Feeling Overwhelmed? How To Overcome It...

For me, this week has been filled with uncertainty and the persistent state of questioning myself and my abilities. Oftentimes, I felt like an imposter… how did I get here, why am I finding things difficult? Why am I struggling with time management? Why do I continue to overplan? Especially during this lockdown period I have struggled with confidence. Deep down, I had been telling myself that I am ok but in reality I was on the brink of burnout.

Bit of a backstory, this week, I spent time building some new Ikea furniture for my new room. Midway through the assembly of the Brimnes bookcase, I had this urge to almost break everything. Had I not come to my senses and realised that I am Nigerian, and that it would be reckless to waste such money, that bookcase would cease to exist. Nevertheless, the desire to break it was still there. In retrospect, I realised that I wasn’t really that angry at building the furniture, I was simply annoyed by the amount of time I had wasted when I had so many other commitments to worry about. This was the point where I realised I needed to refocus and get things together. That’s what drove me to write this blog post - how to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed.

This isn’t the first time that I have felt exhausted. Typically, by the time I get to this point in the year it’s pretty much expected. But I think the real difficulty is being able to recognise you’re feeling overwhelmed and then being able to pull yourself out of it. So how do you do it?


In the words of Blu Cantrell and Sean Paul - please BREATHE. This is often an overlooked step but you’d be surprised by its impact. Stop what you are doing and take a deep breath - honestly it will give you some time to think about what is really bothering you. Some of the benefits of taking a deep breath include, decreasing your stress levels, reducing anxiety, slowing down your heart rate as well as other things.

Meditate on it

Take the time out to stay still and live in the moment. Meditation is a brilliant way to clear the mind and is useful for everyone, irrespective of whether you are religious or spiritual. As a Christian, meditation allows me to hear God’s voice more clearly. In fact, there was no way I would have written this blog post, if it wasn’t for this. Some people recommend the use of apps such as Headspace, Calm and the Mindfulness App. For some, using a timer on your phone is sufficient. Do whatever works for you.

Write down your priorities

A critical step for those who feel overwhelmed - write down your priorities. There are a number of benefits in doing this, including the ability to contextualise the number of things on your plate. I did this exercise recently by writing all the things I need to do and noting down the number of hours I should allocate to each task. By listing out my priorities I was able to plan accordingly, temporarily stop doing things to buy me some time and also plan how much time to allocate to each priority in a week.

Take a break

This is often overlooked, but you need to factor in time for yourself. Try to set aside time for yourself each day. When it gets to a certain time in the evening, I tend to stop doing work and wind down. Also, have some time to yourself in the week, where you stop doing everything and just relax.

Leave your house

This. Even if it is standing in your garden for a few minutes or going for an hour walk or run. Leave your house. It’s unhealthy to spend countless hours staring at your screen. Get some fresh air. When stressed, doing something outdoors will help clear your mind. Eventually, this will allow you to refocus your energy on the tasks you need to complete.

Sign out of socials

Take some time off social media. Sometimes it's very easy to get sucked into the world of social media. By signing out from time to time, you will be able to reclaim some alone time. It’s so easy to forget how dangerous social media can be. Especially when scrolling, it is unusual for your brain to take in so many opinions at once. Reduce your social media usage and put yourself first!

Talk to someone

The worst thing to do when you are experiencing burnout is to isolate yourself. By doing so your feelings of loneliness and isolation will be amplified and this will affect the relationships you have with other people. Talk to your friends and family and keep your loved ones close. Ensure that you reschedule your plans if you need to - being transparent with those you made arrangements with is imperative. Additionally, make use of any university ‘safety nets’ (if you even want to call it that) especially during this period. Apply for extenuating circumstances if that is what you need.

Those are my 7 tips on how to deal with feeling overwhelmed. Remember, be easy on yourself, we are in challenging times. You’re doing a great job!

Written by Bimpe Adeyemi (Co-founder of The Black & Forth Platform)


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