10 Signs You’re Overwhelmed and How to Fix It

With the last few weeks of the semester approaching, it’s likely that we feel stressed out and scatterbrained. Self-care seems to get thrown out the window in the rush of it all, and it makes the situation feel worse. Along with finals, papers and the seemingly endless amount of homework left to complete, staying positive and focused becomes more of a challenge. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we’re doing, we don’t recognize how much of a toll it takes on our wellbeing. Luckily, I’ve come up with some great ways to help get through the final stretch of the semester peacefully.

1. Difficulty sleeping

With endless to-do lists fluttering around in our brains, getting a good night’s rest becomes harder to have. If you find yourself struggling with this frequently, something that may help is staying off your phone for the last hour or two of your day before you do go to bed. I know many of us like to lay in bed at night to do a last-minute scroll through social media to relax, but this is actually counterintuitive. The blue light emitted from your phone keeps your brain active longer even after you’ve put your phone down, leaving you tossing and turning more at night. Giving yourself time to truly relax at night without distractions and allowing your mind to unwind without all of the extra information will help you fall asleep quicker.

2. Always tired/sluggish

It’s common to feel mentally and physically exhausted when facing a lot of pressure. It can be tempting to procrastinate and avoid our responsibilities by sleeping too much and distracting ourselves with miscellaneous things. Something you can do to make things easier on you is to create a schedule for yourself. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day; break tasks down into small fragments that make it easier to accomplish; and make time for self-care. When you schedule your time and do things with purpose, it will keep you from feeling lazy or lethargic.

3. Lack of energy

It is so important to take care of yourself just as much as you take care of your responsibilities. Your health and wellbeing should always be a priority, so it’s essential that you engage in activities you love to revamp your spirit and keep you motivated to keep working hard. Fuel yourself with healthy whole foods, do some light exercise or just get your body moving. Whatever it is that feeds your soul, don’t let it fall behind when you find yourself being extremely busy.

4. High-strung/anxious

You know that moment when you’re extremely stressed and something as little as bumping into a wall makes you freak out a little? I used to think that it was me just being dramatic but turns out it’s called sensory overload! This is very real, and it is your body’s way of telling you that you need to take a step back and relax. Again, in times like these, it is crucial to take time for yourself and instill self-care tactics.

Courtesy of Unsplash

5. Stressed out

A lot of times we experience stress because we keep everything rattled up in our brains, and I find that writing things out is very therapeutic. Things become so much easier to handle once we’ve laid it out for us to visually see. We can begin to plan our next move and release some of the tension from our brain. Keeping a journal or a planner to plan out your schedule and to visualize all your assignments will give you the mental space to figure out how you want to handle things and makes accomplishing tasks simpler.

6. Loss of appetite/overeating

This rarely gets talked about when discussing the factors of stress, and I feel like it’s so important to recognize. Overeating or not eating enough can impact our bodies more than we think. This can deplete our energy levels and lead to higher anxiety, leaving us more overwhelmed than before. This is why it’s so important to maintain a constant eating schedule filled with whole foods. This will keep us feeling energized and fueled to take on each day with strength.

7. Difficulty focusing

Feeling distracted? Procrastinating? Or you just can’t seem to sit still? Then don’t. If you’re really struggling to sit down and get something done, then get up and move your body. Exercising is a great way to release all of that built up tension and anxiety and will release endorphins into your brain making you feel lighter and more energized to get to work. Something as simple as going for a walk outside or having a dance party in your room will help get you into the mental space to start focusing.

8. Lack of motivation

It’s natural to dread certain assignments. Everyone struggles to get things done sometimes, but it’s important to remember that it’s not about the condition. It’s the decision. Relying on motivation is never a good idea, rather we should focus on discipline to get us through stressful times. Reminding yourself of what your goals are and recognizing that even though this may be a tedious step, it’s still an essential one to get you to where you want to be.

9. Keeping to yourself more

If you’re naturally the social butterfly of your friend group and you find that you’re not looking forward to going out or seeing friends, this is a red flag that you’re overwhelmed. Stress can really take a toll on our social lives, so it’s important to find a balance between the two. No matter what’s going on, set aside some time to see your friends. Even if it’s for something as simple as getting a coffee, get out of the house and spend time with people who make you happy.

10. Moody/emotional

This is a big one. The intensity of stress can affect our emotions internally. We can get really frustrated with ourselves when we struggle to complete something or when we’re not able to grasp concepts as quickly. This is all natural, but it shouldn’t hold so much weight over us. Refuse to carry this burden, and trust that everything will work out in the end. Something I do when I’m feeling really wound up, I write out my emotions on a sheet of paper to express them all. Then, I’m able to refocus and get to work. Listening to an upbeat soundtrack is also a great way to help lift your spirit and rebalance your inner self.

No matter how overwhelmed you may feel, the stress is never more important than your wellbeing. Take everything one step at a time and focus on accomplishing things with purpose. You are intelligent, kind and courageous. There is nothing you can’t accomplish.