• Phoebe Baker

A Guide to Being Overwhelmed

Let’s discuss the juggling act that is our lives. From work (whether that’s managing a business or being part of a company), to family, to parenting, a buzzing social life or navigating a separation - life can get a bit much sometimes. If this sounds familiar, here are some tips to conquering overwhelming feelings and reducing stress.

On-going stress can affect overall well-being and in turn affect your physical state: sending your Central Nervous System into ‘flight or fight mode’; causing respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms (your heart goes into overdrive); weakening your immune system; not to mention the insomnia – the list is endless. This is why turning to unhelpful behaviours like excessive drinking, drug abuse or disordered eating - to deal with the symptoms in the list above - is common.


Pay attention to your needs:

· Sharing -

  • Therapy with a trained professional

  • Talking with trusted friends or confidantes

· Stay physically fit (The benefits this does to mind and body is unbelievable. This is a time, an activity that no one can take away from you)

· Do enriching things for yourself:


  • Meditation

  • Deep Breathing

  • Relaxation

  • Stretching

  • Journaling

  • Gratitude

  • Affirmations


  • Workout

  • Walking

  • Yoga

  • Go to bed early

  • Wake up early

  • Reading

  • Studying

  • Sports


  • Take a bath or shower

  • Do your skin routine

  • Get a haircut

  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet

Hobby or Learning

  • Teach yourself a new skill

  • Learn a language

· Let go of problems that are beyond your control and stay focused on things you can control

Things I Can Control:

  • When you ask for help

  • Your self-care routine

  • How you speak to yourself

  • The boundaries you set

  • How you interpret situations

  • How you treat others

  • My habits, patterns and behaviour

  • Where I place my attention

Things I Can’t Control:

  • How someone perceives me

  • The behaviour of another person

  • The world and the issues in it

  • Belief systems of family, friends and strangers

  • The way people speak to me

· Give yourself the space to feel all kinds of emotions

· Try to avoid destructive activities:

  • Drinking heavily

  • Drugs

  • Angry behaviours towards your ex-spouse

  • Disordered eating

· Make time for fun

· Prioritise and organise:

  • Create lists of things you have to do daily and list in order of priority. (If there isn’t a clear priority it often helps to do the hardest task first. They call this “eating one’s frogs”)

· Maintain routine

  • Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day

  • Regular walks

  • Exercise at least 3 times a week

  • Eat 3-5 meals

  • Practise self-care rituals

· Journal your thoughts and feelings: you can have more clarity when you bring pen to paper and your thoughts are articulated. It also helps when you are in the process of making a big decision in your life – you could weigh up pros and cons and note down all of the things you have to do to act upon the decision you make

· Simplify your life (de-clutter):

  • Be rid of negative people

  • De-clutter your home (dispose of clothes you no longer wear and items that no longer have any sentimental value)

· Know that it’s perfectly okay to say NO:

  • To engagements

  • Taking on extra responsibilities (we know it’s unavoidable sometimes)


We’re now going to tackle the topic of feeling overwhelmed in divorce or separation. Dealing with a range of emotions, taking action and coping with the fall-out from a breakdown of a relationship is going to leave you feeling emotionally drained. It is likely that you will struggle to focus on anything else other than the separation but there will be elements of your life that you will be obligated to keep up - like a business or parenting.

Here are our divorce/separation specific tips to reducing that overload and stress:

· Get someone to help you with organisation (this could be a friend, family member, paid administrative assistant or accountant)

  • Administration (filing, paying invoices, email correspondence, calendar management)

  • Financial planning (Accounting, putting together budgets, reviewing credit card statements, scanning invoices)

· Get your finances in order (Make sure you can track all your assets, debts, costs, bills, income). Try our Divorce Financial Organiser course (https://education.ds-collective.com/courses/financial-organiser)

· If you are going to be under-going legal proceedings or going to court, prepare by logging communication and other relevant information (only when you feel up to it)

· Seek advice (it helps to speak with other people who have been through a similar process as they will be able to empathise with you)

· Choose the right lawyer (Try our Finding the Right Lawyer course: https://education.ds-collective.com/courses/finding-a-lawyer

· Set your objectives (what do you want to get out of this situation)

· Adapt your Expectations (situations don’t always turn out the way you want them to

· If in doubt, children first (make sure the decisions you make have your children in mind too)

· Allow grieving to occur – grief is a natural reaction to loss and fighting grief is counterproductive as it’s an important part of the break-up process

· Grounding - try and be in the present (try meditation or yoga):

· Share – suffering is lessened when you share:

  • Find someone who is a good listener and that you can vent to

  • If existing support groups prove to be inadequate seek support from other avenues: this could be attending psychotherapy or going to support groups with others who have been through the same process

Single Parenting

When you have children, they become the centre of your life, at whatever age (unless they have left the nest and are independent!) During a separation their needs will have to be protected too since a divorce affects a whole family. There’s no doubt about it, it’s hard being a single parent. You can’t share all of the joys, stresses and responsibilities of being a parent with a partner. Don’t feel guilty about feeling it’s all too much sometimes, it’s perfectly normal.

· Accept and ask for help: there’s no shame in having to ask for help (whether that’s a paid professional to support with child care, or a friend)

· Form a support system:

  • Join a single parent support group

  • Find someone who can help you look after the children when you need to go out and do errands

· Maintain a daily routine for all of you

· Keep discipline (make sure your children know what is expected of them and which rules they need to follow). It is common that single parents feel guilty and will try and compensate for the missing partner in the situation since they don’t want the child to “go without”. This can lead to over-indulgence and not having enough limits can prevent them from becoming self-disciplined adults. Children are so impressionable so if you give them boundaries now, it will help them to develop healthy habits for the future

  • If you can, speak with your ex-spouse or ex-partner about maintaining these rules when the children visit them

· You might be looking at the pile of laundry or worrying about them achieving the right grades in school but make sure you enjoy time with your children, have fun:

  • Playing

  • Reading

  • Watching movies

  • Going for a walk

This will let them know that they still feel loved and have a close relationship, where someone is paying attention to them. After a separation they might question whether it was their fault and whether they had done something which made the dynamic change.

Try our Divorce & Separation Parenting Plan course (https://education.ds-collective.com/courses/parenting-plan)

If you have any tips on dealing with overwhelm, we would be delighted to receive them and send them through to info@ds-collective.com

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