10 Signs You Are Overwhelmed + Self-Care Strategies (Free Printable!)

Life can be tough. The stress of work-life, home life, and everything in between can feel like a lot to handle. One way to better manage our overwhelm is through self-care. Recognizing signs that you are overwhelmed early on and implementing self-care strategies can help prevent burnout. And I, unfortunately, know a thing or two about burnout.

What is self-care?

According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of self-care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” It is regularly taking the time to do something you enjoy that nourishes you mentally, emotionally and physically. As crucial as self-care is, it is often not made a priority as we make it through our hectic lives.

Why? Well, being selfish is how it’s perceived.

Guess what folks! There is NOTHING selfish about protecting your well-being. When you nourish your well-being, the better equipped you’ll be at helping to nurture those around you. After all, you can’t pour water from an empty cup!

Today, with the hopes of encouraging you to make your well-being a priority, here are some signs you are overwhelmed and some self-care strategies to help with each.


Disclaimer:  The information provided on this blog is written from personal and lived experience.  You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional mental health services, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health or mental health, you should always consult with a health-care professional.

If you are depressed, or your overwhelm is severely interfering with your life, please seek out support from a therapist, physician, or other health-care professional.

Here are 10 signs that you may be overwhelmed and not practicing enough self-care. Plus, find self-care tips you can use to start taking better care of your emotional and physical health. #stressrelief #burnout #selfcare #mentalhealth #overwhelm
Source: Ellieelien

# 1 – You Have Difficulty Sleeping, or You’re Sleeping Too Much

One of the signs that you are overwhelmed is a change in sleeping patterns. You may notice you are restless throughout the night, and unable to get a good night’s sleep, despite how tired you may feel. On the other hand, you may be sleeping too much. You may find yourself sleeping in too long, or yearning to spend any downtime asleep. A healthy sleep schedule is essential to maintaining one’s mental health.

Try These Self-Care Strategies ↓

  • Establish a nighttime routine and stick with it. Try being in bed and waking up at a specific time each day. This process may take some trial and error before you’ve found what works best for you
  • Limit alcohol.  Alcohol can disrupt your sleeping patterns and reduce the quality of your sleep, which may lead to oversleeping
  • Practice relaxation exercises before bed to help calm the mind, such as meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, etc.
  • Consume a soothing drink before bed, such as a chamomile tea
  • Fall asleep to a scent that helps foster relaxation and sleep, such as lavender
  • Speak with your doctor about any concerns with your sleeping patterns.
Related: 10 Ways to Calm Anxiety at Night

# 2 – You Are Always Tired, No Matter How Much Sleep You Get

When overwhelmed, your mind is on overdrive causing you to feel exhausted all the time. This fatigue may persist even after you have gotten some sleep.

Try These Self-Care Strategies  ↓

  • All tips from #1
  • Eat healthy foods that give you energy
  • Exercise, not only provides mental health benefits but may also tire you out enough physically to help you sleep and get a better night’s rest.

# 3 – You Lack Energy

You may feel a lack of energy when overwhelmed, and generally more fatigued each day.

Try These Self-Care Strategies ↓

  • The tips I’ve mentioned above would work here as well

# 4 – You Are High-Strung / Anxious

You may be feeling high-strung or anxious most of the time, with the inability to calm down or relax.

Try These Self-Care Strategies  ↓

  • Tips above will also apply here
  • Take little breaks throughout your day to help ease your nerves.  For instance, going for a walk or grabbing a healthy snack, throughout your day
  • Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Find time to be active.  Exercise helps relieve stress and improve mental health.
Related: How Embracing My Anxiety Changed My Life

# 5 – You Are Stressed Out

When you are overwhelmed, you may notice your stress levels increasing. And things that may have once seemed minor may be leading to stress.

Try These Self-Care Strategies ↓

  • All tips above also apply here
  • At work, speak with your manager to ask for additional time to work on/complete tasks that have been stressing you out.
  • Take a Mental Health Day off work
  • Break large tasks down into small ones, and focus on completing the small ones (one at a time) instead
  • Establish more balance in your life, i.e. a healthier balance between work and play.
Related: 6 Types of Self-Care & Ways to Practice Them

In a hurry?  Pin for later!

Here are 10 signs that you may be overwhelmed and not practicing enough self-care.  Plus, find self-care tips you can use to start taking better care of your emotional and physical health.  Printable included! #stressrelief #burnout #selfcare #mentalhealth #wellness #overwhelm #burnout #stressmanagement #anxiety #printable

# 6 – You Have a Loss of Appetite or You Are Overeating

You may notice a change in your appetite, either under-eating or over-eating when you are overwhelmed.

Try These Self-Care Strategies  ↓

  • Try establishing an eating routine, by eating at regular times each day, and sticking to that.  Your brain will learn to follow this.
  • With a loss of appetite, try eating smaller snacks throughout the day, and eating a bigger meal when you’re feeling most hungry
  • Eat healthy foods that give you the most nutrition and energy. These will have you feeling full longer (i.e. healthy fats and protein)
  • Limit caffeine intake as this will also add to a loss of appetite
  • Exercise, and reducing your stress and anxiety (with the tips mentioned above), can also help you establish and maintain healthy eating habits

# 7 – You Have Difficulty Focusing

Because you’re high-strung and restless, this may lead to difficulty focusing.

Try These Self-Care Strategies  ↓

  • Break down large tasks into smaller ones
  • Establish a plan of action and write your plan down.  When things are written down, they can become easier to follow
  • Make lists and check off completed items as you go
  • Take little breaks throughout your day to refuel, and refocus the brain
Here are 10 signs that you may be overwhelmed and not practicing enough self-care. Plus, find self-care tips you can use to start taking better care of your emotional and physical health. #stressrelief #burnout #selfcare #mentalhealth #overwhelm
Source: Uby Yanes

# 8 – You are less motivated

You may feel less motivated to do things, and start to procrastinate.  Although you may be swimming in To-Do’s, you just can’t seem to find the motivation to get any of them done.

Try These Self-Care Strategies ↓

  • Check out the tips I’ve mentioned for #7 – they apply here too.

# 9 – You’re Keeping To Yourself More

You may notice you are becoming more withdrawn and spending less time with others. You may be keeping to yourself more and limiting your socializing, because being around others may begin to feel like too much effort or a chore.

Try These Self-Care Strategies  ↓

  • It’s okay to take some time for yourself.  Take this time to improve your well-being by doing activities you enjoy, such as reading a book, watching a movie, etc.

# 10 – You Are Moody / Emotional

You may feel more emotional than usual and moodier. You’ll be on edge emotionally, less patient, and lash out at individuals easily.

Try These Self-Care Strategies  ↓

  • Speak with your doctor if you are feeling depressed, or are concerned about your overall emotional state
  • Call 911, or a crisis line near you, if you are feeling suicidal
  • Confide in a good friend. It helps to feel heard
  • Try counselling.  Free counselling services are available at your local community health centre if money were a concern.
Related: 11 Signs of Burnout You Need to Stop Ignoring Today

The Takeaway

Recognizing the signs that you are overwhelmed early on will help you prevent burnout. Implementing much-needed self-care strategies will help re-energize you, reduce the effects of you feeling overwhelmed, and get you back to being your healthy and balanced self.

Here’s to living a life of balance and overall wellness!

Grab the printable version of 10 Signs You Are Overwhelmed + Self-Care Strategies below!

Here are 10 signs that you may be overwhelmed and not practicing enough self-care. Plus, find self-care tips you can use to start taking better care of your emotional and physical health. Printable included! #stressrelief #burnout #selfcare #mentalhealth #wellness #overwhelm #burnout #stressmanagement #anxiety #printable

Let’s chat! What are some ways you practice self-care?

Thanks so much for stopping by <3

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  1. 9.18.18
    Christina said:

    I really needed this. I’m going through a season of burnout and it was nice to know I’m not just going crazy! Thank you for sharing this wonderful resource.

    • 9.19.18
      Tulip & Sage said:

      Thank you Christina. I’m so happy you found this helpful. Burnout is tough, but you’re already on the road to recovery by simply recognizing your burnout. Take it from me, you can and you will pull through. Be kind and patient with yourself. Wishing you so much health and happiness.

  2. 10.5.18

    Thank you so much for this. I thought I wasn’t overwhelmed but this article clearly showed me that I need to re-evaluate some things.

    • 10.5.18
      Amanda at Tulip & Sage said:

      Thank you, Amanda. I’m so glad you found this information useful. Self-care is so important and I hope you start making your well-being more of a priority. Wishing you health and happiness!

  3. 10.6.18
    Georgia said:

    Great self care suggestions in this article. If these are not enough, be sure to see your doctor.

    #2. You Are Always Tired, No Matter How Much Sleep You Get — read up on sleep apnea. My CPAP machine has changed my life.
    #3. You Lack Energy — If you have a period, you may be low on iron. I knew I was out of shape, but then I began to get out of breath just climbing the stairs in my house. Caused by low iron stores, not even full-blown anemia.
    #10. You Are Moody / Emotional — All of these signs can point to depression, not just low or sad mood. Also no longer feeling pleasure in things and activities you used to enjoy.

    • 10.7.18
      Amanda at Tulip & Sage said:

      Georgia, thanks so much for this! Your suggestions are very helpful.

  4. 10.25.18
    Tammy said:

    Thank you for this article, l’m been overwhelmed, because of work, n help taking care of my mom, not getting the proper rest I need, going to try these suggestions, hopefully things will get better.

    • 10.25.18
      Amanda at Tulip & Sage said:

      Thank you for your comment, Tammy. I can totally relate to what you’re going through.

      What I learned was to try and find more balance between my work time and my personal time, and I had to choose to make my self-care a priority. I know this is challenging to do.

      Like you, I had no time to dedicate to huge amounts of self-care, so I started small. I started by scheduling in just 5 minute, simple self-care activities, when I had the time throughout my week, and made every effort to stick to them.

      Spending even a few minutes practicing different self-care activities throughout your day or week (such as a short breathing exercise, journaling, going for a walk, burning a calming scented candle before bed, listening to music at the end of the day to help unwind, etc.) can all be really helpful to your physical and mental health. Find what works for you and go from there.

      It’s also okay to ask for help when you need it; and to reach out to a health care professional if you feel your overwhelm is severely interfering with your life.

      I’m so glad you’re deciding to make your well-being a priority. I hope you begin to feel better very soon.

  5. 10.28.18
    Patty said:

    This article is spot on. I already knew I am overwhelmed & suffer from depression, etc. I am now seeing a counselor, but I’m struggling & your 10 hints are excellent. You’ve touched so much on things my councilor & I have discussed. I’m glad to see them in print to go to when I need guidance. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I’m looking forward to future articles.

    • 10.29.18
      Amanda at Tulip & Sage said:

      Thanks so much, Patty. I’m so glad you found this post helpful. As you said, you are not alone – I have been there too. And that’s exactly why I wanted to start this blog, to share and heal together. I’m so happy that you’ve recognized your overwhelm and are seeking ways to feel better. Thanks again for stopping by. Take care <3

  6. 2.8.19
    Veni said:

    Thanks so much for being the rare and generous site that makes printing a PDF easy and doesn’t involve giving an email address. It shows that you truly just want good info available to us. Thank you!!

    • 2.8.19
      Amanda said:

      Thank you, Veni! I’m so happy you found it useful <3

  7. 7.21.20
    Cosmo Comet (not my real name) said:

    what if most of this is just you since how you are most of the time? (also i feel i should note i tend to get angry about every little thing a lot when it gets especially bad)

    (I use the nickname because I’d prefer to remain anonymous, for anxiety and paranoia reasons. Sorry.)

    • 7.22.20
      Amanda @ Tulip & Sage said:

      Hi Cosmo, if you’re feeling overwhelmed all of the time, maybe speaking with your doctor or a counsellor about how you’re feeling is a good idea. They may have some suggestions for you once they learn a little more about you and what you’re going through. I’ve found that reaching out for support, or just talking with someone is often really helpful. I’m not sure where you’re from, but here are a few resources that could help you find a counsellor. In the USA, https://www.mhanational.org/finding-therapy. In Canada, https://ontario.cmha.ca/provincial-mental-health-supports. I hope these links are useful to you. You are not alone. Take care and be kind to yourself. 💕

  8. 8.13.20

    I always look forward to your post, you always seem to be able to find a way to make every time interesting and full of fresh content. i also write on

    stress management

    • 8.16.20
      Amanda @ Tulip & Sage said:

      Thank you!