When It Gets Overwhelming… Just Breathe

A photo of a dark sky and tall trees with red leaves to give it a moody feel provides the background, with a white cloud overhead. The title 'when it gets overwhelming... just breathe' is in white in the middle.

Sometimes endless to-do lists, chronic pain, illness and general stresses in our lives can be overwhelming. Worries and thoughts can repeat on a loop and take over, creating a vicious cycle of stress while taking up valuable limited resources and sapping our energy even further.

Just take a moment to breathe.

Step away from the situation to get some space and perspective. Focus on there here and now, right this moment. Take some deep breaths and pay attention to how your body feels. Notice your thoughts and your feelings without judgement.

Colourful red, blue and yellow balloons against a black background, with the text 'just breathe' in the middle, and InvisiblyMe.com at the bottom right.

Here are a few ways to take a step back when you’re feeling overwhelmed :

  • Turn off or step away from your laptop, phone, tablet, TV. Have an electronic break, whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours, just to disconnect.
  • Mindfulness, meditation and yoga can be excellent for relaxation and stress-management, and ayurveda has a lot to offer for overall wellbeing.
  • Tune in to your body. As you focus on your breaths, notice how you feel. Work from your toes gradually up through your body, accepting each sensation without judgement, just allowing your brain to acknowledge how you’re feeling, remembering to breathe deeply and slowly. Allow the thoughts that come into your mind to happen; don’t try to push them away, but don’t get caught up in them. See them, let them go. Mindfulness is a powerful tool in grounding yourself.
  • Get out into nature and appreciate the flowers, the fresh air, animals, the natural world around you that can be so humbling and refreshing.
  • Take a little walk or do some gentle stretching (whatever you can manage) to boost endorphins and loosen up your body.
  • Consider the things you are grateful for in this moment.
  • Get a change of scenery, whether that’s going into another room, going into the garden, taking a walk or going on a day trip somewhere. Getting away from the routine and current environment temporarily can be really helpful in clearing your mind and getting a fresh perspective.
  • Set some time to do something enjoyable. Prioritise self-care; look after yourself and nourish your mind and body. Get some rest. Eat well. Laugh a little because it’s great therapy and stress relief.
  • Talk it out and air your thoughts with someone. If that’s not possible or you don’t want to, try writing it down, blogging about it, expressing it in art.
  • After you have got some space and feel a little more recharged, seek inspiration and motivation. Maybe that’s looking through happy photos, going on Pinterest or being empowered by quotes. Go through what’s stressing and overwhelming you bit by bit and create a plan of how to deal with each aspect in turn. Break it down. Make it more manageable.

Remember the times you have felt overwhelmed in the past. You have survived. And you will this time, too. Deep breath. You will be okay.




  1. October 26, 2018 / 4:16 pm

    Caz, great reminder to stop overwhelm and just breathe. Thank you <3

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:13 pm

      You’re welcome, I’m glad you liked it! Have a lovely weekend, Masha  ♥

  2. October 26, 2018 / 4:26 pm

    We all get overwhelmed at times. This is great advice.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend and just breathe. ♥

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:14 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, thanks! You have a lovely weekend too 🙂

  3. October 26, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    Good post Caz. Laughing truly is the best medicine.😃. Hope you’ve had a good week and wishing you a lovely weekend.x

    • October 26, 2018 / 5:17 pm

      Thank you lovely, I hope you have a positive, restful weekend ahead Toni! xx

  4. smilecalm.wordpress.com
    October 26, 2018 / 5:11 pm

    appreciate this reminder
    not to stop
    breathing 🙂

    • October 27, 2018 / 2:43 pm

      Everyone needs a reminder sometimes, as silly as it sounds! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  5. October 26, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing some great tips Caz! Taking the time out to just breathe is so important, and can make all the difference when we’re feeling overwhelmed. You already know how much I love nature, so you know that’s one of my favorites.😊 Remembering all the things I have to be grateful for is another favorite. Sharing this on FB and Pinterest. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:18 pm

      Thanks, Terri, I’m so glad you liked it! I do think a reminder can be really important because it sounds so simple, yet we all too often forget to do it when overwhelmed, to just take a breath and direct our focus elsewhere for a while. I thought you’d like the nature part, it’s certainly one of the best ways I think to get some space when you need it! Thank you so much for sharing, that’s very kind and I hope it can spread the reminder to others who need it too 🙂
      Have a lovely, restful weekend  ♥

  6. October 26, 2018 / 7:02 pm

    This os a great post Caz, thank you! The tips are spot on and helpful. 🤗

    • October 27, 2018 / 2:31 pm

      Aw I’m glad you liked it, thanks Christy! 🙂

  7. October 26, 2018 / 7:26 pm

    Just taking your focus from the pain for a moment helps. Very good advice!

    • October 27, 2018 / 2:30 pm

      It’s not always easy to do but I do think a little distraction and moving your thoughts away from pain can be beneficial. Thanks for the comment Viola, I hope you’re doing okay.. xx

  8. October 26, 2018 / 7:30 pm

    Loved reading this positive and encouraging post on how to keep going in tough times , not forgetting to breathe and about how we should try to have an attitude of ” this too shall pass”. Have a great weekend Caz!

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:22 pm

      I’m really glad you liked it, and I hope you remember it when you next need to give yourself a break from being stressed or overwhelmed. Thanks, Nisha, have a lovely weekend 🙂

  9. October 26, 2018 / 9:14 pm

    Lovely post. We all need a little render now and then don’t we?

    • October 27, 2018 / 4:11 pm

      A reminder to do this every now and again is certainly in order I think. I’m glad you liked the post, thank you for the comment! I hope you have a lovely weekend 🙂

  10. October 26, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    Absolutely love this Caz. A great reminder to take a step back. Thank you xx

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:23 pm

      So pleased you liked it, Sam! I think a reminder is good for all of us sometimes 🙂
      I hope you’re doing okay and that the weekend is kind to you.xx

  11. October 26, 2018 / 10:12 pm

    Perfect timing Caz xx thank you

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:25 pm

      Now that’s what I like to hear – that the post was hopefully helpful, not that you’re obviously in need of taking a breather. Are you doing okay..? Take good care and I hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  12. October 26, 2018 / 10:28 pm

    Everything you say is full of wisdom, Caz. You are the epitome of your words; wisdom in human form!
    And your advice is for all…. <3

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:46 pm

      That is such an incredibly lovely thing to say, Carolyn! Thank you! 🙂
      I’m glad you liked the post. I hope you’re keeping well and that the weekend is a good one for you  ♥

  13. October 26, 2018 / 11:55 pm

    more genius from our dear Caz <3
    btw — reminds me of a meditation app I enjoy sometimes – stop, breathe & think – the free version of it is lovely

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:48 pm

      Aw, thank you! And thanks for the recommendation, I’ve made a note to check that one out. Have you tried Calm, or BreathWorks? Both of those have a free version too if ever you need a little change 🙂
      Have a lovely weekend xx

  14. James Best
    October 27, 2018 / 1:28 am

    Hello Invisibly Me I have Nominated you for the ” Blogger Recognition Award”. You can read all about it on my blog. Congratulations !!

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:49 pm

      I saw this earlier, thank you very much, that’s very kind!
      I hope you’re well and that you have a great weekend 🙂

  15. October 27, 2018 / 5:51 am

    Hey, Caz! Thanks for the encouraging post! Hope I can return the joy with a nomination for the Blogger Recognition Award! Please do not feel obligated to participate. If you do, take all the time you need. If you don’t do awards, that’s okay. I’m just sending a little of God’s love your way! God loves you!
    This is the link to your nomination!

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:54 pm

      Ooh I saw this earlier, thank you very much Gail! And congrats on your award too 🙂
      I hope you have a lovely weekend 🌷 xx

  16. October 27, 2018 / 8:24 am

    Opened this post after a really bad night – lying here with dislocated shoulder and collarbone, propped up by pillows SO……this is just what I need! Thank you for putting a smile on my face and the encouraging words you lovely lady – off to start the day now With your words behind me, Claire x

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:56 pm

      Oh Claire, my heart really does go out to you because it seems to happen so often that something or other dislocates because of EDS and with everything else you have to contend with, I’m so sorry you had such a bad night. Please do remember this post and try to give yourself at least a mental break if you can. Sending hugs (very, very gentle ones!) your way 🌷 xx

  17. October 27, 2018 / 8:57 am

    “Remember the times you have felt overwhelmed in the past. You have survived. And you will this time, too. Deep breath. You will be okay.” – I love that!! Great post and very helpful tips! It’s incredible that we start breathing consciously only when we feel anxious, too stressed or overwhelmed… and when everything is fine we just don’t pay attention to this. So we take shallow breaths which itself can result in feeling anxious and stressed out… if breathing wasn’t controlled subconsciously by our body it would be so easy to suffocate… I really love this post. Thank you, Caz!

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:57 pm

      You’re right, it’s when anxious and overwhelmed that the simple act of breathing comes to our attention, that we realise the smaller things in life and get a break away from our thoughts or pain. I’m so glad you liked the post, Kate, and thanks for the fab comment! 🙂

  18. October 28, 2018 / 2:21 am

    I really love this post, I am going to bookmark it for days I feel overwhelmed and can’t think clearly and need to be reminded of what I should do <3 Thank you for sharing xx


    • October 30, 2018 / 5:09 pm

      I hope the reminder when you need it helps – thanks, Susie, I’m glad you liked the post 🙂
      Have a good week ahead xx

  19. October 28, 2018 / 7:05 pm

    Thank you so much Caz for these brilliant tips! You always share the most amazing wisdom and believe me this came at a good time in life. Of course you know I am back working full-time and trying to balance work with life. That isn’t even what is really causing me SO much stress. I have many other issues I am dealing with at the moment and your post is giving me hope. I think I might need to print this out and refer back to your tips daily!!!. Caz, you are literally one of the most amazing and uplifting people I am honored enough to consider a friend! Thank you again, from the bottom of the heart!

    • October 30, 2018 / 5:07 pm

      You’re right, you are under a heck of a lot of stress with so many things to juggle right now, and that feeling of overwhelm is probably one you’ve been experiencing quite a bit. I hope you can refer back to this because when we’re in this position, these sorts of tips and simply the need to get some space to breathe are exactly the things we don’t make time for, or just totally forget to do. Aww, no thank you necessary – I’m so glad you liked the post! 🙂
      Caz xx

  20. October 29, 2018 / 2:12 pm

    Those times can be so trying and in those moments, this advice feels impossible. I think we have to learn this in our better moments. Stay strong, my friend.

    • October 30, 2018 / 5:08 pm

      You’re right, it can seem impossible. We’re stronger and more capable than we think, but when overwhelmed it’s so much harder to give ourselves space to breathe and to remember that everything will be okay. Thank you – I hope you have a positive week ahead 🙂

  21. October 31, 2018 / 11:58 am

    I got totally overwhelmed a few weeks ago and had to spend the day with limited internet and a friend’s company. I asked her to come over and just chat with me and watch films. I really needed it. Then I escaped on to the country for a last minute weekend break with my other half where we ignored our phones and just rested and recuperated. It was really needed. Life moves too fast these days and becomes overwhelming.

    • October 31, 2018 / 5:04 pm

      You’re right, life does move too fast and there’s too much pressure with 24/7 connectivity and the focus on needing to be busy all the time. I’m glad you were able to spend time with a friend and then get away for a short break; it’s not always easy to reach out or make the decision to get space when you’re feeling so stressed but it’s so important to do. I hope things can feel a little less overwhelming for you this week.xx

    • November 3, 2018 / 5:46 pm

      Oooo yes I saw this, thank you very much! 🙂

  22. November 3, 2018 / 1:47 am

    Great tips, Caz! I need to print this out and put it on a wall.

    • November 3, 2018 / 5:45 pm

      Thank you, Kathy! I think a regular reminder is a good thing, we could all do with it from time to time. Take care and have a lovely weekend 🙂

  23. November 4, 2018 / 1:02 pm

    This is such an important blog post to share with everyone!! i hve this thing where i have my calm space and a trigger word so at the point of saying this word it brings me back to calm! xxx

    • November 5, 2018 / 2:42 pm

      That’s a good idea, to have a trigger word and a calm space. Thank you for the comment, I’m glad you liked the post! 🙂

  24. November 5, 2018 / 2:54 pm

    Excellent reminder! Inspiring!❤

    • November 9, 2018 / 4:14 pm

      Thanks, Richa! I hope it helps people remember to be a little kinder to themselves 🙂

  25. November 6, 2018 / 3:08 pm

    Some great tips here Caz, I’m rubbish at stopping to take stock of things; I just plough on and plough on till I’m exhausted! x

    • November 9, 2018 / 4:14 pm

      I’m guilty of that too, but working on ‘pacing’ and learning to step back when necessary. Not easy to do though, but worth it so you don’t burn yourself out too regularly! xx

  26. February 14, 2019 / 8:07 pm

    Very useful advises Caz! 🙂 Pausing and tuning into the body is so important to avoid getting lost in our mental chatter, unfortunately very often we tend to forget to do it…. Thank you very much for the reminder! 🙂

    • February 15, 2019 / 12:11 am

      I’m glad you agree, and you’re right that all too often we forget to pause and tune into our bodies when we get overwhelmed. Thank you for the great comment, Giulia – I hope you have a lovely end to your week 🙂

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