Drücke „Enter”, um zum Inhalt zu springen.

What to do when feeling totally overwhelmed?

Stefanie Schornsheim 2

When I talk with people about their anxiety, this is the most common thing I hear:

„The coping strategies sound good, but they don’t work when I’m overwhelmed…“

Can you relate? Continue reading ⬇️


I know this feeling and for a long time, I was convinced that there is nothing I could do to interrupt the wave of an upcoming panic attack. The same goes for the stress swirl: When you have so many tasks, there is this feeling of being overwhelmed so much that you just cannot do anything. It’s like constantly being exhausted.

But there is a way out. Here’s how I dealt with it.

First, let’s put situations on the table where you can feel overwhelmed. This could be:

✦ Being in the middle of a panic attack or feeling that one is coming

✦ Fearing something and not having a plan how to deal with it

✦ Having too many tasks to do and a deadline is close

✦ Having an argument and running out of things to say / feeling inferior

✦ Realizing you made a mistake without noticing it


And by physical I mean when your body reacts to a trigger. This can be an incoming panic or anxiety attack, this can be other symptoms.

What worked for me was getting out of the situation. Get out of the room, get fresh air, get away from a discussion, get away from whatever the trigger was.

The key here is to STOP what you were doing and sort your feelings and thoughts.

When I was with a person who I trust, we did some exercises together like the grounding method:

When I was with my partner, he held my hands (sometimes it helped me get back to reality when he squeezed them) or he gave me a powerful hug. He held me so tight and breathed in a slow rhythm so my body started syncing to his breath and calmed me down.

When I was alone but felt like I needed support, I tried to call people I trust. They did the grounding exercise with me over the phone or assured me via text multiple times that I am okay, that everything else is okay, that the attack will be over soon.

When I was alone and not able to reach anyone, I did the grounding method alone while being outside breathing fresh air.

Disclaimer: This is no medical advice. Talk to your doctor before trying any of these coping strategies by yourself.


By emotional, I mean reacting with very strong emotions. Like when you suddenly feel very angry or super sad and fear an outbreak in either direction.


Like with physical reactions, it’s best to leave the situation. When you’re having an argument, it is okay to say that you need a break and will continue discussing it further. But if you feel like you cannot be honest in this situation you can also use excuses like:

🚽 „I really need to go to the toilet, can we continue in a sec?“ No one would say no to that.

⏰ „I am sorry, I have a meeting/call now. Let me check if I can move it.“ No one can say no to that.

🩺 „I feel very dizzy at the moment, can we please continue later?“ No one should say no to that (as you could theoretically faint).

These white lies are innocent and could give you a moment of rest to sort out your emotions and prepare before getting back in a rather uncomfortable situation.


When the overwhelming feeling comes from internal pressure and anxiety like there are too many tasks and the deadline is around the corner, it is also important to leave that situation.

If you stay in this situation, those feelings will block you. It’s gonna be very hard to move forward. Taking five minutes to get away from all tasks is more efficient. What’s really helping is doing a short writing meditation to get all your feelings out on paper and, to some extent, out of your way.

In those 5 minutes, you’re writing down everything that comes to your mind. Writing will slow down your thoughts which has a calming effect as well.

When you finished writing, take a deep breath and tell yourself you can deal with this.

Now, with this calmer state of mind, write down all tasks on sticky notes and prioritize them. Only the ones that are important and urgent are the ones to deal with right now. Everything else you can postpone or even drop. And think about collaboration. Who can support you in dealing with the pressing tasks? Can you delegate parts of them?

What helped me focus on tasks when I tend to feel overwhelmed by the workload is the Pomodoro Technique.


The Pomodoro Technique helps you focus for a manageable amount of time on one task before taking a break. The name means „tomato“ in English and comes from those tomato-shaped kitchen alarm clocks 🤣

This technique applies to work, establishing new habits, trying out something new, or doing anything else.

He’s how it works:

✔️ Make a list of the urgent and important tasks you want to do.
✔️ Order them by priority.
✔️ Set a timer to 25 minutes and start working on the first task on the list.
✔️ After 25 minutes, set a timer to 5 minutes and go on a break.
✔️ When you return, start the next Pomodoro and repeat the process until the task(s) are done.
✔️ After every 4th Pomodoro, take a longer break (15-30 minutes)

When you’re feeling like being in a flow, you can also decide to ditch the 5-minute break and continue with another Pomodoro right away. But if you do this, you have to take a break after the second Pomodoro.

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert