Most of us try to be so much: good friends, good partners, good employees, good humans in general—and it’s tough to keep going without becoming overwhelmed.
We feel like we’re spreading ourselves too thin. How can we make true progress in any one area, when there’s so much to do? How can we do better than our best?
Before we know it, we feel more emotional. Burnt out. Defeated. Negative. Unmotivated. Stuck.
But we know we have to keep going. We want to. So how do we put the pedal to the metal just as we’re running out of gas?
The answers are at your fingertips. Choose whichever category below best describes your overwhelm, and discover the most effective ways to overcome it. For the strongest kick in the butt, check out the resources in every category.
It is my hope (and prediction) that these resources won’t just be inspiring and motivating. They’ll also provide you with effective strategies to press forward, no matter what obstacles you face.
- Resources for When Your Emotions are Spinning out of Control
- Resources for When Life Keeps Kicking You Down
- Resources for When You Only Have a Flicker of Energy Left to Deal with it All
- Resources for When You Can’t See the Silver Lining
- Resources for When You Want to Give Up
- Resources for When You Feel Like You’re Spinning Your Wheels
Resources for When Your Emotions are Spinning out of Control
1. TED Talk: “The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage” – Susan David, Ph.D.
Susan David, Ph.D. is a Harvard Medical School psychologist and author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Emotional Agility. In her TED talk on emotional courage, Dr. David shares how we can foster greater levels of emotional agility in an increasingly complex world.
In a survey she conducted with over 70,000 people, she found one third judged themselves for having so-called “bad emotions” or tried to push them aside. Research has shown that such emotional suppression, however, only strengthens the unwanted emotions. No wonder we feel overwhelmed at times!
Susan encourages us not to suppress our emotions, but to clearly identify them, accept them, and use them to then generate values-aligned responses. By doing so, we can become more resilient to the uncertainties of life, and keep going when things get tough.
2. 7 Surefire Ways to Cultivate Emotional Stability – Lachlan Brown
Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit, offers unique insights into why we may struggle to achieve emotional stability. Do we irrationally worry about others abandoning us? Are we critical of our flaws? Are we afraid to ask for help?
No matter what the case, Lachlan provides several solutions to help us achieve a stronger sense of self. For instance, he advises us to “retell our stories”—to see ourselves not as victims of our past, but as people capable of learning and becoming the people we want to be.
Lachlan’s post shows a lack of emotional stability is nothing to be ashamed of. We all, to varying degrees, have experienced overwhelm and instances where we weren’t as emotionally stable as we would’ve liked.
With Lachlan’s post, you’ll gain the ability to process your emotions and “see them for what they are: responses to your thoughts about a situation or circumstance.”
3. This Is How To Be Resilient: 4 Secrets To Grit When Life Gets Hard – Eric Barker
Eric Barker, blogger and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree, provides a science-based approach to becoming resilient. The key, he says, is to become better at managing negative emotions.
He acknowledges the power negative emotions can have over us, stating, “You intuitively know there’s more to life than the one feeling that is seizing your attention. But we forget this when we’re in the grip of it and often make poor decisions as a result.”
He clarifies that while we cannot control our negative feelings, we need not obey them. We simply must allow them to unfold without judgment.
Eric draws from five books on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help us cope with negative feelings. He believes we can become more resilient by establishing a better relationship with discomfort, and his post helps us do just that.
4. Rising Strong – Dr. Brené Brown
When we feel vulnerable, we may deny it. When we feel shame, we may blame others. When we feel fear, we may retreat into ourselves. That’s where Dr. Brené Brown comes in.
Dr. Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers, including “Rising Strong.” In “Rising Strong,” she teaches us how to “rise from our falls, overcome our mistakes, and face hurt in a way that brings more wisdom and wholeheartedness into our lives.”
This process starts with what she calls “The Reckoning”: becoming curious about our emotions and how they connect with our thoughts and behavior. Then comes “The Rumble:” honestly confronting the stories we make up about our struggle; challenging our assumptions to determine what’s true and what’s self-protection; and reflecting on what needs to change.
Finally, there’s “The Revolution,” where we apply what we learned from The Rumble to our lives. This process helps us own our stories so we can keep going and lead more daring, wholehearted lives. It’s a must-read for anyone seeking to better understand their emotions and learn from experience.
Resources for When Life Keeps Kicking You Down
5. 15 Important Reminders for Your Darkest Moments of Self-Doubt – Marc Chernoff
Marc and Angel Chernoff run one of the most popular personal development blogs around: Marc and Angel Hack Life. They are also New York Times bestselling authors and professional coaches who have spent the past decade helping others find lasting happiness and success.
In Marc’s post addressing self-doubt, he offers fifteen reminders to help you rise up and keep going despite life’s difficulties. By the time you finish reading them, you’ll feel less defeated and overwhelmed.
My personal favorite: “No matter what’s happening, you CAN efficiently fight the battles of today. It’s only when you add the battles of those two relentless eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that life gets overwhelmingly complicated.”
This post takes just a few minutes to read, yet its effects will last long after that.
6. How to Overcome Disappointment and Refocus on Your Goals – Adam Sicinski
We don’t welcome disappointment. It’s an unwanted emotion—something that serves only to scar and stifle us, making it harder to be optimistic the next time around.
But what if we didn’t have to think about disappointment like this? What if, instead, we used it to our advantage, as Adam Sicinski suggests?
In his masterful post, Adam explores how disappointment is linked to our expectations. He then requests we challenge our expectations. Were they realistic? Narrow-minded? Selfish, even? Seeking to understand ourselves further as opposed to assigning blame elsewhere can help us learn and grow, better preparing us for the next disappointment that will ultimately come.
Managing expectations is just the tip of the iceberg. Adam also provides numerous strategies to best handle disappointment, including questions we can ask ourselves to gain necessary clarity. This is a post to read now, and reread each time you experience disappointment.
7. What I Do When I Feel Like Giving Up – James Clear
There are plenty of amazing humans writing books, running blogs, giving speeches, and telling us in every which way, “You can achieve your goals. You can do this.”
Have you ever thought that, good intentions aside, they were wrong? Because you’re not superhuman like them?
If so, check this post out. New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur and photographer James Clear writes authentically about his own struggle to consistently practice what he cares about: writing about habits and human potential. He asks, “What is life, if not the sum of a hundred thousand daily battles and tiny decisions to either gut it out or give it up?”
This short read does two things: it shows we are not alone in feeling overwhelmed, and it shows us a few ways we can decide in favor of gutting it out.
8. How To Deal With Disappointment So It Doesn’t Get You Down – Lucy Vinestock
When something (or someone) disappoints us, we can feel defeated. If we’re disappointed repeatedly in a short period of time, we can feel overwhelmed as well. Lucy Vinestock’s post on A Conscious Rethink offers tips to cope with disappointment so we can move on and keep going.
Lucy wisely notes it may take a while to find coping mechanisms that work for you, but through trial and error, you’ll get there. This is an important point, because when we’re feeling defeated, we want the feeling to leave immediately. And if our first attempt at moving on doesn’t work, we feel even more defeated and overwhelmed. Disappointed in ourselves.
That’s a waste of emotional energy. Our uniqueness is one of our greatest gifts, and there’s a price to pay for it: what works for one person may not work for the next. What matters is not so much how quickly we find relief, but that we do. This post will help you get started.
Resources for When You Only Have a Flicker of Energy Left to Deal with it All
9. Yes, Downtime Is Productive Time: Relaxing In The Age Of Burnout – mbg editorial team
We live in an age where convenience is at an all-time high. You can stream a TV show in seconds with Netflix. You can order just about anything on Amazon and get it delivered the same day—in two days, if you’re patient. You can ask Alexa what the weather’s like outside.
These things are great, but there’s a flip side to convenience. Your boss can now ping you whenever on Slack. You can work after-hours at home on your laptop. You can receive notifications, calls, texts, and everything else on your smart phone. It’s enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed.
The mind body green team sheds light on this conundrum in their post, noting, “[W]ith the increased pressure to be ‘always on’ comes backlash’: the prioritization of time off.” They cite several resources indicating increasing stress levels and how this harms our health.
Reading this post will help you see that while you’re not alone in your burnout, you are the only person who can advocate for your own balance and relaxation. Taking time for yourself will help you keep going without burning out.
10. 7 Tips to Recover From Burnout and Beat Overwhelm for Good – Craig Ballantyne
We work hard these days, and there’s pride in that. But sometimes the line between hard work and “workahol,” as Craig calls it, can become gray. In this excellent post, Craig offers unique solutions to help us get time back in the day.
After reading this post, you’ll be able to identify which of your tasks should be eliminated, delegated, or automated. You’ll also be reminded to get back to the basics: good sleep, high-quality foods, and rest, to name a few.
These strategies will help you feel less overwhelmed and craft a long-term approach to beat it for good.
11. Is It a Bad Day or Is It Burnout? – Shelly Tygielski
There’s a difference between bad days and burnout. Shelly notes in her post on Mindful, “Genuine burnout leads to an inability to successfully function on a personal, social and professional level. It steals hope. It squashes motivation. It, quite literally, sucks the life out of you.”
We all have or will have experienced symptoms of burnout, which Shelly describes in her post. She then graciously shares her personal experiences with burnout. Like many of us, she endured a prolonged period of stress and did not acknowledge her eventual burnout until it had caused her to stop eating healthy, practicing healthy habits, and even shut out friends and family.
Shelly speaks from her own experience in offering ways to help us identify the onset of burnout and navigate our way out of it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and find it tough to keep going, this is the post for you.
12. The Truth About Burnout – The Life Coach School Podcast (Brooke Castillo)
Brooke Castillo is the co-founder and CEO of The Life Coach School, which provides life coaching and teaches others how to coach themselves and/or others. She’s also the host of the incredible The Life Coach School Podcast.
Brooke begins her episode on burnout with this truth: burnout is not caused by working too many hours or working too hard. It’s caused by your attitude behind it.
Brooke expounds on this concept throughout the episode. She also distinguishes between feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, offering unique solutions for each.
By the end of this episode, you’ll know when to rest vs. keep going; what negative thinking patterns and habits are holding you back; and how to create more momentum while staying in tune with yourself.
Resources for When You Can’t See the Silver Lining
13. 10 Strategies for Being Happier with Gratitude – Tim Ferriss Podcast (Guest Host A.J. Jacobs)
Have you ever had a bad day? Have you ever asked, “Why do bad things always happen to me?” Have you ever felt guilty about how easily you spot the negatives?
If so, here’s some relief: according to evolutionary psychology, we’re wired to be negative. Thankfully, A.J. Jacobs guest hosted The Tim Ferriss Show podcast to share his greatest weapon against negative bias: gratitude.
A.J. Jacobs describes how he practices gratitude, and how we can do the same to lead happier lives. Remarkably, A.J. Jacobs traveled the world to thank one thousand people who enabled him to drink his morning cup of coffee. He thanked the farmers who grew the coffee beans, the truck driver who drove the beans, the inventor of his coffee cup lid—you name it.
That said, A.J. Jacobs notes we don’t need to travel the world to get the same effect. We can simply recognize the hundreds of things that go right in our lives. And that’s just one strategy A.J. Jacob shares. Listen to the podcast episode for the other nine.
14. 9 Tips on How to Persevere in Order to Succeed – Duncan Muguku
Duncan Muguku is the founder of ThriveYard, a site that provides in-depth resources for career success. In his post on perseverance, Duncan reminds us that the journey to success can take years or even decades.
The longer it takes to succeed, the easier it seems for negative thoughts to creep in. We remind ourselves we’re not guaranteed to succeed. We wonder if all our effort will be worth it. We feel overwhelmed. We doubt our abilities. We even question our passion, thinking perhaps it’s misguided.
Those who persist and succeed were not without these thoughts. They simply overcame them, Duncan explains, because they were determined to make a difference in their and others’ lives.
How can we foster such determination in ourselves? Duncan shares a variety of ways, my favorite being having a clear vision. A clear vision will guide you when negative thoughts steer you off course. It’ll calm you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. And it’ll motivate you to keep going when you experience setbacks. For more on this and perseverance, check Duncan’s post out.
15. 12 Things to Remember When You are Feeling Overwhelmed – Courtney Carver
Courtney Carver, the founder of Be more with less, helps overwhelmed and under-inspired individuals simplify their lives so they can start really living. This post is no exception.
If you’re overwhelmed, you may feel you don’t have the time to read this post. But you do, because it’s concise, visual, a five-minute read, and designed to help those feeling how you’re feeling.
Each reminder is a one-liner with a brief description below it. Together, the reminders will help you worry less, manage expectations, feel gratitude, and more—that is, if you revisit them when you need reminding.
There’s no magic bullet to beat overwhelm. But by learning when to rest vs. keep going, and by remembering you have the power to decide what matters to you most, you can lead a more simplified, empowered life.
16. Overcoming ANTS: Automatic Negative Thoughts – Entrepreneurs on Fire Podcast (Guest: Josh Knutti)
Josh Knutti is the founder of The Overcoming You Podcast, which empowers others to overcome negative self-talk and self-doubt. Josh appeared on John Lee Dumas’ podcast, Entrepreneurs on Fire, to discuss “automatic negative thoughts.”
Josh explains we are born with these thoughts. Thus, we must learn to recognize and understand them so we can stop them or use them for good. Josh shares a few scientifically proven ways we think to ourselves that contribute to negative self-talk and doubt.
One such way is “disqualifying the positive:” ignoring the positive aspects of our performance while focusing on the negative ones. This thinking activates our reticular activating system, which is the part of the brain that’s designed to show us everything we tell it. In other words, it leads to a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”
To turn things around, check out the podcast episode. As Josh says, the most important thing is what we think about ourselves when we’re by ourselves.
Resources for When You Want to Give Up
17. The Motivation Machine: How to Get & Stay Motivated for Any Goal – Nat Eliason
We all have goals we haven’t achieved. For many of us, that’s because we haven’t started pursuing those goals yet. We’re busy. Overwhelmed, even. We need more time to prepare. We’ll be ready in a week or a month or a year from now (until that time comes).
Self-starters don’t get this. When they have a goal, they start pursuing it. They’re driven. On fire. And nothing is going to stand in their way. That is, until their spark inexplicably goes out, and they don’t finish what they started.
Nat Eliason explains both of these circumstances are due to a lack of motivation. In his post, he shares resources that shed light on what motivation is made of. He then provides tactics to motivate us to not only start something, but also keep going.
Complete with diagrams, quotes, anecdotes, and links to resources, this is one of the most helpful, comprehensive posts on motivation. Take this post seriously to create your own “Motivation Machine.”
18. The Science of Perseverance – How Your Beliefs Can Strengthen (or Weaken) Your Motivation – Michael Pollock
Michael Pollock is a life coach and personal development blogger who helps others confidently pursue their goals. In his post on perseverance, he draws from forty years of scientific research to reveal the key to strengthening motivation: a “growth mindset.”
Many of us have heard of this concept before. If you have a “fixed mindset,” you believe you’re limited to the qualities you were born with. If you have a growth mindset, however, you believe you can strengthen existing skills and acquire entirely new ones. You believe you have the power to achieve.
Michael’s post reveals these mindsets don’t just apply to activities like sports, weight loss, and writing. They also apply to character traits like discipline, grit, and willpower. That means tossing up your hands and saying, “I just don’t have a lot of self-control” isn’t the only option.
This empowering post will help you recognize you have the power to choose between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. If you choose the latter, you’ll have the motivation to pursue your goals and keep going when challenges arise.
19. Understanding the Difference Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: How to Balance Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation – MasterClass
We all want motivation. What we rarely ask ourselves is, “What kind?”
MasterClass’ article notes there are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from within (e.g. interest, enjoyment). Extrinsic motivation does not; it includes external factors like praise and monetary rewards.
We often hear happiness comes from within, so one might assume intrinsic motivation is the gold standard. However, MasterClass clarifies that both forms of motivation are useful. We simply must understand how and when to use each.
This article provides such guidance and discusses how each form of motivation can help us achieve our goals. It also includes additional resources for those looking to learn more about these motivation types.
20. 46 of the Best Monday Motivation Quotes – Barrie Davenport
Have you ever felt unmotivated to become motivated? So picking out an inspiring film, searching for the best blog post on motivation, or journaling about your goals seems overwhelming, even?
Barrie Davenport, the founder of Live Bold and Bloom, can help. She’s all about “personal development with feet”—in other words, personal development that involves action. That said, sometimes the simplest way to start is to read a few quotes that inspire you.
Barrie wrote an article with forty-six quotes to help motivate you on Mondays, when many of us feel overwhelmed and reluctant to get back to work and other realities.
These quotes will help you see each Monday is a gift (to be alive); a new beginning; an opportunity to pursue your goals; and a time to reflect on the things that bring you joy (or don’t). By the time you’re done, you’ll feel motivated to pursue your goals and keep going when the Monday blues get you down.
Resources for When You Feel Like You’re Spinning Your Wheels
21. Girl, Stop Apologizing – Rachel Hollis
Rachel Hollis is a #1 New York times and #1 USA Today bestselling author, top podcaster, and motivational speaker. In her book “Girl, Stop Apologizing,” Rachel shares how we can achieve our version of “more.” She talks about excuses to let go of, behaviors to adopt, and skills to acquire to become our best selves.
She asks of her readers, “How many of you reading this are living half lives or, worse, are a shadow of who you were truly meant to be because someone in your life doesn’t fully appreciate or understand you?”
Questions like this, coupled with Rachel’s anecdotes and insights, drive the point home: we can stop apologizing for who we are and who we want to be. And we can go out and pursue our dreams.
The tone of the book is conversational and upbeat—a must when you’re looking to develop a can-do attitude. By the end of the book, you’ll feel Rachel is in your corner rooting for you (and she is).
22. How to Move Forward in Life When You Feel Stuck – Katherine Hurst
If you feel overwhelmed and stuck in your life, don’t worry! It’s a common feeling that can occur for any number of reasons.
Maybe you’re struggling to move on from a bad past experience. Maybe you’re allowing negative thoughts about yourself to go unchecked. Maybe your life is good, but you don’t feel you’re moving forward in a meaningful way.
Whatever the case, Katherine Hurst’s post on becoming unstuck will help. Katherine Hurst has led TheLawOfAttraction.com community since 2014, helping others to translate their thoughts and materialize them into reality.
After reading Katherine’s post, you’ll be better equipped to take charge of your life and keep going, even when things try to hold you back.
23. The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
If you haven’t read Ryan Holiday’s work, you’re missing out. You can find his writing on his own blog, ryanholiday.net; on outlets like the New York Times, The Huffington Post, and Medium; and in the ten books he has authored. He writes about life, self-awareness, philosophy, and other thought-provoking concepts.
In “The Obstacle is the Way,” Ryan reveals how to turn trials into triumph. He shares the collective wisdom of numerous Stoics who have persisted despite numerous obstacles and even thrived because of them.
For those unfamiliar with Stoicism, Ryan offers philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s definition: a Stoic is someone who “transforms fear into prudence, pain into information, mistakes into initiation and desire into undertaking.”
If the obstacles in your life are making it difficult to keep going, this is a must-read. By the time you’ve finished the book, you’ll feel miles ahead of where you are now.
24. How to Get Overwhelm to Eat Your Dust – Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast (Amy Porterfield)
Amy Porterfield, a former corporate “yes” girl, became her own boss to help online entrepreneurs build businesses they love. On her top-ranked podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, Amy speaks authentically about her own experiences with feeling overwhelmed. In this episode, she shares three strategies to help others tackle it.
Whether you’re building a business or not, this episode has great tips on how to recognize overwhelm; organize your priorities; and explore fears that are holding you back.
Amy includes examples from her own life, showing she practices what she preaches. She also takes a realistic approach to problem-solving, such as when she advises, “Commit to dancing with fear because it will never go away.”
Listening to this episode will help you feel we’re all in this together (which we are!).
The Toughest Keep Going
When you’re overwhelmed, the last thing you want to do is keep going. You’re trying so hard already, and you’re exhausted. You feel like you’re spinning your wheels. And you’re not sure if pressing forward is even the right strategy anymore.
But as the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The toughest keep going. And you now have the resources to do just that.
The next time you feel “too” emotional, stop judging yourself. The next time you feel disappointed, reflect on the expectations that got you there. The next time you feel burnt out, carve out time for yourself.
The next time you feel negative, choose gratitude. The next time you feel unmotivated, adopt a growth mindset. The next time you feel stuck, see opportunities where there are obstacles.
And the next time you feel overwhelmed in the slightest, remember: you’ve got this.