5 Things To Do When Feeling Overwhelmed

Well, it’s that time of the semester where everything feels like it might just come crashing down at any minute—Midterm Week is on the horizon. I have friends at other schools who are already on their spring breaks and seeing their pictures definitely does not make things any easier, but I’m happy that they’re enjoying a well deserved break!

For those of you trying to make it through midterms, a crazy workweek, or whatever else it may be, here’s a list of 5 things you can do when feeling overwhelmed!

1. Set a timer

Pick an amount of time (I usually go with 30 minutes) to devote yourself to one of the most high-priority items on your list. Put your phone away and get rid of distractions as best you can. Sometimes I actually finish before the timer goes off, I just needed the initial motivation to get started. When I don’t finish within the designated time, I usually keep going because I don’t want to lose the groove I just got into.

2. Take a break!

To some people, taking a break from a seemingly endless to-do list might seem counterintuitive. However, I usually find myself more productive after I take a short break! It helps to get your mind off of the task at hand for a few minutes so you can clear your thoughts. These are some of my go-to study breaks:

    • Color in one of my fabulous adult coloring books (my favorites are by Paige Tate & Co.—you can find them on Amazon!)
    • Go for a walk
    • Watch an episode of a favorite show (this might be a test of your self control!)
    • Browse around on Pinterest (drooling over recipes that I don’t have the ingredients to make, eyeing up projects to create the next time I’m home, and filling my dream closet with clothes that are waayyyy out of my college student budget)

Yesterday, I took a longer than usual study break and watched Inside Out for the first time—I’m not usually a big fan of animated movies, but this one was great! Once a month my school has screenings of movies that are between the movie theater and coming out on DVD. I know about these far enough in advance so I’m usually able to schedule it into my day and have something to look forward to!

3. Write down your top 3 tasks that need to be accomplished today

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a huge fan of to-do lists. Sometimes it gets to the point where I write “make to-do list for…” on my list. My planner is full of lists, I have sticky notes on my desk with lists, and I have my master list with (almost) every assignment I have for the semester (tutorial on this coming soon)!

planner to do

Here’s a look into my planner and to-do list for this weekend… Thank goodness for color-coding (pens are Papermate Flair brand)!

Sometimes having all of these lists can be overwhelming, and I don’t know where to start. That’s where the “priority to-do list” comes into play. I started doing this on a weekly basis in my planner, but decided it would be useful to have a Top 3 for every day. It’s much easier to focus on a list of three than a longer list.

4. Exercise

I’m trying to get into the habit of running frequently again, partially because I should get in shape for the Tough Mudder I’m doing this summer, and partially because it’s a stress reliever.

TM 2

Gettin’ down and dirty at the Tough Mudder while trying not to get caught on the barbed wire looming above me!

I’ve started to go without my music so I can take in the sights and sounds around me with less distractions. I get bursts of energy and creativity from running, so why not apply those bursts to whatever is overwhelming?

I’m also a fan of doing a quick yoga session in my room—I love “Yoga with Adriene” on YouTube! She has lots of great videos, but one of my favorites is “Yoga For Focus & Productivity” (https://youtu.be/Nnd5Slo02us)

5. Call it a day and start fresh tomorrow

Although I wouldn’t recommend this option if it’s 10:00 in the morning and you’re feeling overwhelmed, if it’s nighttime and you find yourself constantly distracted or lacking motivation, call it a day. It’s okay if you didn’t get everything on your list done; get the sleep you need and hit the ground running tomorrow!

What do you like to do when you feel overwhelmed?


4 thoughts on “5 Things To Do When Feeling Overwhelmed

  1. Victoria says:

    I like all of them but I think number 4 has helped me the most. It has clear my head and put things in respective. Just going for a walk out in nature is so renewing. Thank for some of the other ideas to try.


    • I’m glad you liked it! I agree about the nature walks. I have some excellent walking trails near my school that I love to take advantage of, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.


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