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4 Things to Do When You Wake Up Feeling Overwhelmed

What To Do When You Wake Feeling Overwhelmed

Note: Watch my video presentation on this topic here. 

I woke up one morning recently feeling completely overwhelmed. I was already feeling tired and then right before bed, Silas threw up. Which meant that I got very little sleep because I spent a lot of the night caring for him and dealing with throw up.

On top of that, I was in the middle of my book launch, so I had 10 to 25 extra projects on my plate each day, in addition to my regular responsibilities. My manager Joy was also in town, and we had a packed agenda to get through.

I walked downstairs to my kitchen after waking up, and I found a sink full of dirty dishes and the trash overflowing. In that moment, I felt like there was so much I needed to do and had so many people counting on me.

I felt SO overwhelmed in that moment, and I realized I had a choice to make. I could be discouraged and have a bad attitude all day long, or I could choose to turn my day around.

What To Do When You Wake Feeling Overwhelmed

Here is what I did to turn my day around, and I want to encourage you to try these simple steps next time you’re having one of those overwhelming mornings…

1. Ask yourself why.

When I stopped to ask myself why I was overwhelmed and listed off the reasons in my head, it seemed much less overwhelming. It put everything into perspective for me and helped me come back down to reality.

I realized that the three things that were making me feel out of control were my messy kitchen, the bedding that had throw-up on it and needed to be washed, and my unpacked suitcases upstairs in my bedroom.

2. Make a short list.

My husband helped me figure out a few things that I had to get done that morning to feel less overwhelmed. Once I had on paper the few things that I absolutely had to do in order to get my day on track, I felt so much better.

What To Do When You Wake Up Feeling Overwhelmed

{Speaking of doing things that make you happy, we took our current read-aloud to First Watch last Friday and enjoyed a yummy lunch date with Daddy and a good book. Such a great way to top off the week… You can never go wrong with hot cocoa and lots of whipped cream!!}

3. Do something that makes you happy.

Sometimes we need a “shot of happy”. That day, I lit a candle, turned on music that uplifted my spirits, and counted my blessings.

Counting my blessings helps me realize just how much I have to be thankful. Having that spirit of gratitude helped put my heart and mind in the right place for the rest of the day.

4. Jump in and do the next thing.

I knew that the tipping point was my kitchen. So after lighting the candle, turning on music, and counting my blessings, I attacked my kitchen with a vengeance.

Once I did that next thing with a good attitude, my entire perspective was changed for the day. I felt like I had accomplished so much, I felt more at peace, and I felt like I could breathe again.

I realize these are first world problems and pale in comparison to what some of you are going through, but I share this with you to encourage those of you who have overwhelming mornings like this.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Better yet, what do you do to give yourself that instant shot of happy? 🙂

My Natural Xanax

P.S. My chiropractor told me these two oils together are like natural Xanax. And at the end of a really physically exhausting and emotionally stressful few months, I’m all, “Bring on the natural Xanax!” I’ve been testing them out together for the past few days (putting them on the bottoms of my feet twice a day) and I can truly tell a difference!

Who would have thought I’d be such an oil fanatic?? And here’s where you probably expect the sales pitch… Only I don’t sell oils. I buy and love multiple brands! 🙂

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  • Laura M says:

    Never heard of First Watch, what is it?

  • Kaitlin says:

    I find that there seems to be a “tipping point.” It seems like your kitchen was your tipping point! That’s usually mine too! I don’t know what it is about a messy kitchen that puts my head into a tail spin!

    I love the suggestion to count your blessings! Sometimes its important to look at our stressful situations as blessings instead. It certainly is a blessing that you had a kitchen full of messy dishes because that means your family was fed the night before. What a blessing!

    Loved this post! Thanks, Crystal for always sharing so much wisdom!

  • Michelle fritsch says:

    Do you put the oils directly on your feet or combine with water? Where do you normally puchase these

  • Jen says:

    I would add a couple more things. First, see what can be delayed until another day (i.e. do you really need to catch up on your filing or can it wait until tomorrow?). Second, ask for help if you can (i.e. can your partner do that grocery store run?).

    • K says:

      What do you do when there’s no partner, hubby, or family to help, no one to delegate to, & the finances aren’t there to hire help?

      • Antonella says:

        I would chime in suggesting to see if there’s something that can be deleted from your to do list (Crystal wrote something about it recently): no need to do something unless it’s truly truly truly important! For ex. no need to have the house perfectly company ready, just reasonably clean.
        Secondly, I would look about bartering for help. Could you watch a couple kids and in exchange have the lawn mowed or something like that?

        Hang in there in this difficult season!
        Hugs from Italy

      • Maryalene says:

        That’s the position I’m in K…no husband or family to call for help. I usually deal with feeling overwhelmed in a couple ways.

        First, I try to see if I can push something back. I’m a freelance writer so I may email my editor and ask for an extension on whatever is due that day.

        Then, I usually try to take a nap. I’m more likely tired if I’m feeling overwhelmed so I let my little one watch cartoons, and I try to lay down for a few minutes to recharge.

        Finally, if neither of those work, I try a change of scenery. Maybe go outside, take a walk or head to the library. Usually I never want to do those things (I’d rather wallow in bed) but I find that when I force myself, it often changes my attitude about the day and gives me a boost of energy.

        Hope this h!elps

      • Jen says:

        Like I said, “if you can”. I have found that a lot of women, myself included, find it difficult to ask for help sometimes. I’ve been working on opening myself up to ask for assistance the past couple of years and have found that people like to be needed! 🙂

  • I can’t wait to try the two oils you recommended! I was so skeptical of oils for such a long time, but my husband gave me some for Christmas last year and I love them. It’s amazing what they can do for you mood. I love to make all my own cleaning products, so I love customizing my cleaners with the different scents.

  • Stephanie Douglas says:

    Hi! I’m a long time reader. I’ve been getting more and more into oils lately. While I don’t doubt the doTerra brand produces good oils, I found that there are some other brands run by certified aromatherapists that I really like! I’m on a Facebook group called Using Essential Oils Wisely that has given me so much information on how to use Eos safely (especially around children). They turned me on to both Plant Therapy oils and Eden’s Garden oils, which are affordable and high quality!

  • Angel says:

    Is that a Bible study or gratitude journal in today’s photo? Looks intriguing!

  • Yasir Khan says:

    There are many things that you can do to counter the feeling of being overwhelmed and I totally agree with this “Do something that makes you happy. Sometimes we need a “shot of happy”. ” because your happiness will erase all the negativities in your mind and body. It will reenergize you and give you positive outlook that life is beautiful no matter what.

  • Vanessa says:

    I read your post on Facebook this morning and it hit a chord! My kitchen and living room are messy (I have been unwell yesterday), and as a result I was all over the place getting the children ready for school – This made me sad, angry, frustrated and I feel really awful that I lost my temper with the children over trivial things and we were a tad late BECAUSE OF ME.
    I’ve just done what you’ve recommended – Made a list, and instead of slouching on the internet for an hour, and rushing around right before pick up, I’m going to tackle the mess and clutter head on (right after writing this post!).
    It really hit a chord when I read it and it made me realise that most of the time I am so stressed and anxious because I don’t do the things I really NEED to do, but the things I WANT and this leads to conflict.
    I will definitely be following this advice from now on and hopefully will be braver in tackling problems head on!
    Thank you so much 🙂

  • Cyndi says:

    Any ideas on where that mug can be purchased? It would be a perfect Christmas gift for a couple of my friends.

  • Robyn says:

    I have never bought an essential oil, but might just give these a try.

    I do take medication for anxiety, and one of them is xanax. My first thought when I read your comment…has she ever actually TAKEN xanax? Because, seriously, it works miracles in my body. (But I don’t take it often…only when I’m truly in the middle of a panic attack…)

  • Sandy says:

    Oh, thank you! You have no idea how applicable this is to my morning. I’m glad I decided to pop on here this morning. Now off to clean my kitchen and do the wash while counting my blessings!

  • BethB says:

    Thank you for this post! We just got back from a weeklong trip to Disney World, we all have colds, I’m behind in my holiday and end of year planning, and last night I became completely overwhelmed by all that needs to happen in the next 3.5 weeks. This post was a reminder that I need to calm down, take a moment to figure out a game plan, and adjust my mindset so I’m not a walking stress ball.

    When I’m feeling this way it helps me to play some soothing music, drink a cup of something warm, and spend a little bit of time calming myself before making an action plan. Off to get that done now!

  • Jodi says:

    Yes, that was me this morning! I had a struggle with getting my son to school, and my nerves were frazzled. I made my usual to-do list, and told myself to start with one quick thing. Then I just went on to the next. I’m not yet feeling quite calm, but maybe your candle idea might help. I just bought myself a new Yankee Candle!

  • Jessica says:

    I get out my yarn. If I need mindless, then I crochet. If I need to focus on something, I get out the knitting because I only just learned 2 months ago.

  • Patti A says:

    I have been feeling overwhelmed lately. Nothing as drastic as vomit on my sheets but messy kitchen and house and just time going by too quickly and I feel like it is getting out of hand. I would say just start with the most urgent things and then sit down and start planning. Vomit on sheets shouldn’t sit so toss that in the wash, load the dishwasher and then make a cup of coffee and take a few minute to write down what needs to be down. Break it down and then figure out what has to be done today and what can wait and maybe schedule the other things. I know when I start seeing progress even small progress it helps so maybe work on something with more immediate results and that will give you more energy to do the tougher projects.

    I have a lot of projects to do in the next few weeks so I am working on getting stuff ready for the projects so when it is time to do them it will go more smoothly. Be kind to yourself to, maybe a little treat to help you through the week a few minutes to do something to rejuvenate.

  • Kelli B says:

    Great tips! Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes and that feeling only becomes more prevalent as we approach the holidays (which should be a time for enjoying loved ones not feeling super stressed out). I find that when I’m stressed out, making a list of “must-do” tasks and prioritizing them helps me feel organized and like “I can do this”!

  • Bre says:

    Where can I find that mug? 🙂 Great tips!!

  • sarah Meagher says:

    Love the post, going through huge bouts of anxiety right now, life is just gah! Really. Panic attacks daily almost, I love the essential oil idea ( I use them now but don’t have any relaxation blends, I do have a good one for adhd) I need to get more so I can make up some better blends.. Also I wanted to note (not sure anyone else did, what you said about talking to your husband about what was going that is another things I think you should do when feeling overwhelmed communicate with someone.

  • Michelle says:

    What’s a good non-doTerra alternatives for the essential oils?

  • Renee says:

    Great post! How do these oils compare to the “Peace & Calming” oil?

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