Skip to main content
a person with too much pancake on his plate

Overwhelmed by having too much on your plate?

The start of 2024 has already been “big” for me personally and professionally and as a consequence, it took me until last week to sit quietly and ask myself, “How am I doing”.  The result was that I burst into tears and realised that I had been feeling quite overwhelmed for weeks.  Some of my friends and colleagues also seem to be “at the end of their tether”, hence this blog…. perhaps this overwhelm is a common experience at the moment.

Being emotionally overwhelmed means “to be completely submerged by your thoughts and emotions about all of life’s current problems, to the point where you lack efficacy and feel frozen or paralyzed”.

When we experience emotional overwhelm, it can feel all-consuming. For the many people who will face this feeling at some point in their lives, it entails being completely overcome by intense and unruly emotions that are too challenging to manage and overcome. 

It can be difficult to think logically or act rationally, and even function in a normal way. The experience of overwhelm is uncomfortable, and the causes and effects can spill into our personal and professional life.

Common experiences that can lead to emotional overwhelm can include:

  • Physical or mental health illness
  • Relationship issues
  • A demanding job
  • Financial distress and insecurity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Significant life events
  • Time constraints
  • Death of a loved one
  • Habitual lack of sleep
  • Personal trauma 

Sometimes, overwhelm is a result of trying to manage when there is simply too much going on in our lives.  Sometimes we even help create our own overwhelm by lack of boundaries, attempting to control everything and setting unrealistic expectations of ourselves as “Human Doings”.

Unfortunately, feeling overwhelmed is a common experience for many people. It’s also common for us to attempt to ignore or suppress these feelings and “soldier on”. If unheeded, feelings of overwhelm can lead to anxiety, depression and panic attacks. From this perspective, feeling overwhelmed is a valuable signal to us that something we are doing is out of alignment with our wellbeing.

We can begin to break unhealthy cycles in the way we deal with stress and overwhelm by acknowledging our feelings, practicing compassionate self-talk, giving ourselves space to reground and planning our approach. Regardless of the reason, if you feel the onset of overwhelm, there are ways to help you move through it. 

My personal approach was to revisit some of the information and practices that I wrote into our Certificate III in Personal Empowerment course. Thankfully, it worked and I’m enjoying a more peaceful inner experience despite some ongoing external turmoil.

Click here for an excerpt on “Dealing with Emotional Overwhelm” from our Certificate III in Personal Empowerment course. 

Our 12 week “Well Being and Life Balance” course starts on Tuesday 26th March, 2024Click here to express your interest – we have a couple of places left for people who choose to be their healthiest and happiest version of themselves this year.


Keep smiling,

Donna Mortlock