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Overwhelmed? 5 Things to Reset

28 March 2023
woman working on a laptop, stressed. mom

By: Brendan Epps

The past few years, time has seemed to pass faster and faster; hours seem to pass like days and days, like weeks.  We’ve returned to the pace of things and in some ways have tried to catch up for the time we missed.  With that, burnout and overwhelm are on the rise. For those of us who’re overwhelmed it’s not just the 9-to-5 grind at work. It’s the combination of work, school, home, managing relationships, parenting, and if we’re lucky, carving out a bit of time for ourselves. Talking with a woman next to me at the coffee shop one Sunday morning, she mentioned she’d been working hard on schoolwork and that she was “...taking the day off.”


1. Take a day off (weekends count). With my schedule, the idea of “taking the day off” on a Sunday made sense. The day before, a Saturday, I started the morning attending a Food Pantry planning meeting at church and spent the rest of the day catching up from a tumultuous couple of weeks at work and reviewing edits on a paper that took me way too long to submit in the first place. While we don’t always get the entire day off, sometimes having an hour or so to drop the little ones in Child Watch for a workout can give you a chance to catch your breath (literally andfiguratively).

2.  Declutter. Too much stuff around us can be overwhelming by itself. Clear surfaces can help with space to think without the distraction of multiple reminders of what needs to get done, what hasn’t gotten done, or random ideas.  Some of us need piles to satisfy our lack of object permanence (out of sight, out of mind); if we don’t see it, it doesn’t least in our minds. If that’s you (it’s definitely me) you can still have your piles, but have a set place for them and make a point to review them regularly. Those reviews reduce the stress of feeling like you’re forgetting something, because you are, and helps you complete tasks and goals.

3.  Build a System. How can you make those repeatable things we do to exist a little easier? What are reminders you can use? Using the YMCA mobile app to scan at the front desk makes it more convenient to scan in at the front desk instead of fishing my key out of my pocket after I just put them away because I won’t need them during the workout.  Having YMCA 360 brings workouts to me when I travel or just don't feel like leaving the house. Having checklists on the fridge can help with visual reminders of what needs to be done. Apps like calendars and to-do lists shared between family or friends can also help. 

4.  Share & Listen to biographies. Biographies aren’t limited to books about historic figures or people you’ve never met. The biographics of ‘real’ people in your life, complete strangers or someone you’ve known ‘forever,’ are their stories.  It’s amazing when we hear the challenges and successes of others beyond just what they post, how much we can relate. Sharing stories helps us combat the ‘only’s’ and help us feel less like we’re the only one facing the overwhelm. It’s not about comparing against each other; it’s about working with each other.

5.  Exercise. Certainly the YMCA of Greater Dayton is an excellent choice for exercise! Whether you prefer group fitness, aquatics, senior fitness, cardio machines, or free weights, exercise helps reduce the stress of the day and builds resilience to bounce back. Do your best to prioritize your fitness. Spending 20-30 minutes several times a week is often recommended. Even if it isn’t at the YMCA, your exercise matters.


If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, beating yourself up about it just adds to the stress. Please, give yourself grace. You don’t have to do it all. And, what you do doesn’t have to be perfect. Just like every day won't be a personal record (PR). Some days, showing up to class and going through as many motions as you can is the best you’ve got.  We aren’t in competition with each other. In life’s race, we’re racing to the finish line, not trying to beat someone else. Taking these steps to reset can help us finish, together.