Inside: Use these habits to help prevent overwhelm in your life so you can get more done with less stress.

Feeling overwhelmed?

You definitely aren’t alone.

Many of us struggle with some degree of overwhelm as we navigate our lives – and it’s easy to see why.

Think about all of the obligations you’re currently juggling. You’ve got to go to work. You want to maintain your friendships and support your family. You’ve got personal commitments – your health, your hobbies, your goals.

On top of it all, you need to navigate the everyday tasks and obligations that come your way – like preparing meals and keeping your home from looking like a disaster zone.

It can feel like a lot for anyone to manage so it’s natural to get a bit overwhelmed from time to time. 

But I’ve got some good news.

There are things you can do to stop feeling so overwhelmed. And it doesn’t involve massive, life-changing, time-consuming effort.

Instead, you can make a dramatic change in your life through habits.

By incorporating a handful of small but meaningful habits into your life, you can take action to prevent overwhelm, boost your happiness and productivity, and improve your life.

habits to help prevent overwhelm

What are habits – and how can they help me stop feeling overwhelmed? 

So, what is a habit?

A habit is any repeatable action that you perform regularly.

You already have habits – even if you don’t think you do. Brushing your teeth in the morning, making your bed before you begin your day, drinking your coffee each morning from your favorite spot in the house – all of those things are habits. 

The great thing about habits is that after you’ve made them they’re virtually effortless. They’re actions you perform so regularly, that you don’t even think about them.

Building positive, helpful habits into your routine is a simple way to make life easier by eliminating the energy required to tackle those tasks.

That’s the power of habits – and the reason they can help you feel less overwhelmed.

By taking the effort and thought out of doing certain things, you can reserve that energy for bigger, more daunting tasks.

habits to help prevent overwhelm

7 Habits to Help Prevent Overwhelm in Your Life

Not sure which habits help to prevent overwhelm in your life? While everyone’s situation is slightly different, here are a handful of habits that can make a positive difference for virtually everyone:

1. Review your morning routine.

Your morning routine sets the tone for your entire day. Consider your morning habits. Are they working for you?

If they aren’t consider how you can adjust them to get yourself in the right mindset to begin the day.

If you have a busy day or week ahead and feel like you don’t have enough time to get everything done, consider if waking up a bit earlier would help.

Most of us are exhausted by the end of the day. Even if we stay up late, we aren’t as productive once the sun goes down and we’re lounging around in our pajamas. 

Everyone is different so think about your energy levels and when you do your best work.

Test waking up a little earlier and starting your day off by reading, walking, writing, or whatever task you think would benefit you most. See how it works for you. You may find you need to go to bed a bit earlier in order to get enough rest.

how to set goals in the new year

2. Create a to-do list & a plan.

The next habit to help prevent overwhelm is creating a to-do list and a plan. Often people feel overwhelmed because they are carrying a heavy mental load trying to keep everything organized in their mind.

An easy way to immediately release that is by writing down all of those to-do’s on paper.

Also make sure to get all of the events, meetings, and commitments onto the calendar. This will help you to see what your overall schedule looks like and will prevent you from double-booking yourself.

Now, look over the to-do list and the schedule and prioritize what tasks need to happen and when. Focus on essential tasks first to make sure the big stuff doesn’t get overlooked.

It’s also helpful to break down bigger projects into smaller tasks. That will help your goal to become more realistic to achieve and less overwhelming.

If you have too many to-do’s and too little time

There are a few things you can do if you’re feeling overcommitted.

1. Adjust your expectations.

If you’re a perfectionist this won’t be easy for you, but sometimes you need to let go of things going a particular way and accept good enough.

2. Delegate

Consider if there is someone else you can delegate some of the tasks on your to-do list to. Get family members to help with household chores. Determine who can help take some things off of your plate.

3. Postpone or cancel

When you’ve already done tips 1 and 2 but still feel like there is no way to make everything work, look at what appointments or commitments you could reschedule or cancel for the time being.

Focus on those top-priority tasks and keep an eye on any habits that are wasting your time.

woman looking over her schedule

3. Learn how to say “no.”

Turning down plans, declining to take on extra work, and prioritizing your own time and well-being is easier said than done for many of us.

But saying “no” is one of the most important habits to help prevent overwhelm in your life.

Whether you’re a chronic people-pleaser, a career ladder-climber, or someone with more social obligations than you can manage, the end result is the same.

We take on more than we have the energy to manage and we leave ourselves exhausted. Not only that, we take time away from the things that we know we need to do to be successful. 

By making it a habit to turn down plans and commitments that don’t align with our values, work with our schedules, or support our goals, we can take meaningful action to prevent unnecessary overwhelm in our lives. 

Take the simple step of waiting 24 hours to make a decision on whether you will say yes or no. It’s much easier to take back a no than try to take back a yes that was said in a hurry.

mom preparing food with her kids

4. Schedule a weekly meal prep session.

Fueling our bodies is critical to our health and happiness – but it can also be a time-consuming, overwhelming task when we’re busy with everything else going on in our lives.

It’s easy to tell ourselves that we don’t have time to eat breakfast or cook a nutritious dinner at the end of a long day, but it isn’t good for our physical or mental well-being.

If you struggle to find the time to eat or cook well-balanced meals, make it a habit to spend some time each weekend preparing food for the week. Chop veggies, marinate meats, divide out portions, and make it easy for yourself to fill your belly with food that will make you feel good.

By keeping your nutrition on point and your energy levels up, you’ll be surprised to see just how much easier it is to manage your day, cut back on stress, and feel less overwhelmed. 

Meal prep is just one of the systems that make your home run more smoothly. Systematizing the essential tasks in your household will help to set your week up for success.

Planning ahead and being proactive is one of the best habits to prevent overwhelm in your life. When you aren’t constantly putting out fires and trying to catch up then you can focus on the most important things while feeling more calm.

habits to help prevent overwhelm

5. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Sometimes we make things harder than they need to be and inadvertently don’t set ourselves up for success.

One of the most impactful habits to help prevent overwhelm is intentionally simplifying various areas of your life. You can save yourself a lot of time and stress by getting rid of the excess.

Here are a few examples:

1.Declutter your home to reduce decision fatigue. Removing things you don’t want or use will make getting ready easier and less stressful so that you can get out the door faster.

2. Declutter your digital life to minimize distractions and save yourself time. Extra apps, excessive windows, and emails all can take your attention away from your essential tasks.

3. Declutter your emotions to let go of the thoughts and feelings that are holding you back. Sometimes that thing we need to release isn’t physical or digital stuff, but rather emotions that we need to process so that we can move forward in life.

When you’ve simplified your home and your life, you’ll experience numerous benefits and one of them is helping you to feel calmer and more peaceful.

habits that will keep your home neat and tidy

6. Embrace the “one touch” rule to keep your space tidy.

The space we live in has a big influence on our mood and overall well-being. For many of us, it’s a huge contributor to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

Keeping our homes clean and clutter-free is critical… but it’s another one of those things that’s easier said than done. 

One way you can minimize clutter and chaos around your home? Practice the “one touch” rule.

The idea is simple – put things where they belong, not just where it’s convenient. Hang your jacket up in your coat closet right away instead of throwing it on a chair, moving it to the couch, and eventually putting it up when you’re frantically cleaning up later on.

Put dirty dishes into the dishwasher – not the sink. Deal with the mail immediately instead of letting it pile up on the counter. 

Developing simple tidy habits will not only keep your space in a better state – and yourself in a better state of mind – but you’ll save yourself the time and energy it takes to tackle the task later on. 

habits to help prevent overwhelm

7. Make time each day for something that brings you joy.

It’s easy to get so overwhelmed that we put our hobbies and passions on the back burner. While we think we’re doing ourselves a favor, we’re really just increasing our stress and decreasing our happiness when we do this.

Instead, make it a habit to dedicate time each day to doing something you love. If you use a planner or a schedule, intentionally block time in your day like you would for an appointment or professional obligation. Use that time to reconnect with something that makes you happy.

Love to read? Get through a chapter of your latest book. Enjoy spending time outside? Dedicate 20 minutes each morning to sitting on your patio or taking a walk around your neighborhood.

Does spending time with friends and family bring you joy? Call or text a friend or loved one every day to check in and catch up. 

Make time for happiness. By being intentional about incorporating the things we love into our life, even when we’re busy, we can keep feelings of overwhelm at bay. 

relaxed woman with headphones

Make time for self-care

It’s important to make self-care part of your to-do list. In addition to making time for things you love, also be aware of other critical aspects of self-care.

Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, moving your body, getting outdoors, and having time for prayer, reflection, or meditation. They can be essential parts to preventing overwhelm in your life.

Don’t neglect your physical and mental health, especially in the busier seasons of life. They’re essential for keeping you going and helping you to feel balanced.

What habit can you put into practice today to prevent overwhelm? Leave a comment and let me know!

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One Comment

  1. Hi Julianna! First, I want to wish you and your family a most happy Thanksgiving. I enjoy
    and appreciate all your wonderful blogs. I read them all and what a difference they have made in my life and our household. I embrace Simplicity lifestyle which makes life so much easier.
    In this article, I certainly agree with you about the One touch habit. Put things away where they belong on the spot. This alleviates clutter, and having to search for something that didn’t get put away. It’s the best prevention for work later. Again, thank you for all you do!

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