Life is busy, there’s no doubt about that.
There’s so much to do and so much to think about – and there are never enough hours in the day to do it all!
But the trick to staying on top of your life (without feeling overwhelmed) is to be more selective about how you spend your time and energy.
Trying to do everything all at once might seem like a good idea. But if you’re feeling anxious and exhausted every day, it’s probably not worth it.
If you constantly feel overwhelmed in life, it might be time to stop doing these 10 things.
1) Booking plans for every evening/weekend
Even if you’re the most social person on Earth, being busy 24/7 isn’t healthy for anyone. Everyone needs downtime occasionally.
Some people need more than others. If you’re an introvert, you might need one day every weekend. If you’re an extrovert, you might need just one day a month!
Either way, we all need our downtime. When you’re always busy with extracurricular activities and social plans, it leaves you with little time for anything else.
Making plans for the future, reflecting on mistakes (and successes), and doing some much-needed “life admin” gets left to the wayside.
And when you finally stop to think about everything you need to do, it doesn’t feel good. In fact, it feels overwhelming!
But taking some time out every now and then to get those things done – or at least make sure you’re on top of things – feels much better.
2) Neglecting your self-care
An old work colleague said to me once, “You always have to look after number one” – and I’ve never forgotten it since!
She was talking about how important it was to look after yourself, first and foremost. The work mattered, but it never mattered more than your own health and sanity.
In a relationship once, I started neglecting my health. I stopped going to the gym as much, didn’t eat as healthily, and stopped a lot of the self-care I used to enjoy.
Even basic things like doing my skincare routine at night and plucking my eyebrows once a month got left to the wayside.
But (perhaps unsurprisingly), it never made me feel good. In fact, it made me feel like I was constantly behind on everything I really wanted to do (i.e., my skincare routine!).
If you keep skipping your self-care to spend time with other people or do things for others, chances are, this isn’t helping your sense of being overwhelmed.
It’s probably making it worse! And it’s time to start looking after yourself if you want to feel better.
3) Giving up your time for other people
All relationships, even plutonic ones, require a bit of sacrifice.
Sometimes, you have to drop everything to help a friend. And sometimes, you have to give up your plans at the last minute if your partner needs help.
But like everything in life, there needs to be a balance. Time alone or “downtime” (i.e., time spent relaxing on the sofa doing absolutely nothing all day – not even showering if you don’t want to) is important for your overall wellbeing.
Giving up your downtime on occasion to help someone out is perfectly fine. But when it becomes a regular occurrence – and it’s impacting your own life – it isn’t fine anymore.
We all need time to ourselves and time to relax. And if your relationships are always pulling you this way and that, it can easily lead to you feeling overwhelmed.
And it might be time to start saying no (and stop feeling guilty about it!) when people ask for more than you can handle.
4) Letting people overstep your boundaries
Imagine bringing an apple into school every day and having your friend take it from you. The next day, they do the same. And the next, and the next, and the next.
You don’t want them to take your apple. You actually want to eat your apple. But still, every day you let them take it from you.
That’s what it means to have someone overstep your boundaries.
If someone is always borrowing money from you, using your things when you don’t want them to, or just taking advantage of your good heart – this doesn’t feel good.
In fact, it can feel a bit overwhelming. And no wonder – because you’re giving everything to everyone else at your own expense!
Setting boundaries with people isn’t always easy, especially when you haven’t had them in the past. But it can make you feel a million times better.
5) Consuming too much content
I remember when I was going through a bad breakup, I started watching a ton of videos, following inspirational accounts, listening to self-help audiobooks, and reading online articles.
Each one offered different advice – and some of it was conflicting (namely the videos made by people who weren’t professionals).
And having all that information swirling around in my head every day felt overwhelming – which wasn’t helping my situation at all.
Eventually, I decided to cut out the videos and read just a few articles every day – and it helped massively!
If your screentime is through the roof, and you feel overwhelmed most days, cutting down on the amount of content you consume could be just what you need, too.
6) Taking responsibility for everyone else
Some of us are known as the “responsible”, “organized”, or “sensible” people in our friendships or romantic relationships.
When you’re known as this person, it feels good. It gives you a purpose, a sense of maturity, and a reason to be around.
But the label can be a little overwhelming at times – especially when you’re expected to be the responsible person, instead of being it out of choice.
And it might be time to throw in the towel when it comes to looking after everyone else – and start taking responsibility for you (and only you!) instead.
7) Trying to “fix” people
A friend of mine had a boyfriend who – when he moved in with her – quit his job and moved thousands of miles away from his hometown.
For a long time, he was struggling. And she was always trying to “fix” him – sending him jobs, inviting him out with mutual friends, and looking up local hobbies for him.
She gave so much time and energy to him. All the while, he didn’t do anything (except let her look after him).
Trying to fix him all the time became exhausting for her. She was neglecting herself, her friendships, and her own hobbies because of it – and it was all getting too much.
Your situation may not be as bad as hers, but if you’re trying to “fix” the people in your life, this could be the reason why you feel overwhelmed all the time. And it might be time to stop.
8) People pleasing
People-pleasing has a similar effect as trying to “fix” people. It can lead you to feel exhausted and downright overwhelmed!
Nothing good ever comes from being a people pleaser. You can sacrifice everything you actually want in life when you focus on pleasing others rather than yourself.
As my colleague said, you have to look after number one – and people-pleasing ain’t the way to do that!
9) Setting big goals for yourself
There are so many benefits to having goals in life. Without a goal or a plan for the future, you might not end up with your dream career, fitness level, or family life.
But there is such a thing as setting too big of a goal for yourself. And striving for it when there’s so much to do in between achieving it just feels overwhelming.
Think about it this way, if you had a goal to lose 3 stone, it feels like a lot. But if you broke it down into losing a pound a week, it seems way less stressful!
The best kinds of goals are small, manageable, and realistic. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with your everyday life, it could be because you’re trying to do too much at once.
Slow down, check your goals, and stop stressing about getting everything done “ASAP”.
10) Being a perfectionist
Finally, one of the most important things to stop doing if you’re feeling overwhelmed is striving for perfectionism all the time.
Nobody is perfect – that’s just a fact. We’re all weird and wonderful in our own unique ways. And we all make mistakes from time to time.
Always wanting to be the best at everything – and constantly berating yourself when you “mess up” isn’t a nice way to treat yourself.
From someone who’s been there, done that, I also know that it doesn’t make you feel good. So cut yourself some slack every now and then!
We’re all going through life for the first time and learning as we go – so don’t worry too much about making mistakes or doing things wrong.
Tomorrow is always another day – and an opportunity to learn, grow, and do better (whatever “better” means for you!).
Running yourself into the ground isn’t going to do you any good – especially not long-term.
When you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed, it can chip away at your self-worth and overall mental health. It can even have an impact on your physical health over time.
Plus, feeling stressed all the time is no way to live. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your every day, try cutting out some (or all – if you’re feeling ambitious!) of these things.
And hopefully, you’ll be on your way to a brighter, less stressful future in no time!