Tips for Staying Sane When Life Feels Out of Control

By Kelley Boymer
13 Feb 2023
Tips for Staying Sane When Life Feels Out of Control

Feeling overwhelmed? Honestly, life feels pretty insane right now. Between the state of our world, the aftermath of COVID, inflation, political instability and horrifying news stories each and everyday–it’s no wonder we all feel burnt out, overwhelmed and depleted.

If you are overwhelmed you may feel more emotional, burnt out, stuck and like you can’t go on. Overwhelm can also lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger, irritability and worry.

But despite our world feeling a bit rocky right now (or a lot), there are things you can do to help stay sane and take care of yourself. Whether you are working overtime, trying to juggle work and parenting, struggling to make ends meet or struggling through personal issues– know you are not alone.

Today we’re talking about some ways to help you stay sane and take care of yourself when life feels out of control. Feeling those winter blues? Check out our post on 12 Ways to Beat The Winter Blues.

Tips for Staying Sane When Life Feels Out of Control

Slow Down

So this may feel totally impossible and contradictory to the feeling of overwhelm, but I promise you, if you make time to slow down you will not regret it. When we feel overwhelmed, we often feel like we don’t have the time to slow down, BUT that is actually when we need to slow down the most. There is a quote that says, “If you don’t have time to meditate for an hour everyday, you should meditate for two hours.” I’m not saying you have to meditate, but the general idea is that the more you don’t have time to slow down the more you need it.

So make time for calm and quiet. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, midday or before bed. Do yoga, meditate, drink a cup of coffee in the peace and quiet, go for a quiet walk, read, sit by the fireplace, just slow down and see what happens.

I have a friend who does what she calls a “rage walk” during her lunch break each day. This is a time to get outside and get out any negative energy that is building. It’s a reset midday when things are feeling hard. Personalize your “slow down” time but try to make time for it each and everyday! You will see so such a big shift in your mindset and ability to cope with life.

Spend Time with Cup Fillers Not Spillers

Cup fillers are the best! These are the people in your life that make you feel loved, joyful, safe, heard and appreciated. You know when you have spent time with a cup filler, because you feel lighter, re-energized, joyful and overall content.

Cup spillers are those who bring you down. You leave them feeling down, depleted, anxious, and sad. Cup spillers only add to your sense of overwhelm. Pay attention to how to feel after spending time with friends and family and prioritize the ones that fill your cup!

What Can You Eliminate?

If life is feeling overwhelming, there’s a good chance you are doing too much. Consider all the things you are doing in your life and see if there is anything you can take off your list. I recently felt incredibly overwhelmed and my therapist suggested having a conversation with my husband about our shared responsibility of household chores. I had gotten into the habit of doing everything while I was a stay at home mom, but when I went back to work part-time it was suddenly feeling like too much. Also, I was able to have a great conversation with my husband about my feeling of overwhelm and he has since been fully sharing all household responsibilities with me. It felt so good to be able to have this conversation, let go of resentment and not be drowning in laundry every week… literally!

What else can you eliminate from your life that is not serving you and adding overwhelm?

Let Go of Perfectionism

Oftentimes we feel the need to control and expect everything to be perfect. We live in a culture that feeds on perfectionism and it is incredibly hard not to fall victim to this. It is an intentional practice in letting go of that need to perfect and to control every little thing. Let me tell you, your house does not need to be spotless for your friends to come over. To be honest, they will appreciate it more if it isn’t, because it will give them permission not to clean the next time you come over. It normalizes that life is hard and things don’t always get done. That is okay. Everyone is okay and life will not end if you don’t vacuum.

In what ways are you living through perfectionism? How can you begin to show yourself some grace and lower the expectations?

Say No When You Need To

Right along with perfectionism, so many of us feel the need to say yes to everything. There are way too many events and activities in life to say yes to, it is simply just not practical to do everything. Saying yes to things you shouldn’t, only adds to your overwhelm and can also create the added stress of financial expense and less time to take care of the bare necessities. If you struggle to say no to things, you will often also find yourself having to cancel or bail last minute and this isn’t fair to you or those you committed to either. Choose your plans wisely and when you commit feel good about that commitment so you can follow through.

Having trouble making decisions? Listen to your body when you receive an invitation to do something. Does this create a feeling of stress or anxiety or does it make you feel excited? Let those natural responses help guide you in your decision making.

Sunday Meetings

My husband and I have recently started doing Sunday meetings and they have been so helpful in making us both feel good about moving into the week ahead. My husband works late most nights and doesn’t get home until 9 or 10pm. This can be hard on both of us, but it is helpful going into each week knowing which nights he will be home and which nights I will be solo with our son. This way I can make plans with friends or family or plan for a quiet night home by myself. We go over appointments for the week, who is doing drop off and pick up and any other planned events or activities.

We also try to do some meal planning and prep so that we have meals prepped for busy days and late nights. This helps to make the Sunday scares a little less scary and we feel more confident and prepared going into our week. It also ensures our week goes a little more smoothly and we are less likely to have those misunderstandings or accidents that can cause added stress.

Prioritize Yourself

As women, we often prioritize everyone around us before ourselves. If you are overwhelmed, that means you need to take better care of yourself. Take time to yourself so you can be your best self and able to help others. Whether that means waking up early to do an exercise class before the day begins or getting a massage more regularly. Consider what is it that you need in your life to stay sane.

Meal Prep

Weeks that I meal prep always go so much more smoothly than those that I don’t. I get it, things come up and sometimes the meal prep doesn’t happen and it’s just survival mode. But if you can try to prep for the coming week ahead of time, you will be so glad you did. I follow a few food bloggers that send recipes and weekly meal plans that make this prep work so easy. My favorites are The Healthy Maven and Simply Real Health. I will pick a few recipes that look healthy and delicious, make my grocery list and go grocery shopping. I will consider the prep time for each meal and the schedule for the week.

For example, Monday and Wednesday nights are always late work nights in our home and therefore I have to pull something together for dinner quickly. We always try to plan for leftovers on those nights, for example making a big crockpot meal or casserole on a Sunday and Tuesday. This is so helpful to make our week go more smoothly.

Simplify

Just like simplifying your home creates a more peaceful, calm mindset, simplifying your life will do this as well. You don’t need to do everything and be everywhere all at once. If that ballet class on Saturday mornings causes your family a lot of stress and your kid isn’t even into it, then maybe you can take it off the list. If you are part of a weekly girls’ night and it’s causing resentment with your partner and making you feel stressed maybe you only need to go once or twice a month. And if the girls night is the only thing keeping you sane, then keep doing you! Find what is working in your life and what isn’t and see if you can make some changes.

Ask For Help

I have several friends who are single moms and it is the hardest job in the entire world. It is also so incredibly hard for them to ask for help. They don’t want to inconvenience anyone and they feel like they have to do it all themselves. When life feels out of control, we need to ask for help. For our own sake and for the sake of those around us. We can’t function and be our best self when we are burnt out. When you need it, ask for help from those you love and trust. They will be happy to take your kids for an afternoon or grab groceries for you in a pinch.

Maybe asking for help means hiring someone to clean your house if you can manage the extra expense. Or maybe it means asking your partner to grab groceries on the way home or asking your mother-in-law to watch your child while you take some time for yourself. Ask your co-worker to help you plan something or join for a meeting. Ask for help and lessen the burden on yourself.

Take a Digital Detox

The news is incredibly depressing these days and I find I feel anxious every time I pick up my phone. Take a break from social media apps, the news and other outlets that cause you any added stress or overwhelm. There is enough going on in your own life you don’t need to add to it! Check out How to Do a Digital Detox for more tips!

Resources for Overwhelm:

Feeling overwhelmed? What are you doing to take care of yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

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