to get done.

Then, what kind of support or help do you need in order to accomplish that? Do you need somebody to give you a ride? Do you need somebody to come and sit down with you and go over your budget with you because they’re really good at budgeting and finances and you struggle because it’s not your strong suit? Do you need somebody who can take your kids for a little bit so you can have some time to work on things? 

I’ve shared before that this past summer I was really focused on resting and working on my mental health because I was in a really bad place. I needed a lot of accountability and I needed a lot of support. I needed to go to my doctor. I needed to go to therapy. I needed to talk with the mentor.

I also needed to have friends who were reaching out and praying for me. I needed to make sure that I was taking my meds exactly the way I was supposed to, showing up for my appointments, journaling, exercising, eating well, and getting rest. I needed to make sure that I was doing all the things to take care of myself.

It would not have happened without accountability, without people who had permission to be all up in my business. Asking if I went to therapy. I had support from people that I knew were praying for me and encouraging me along the way. I was able to text my therapist during a rough patch to share how I was able to cope and think clearly, and she responded by telling me I did awesome therapeutic work.

I was able to have that support and that encouragement, and it really made a big difference in my overwhelm. Nothing about my situation changed, and it’s probably the same thing for you. Situations don’t change instantly, not super fast, not in the way that you want them to. You have to learn how to find peace, stay at peace, and lean on God no matter what is going on. Eliminating this overwhelm will help you do that. 

Overcoming Overwhelm Step #6: Celebrate Your Success

Now it’s time to celebrate your wins. I know you might be thinking that you can’t think of any wins because everything is hard, nothing is going right, and you feel like it’s a battle just to get up every single day and do what needs to be done. I hear you, I get it. I’ve been there. I have the same struggle, but there’s always a win somewhere. God is always doing something, there’s always something to be grateful for, and when you learn to celebrate even the small things, you are going to feel better, even in the midst of your hard times.

This summer, when I remembered to take my medicine that was a win, that was a success, because I got a good night’s sleep. I was able to do more things, and I would celebrate that. I feel so well-rested because I took my medicine like I was supposed to, and exercised, and I actually ate food and I took care of myself. I had all this energy so I was able to take 30 minutes and do something for myself. I was able to paint or I checked out a new book from the library. 

It doesn’t have to be big and extravagant, just celebrate when things are going well. Look for those things that are going well and change your mindset from looking at all the ick that’s going on to focusing on what is actually going right. 

Overcoming Overwhelm Step #7: Trust God and Rest

Step seven is to leave the rest up to God. I never told you to go back to your list and pick new steps. You can but that’s not to true goal of this exercise, to check off all the things on your list. The key to overcoming overwhelm is getting it all out of your mind so you can stop thinking about it. Stop ruminating on it, going around and around and around about how bad everything is. Do what you can do and leave everything else up to God because ultimately, he is the one that is in control.

He is sovereign, he knows all, and he sees all. He has a plan that you are usually not privy to, at least not a hundred percent of the plan. You have to learn to get out of his way and stop trying to fix it yourself because you want to be in control or you feel like God is taking too long. Just leave it up to God and get some rest.

Final Thoughts on Overcoming Overwhelm

You’re often overwhelmed because you are spending so much energy thinking about all the things, trying to do all the things. Just rest. Learn how to trust and know in your soul that God has you, that he loves you, that he cares about you, and that he is fighting for you. He’s right there with you try to rest in that.

The more that you can learn to rest in that, the stronger your faith is going to be, and the more you’re going to be able to enjoy your life. Yes, you can enjoy life even when things aren’t going well. You’re going to have so much more peace in your mind, in your heart, and in your home. You’ll be able to walk through these hard times well, instead of being stressed and overwhelmed all of the time.

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These 7 steps will help when overcoming overwhelm so you can have a calm mind during hard times.

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