15 Therapeutic things you can do for free when you feel overwhelmed

Posted in Health
on July 30, 2017

Do you ever feel like you’ve got so much to do but not enough time?

Ever feel like you just need everyone to stop and shush for a minute, so you can think?

Are you under pressure at work and feeling stressed out?

Do you have something coming up which makes you anxious?


Whatever the reason, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes, whether that’s because of things going on around us, or our own thoughts.

Yep, it’s normal, but it’s really not nice.


Personally, I find it really hard to switch off, especially from work, and it can lead to overwhelm. I just need a bit of head space to process and decompress.

There are things I do to give myself a break, find perspective, and work through a problem, though. I’m sharing some of these therapeutic activities with you in the hope that you’ll find them helpful, too.


Focused breathing or meditation.

An obvious one, maybe, but it’s probably the easiest therapeutic thing you can do. A lot of people are a bit freaked out by meditating, but hear me out.

I don’t mean sitting on the floor with candles and chanting. I just mean stopping, and focusing on your breathing to calm your racing mind.

Get yourself comfortable, place your hands either side of your ribcage and just breathe in as deeply as you can. Feel your hands move as your lungs expand. Hold it for a second, then let it go.

       Slowing your breathing takes you right out of the biological stress response.


I count my breaths until I lose focus. Eventually I’ll feel less tense and my thoughts become less “omgomgomgomg”. You can do this anytime, anywhere.


Walk. Outside.

Fresh air is unbelievable when you’re feeling upset or anxious. I don’t know why; maybe there’s a scientific reason.

Put on shoes, switch your phone to silent, and just walk wherever you feel like going. You might be 10 minutes, you might be an hour.

It’s the same as number 1; eventually you lose focus on the problem and gain some insight. Usually, when I get back from a walk, I feel like the problem isn’t as big as it was when I left.



There are some awesome Pins on stretches you can do when you feel tense.

If you practice yoga then you’ve got this one down already. If not, try it. Seriously.

When I’ve been sat at a computer all day and I feel a bit dazed, I find some space and just stretch. It makes me feel a little more energised and takes the tension out of my muscles which, in turn, relaxes my mind



Listen to music. In headphones or blast it out to the entire street. I probably wouldn’t recommend anything that’s going to make you weepy, but it doesn’t have to be super happy either


Sort stuff out.

I love taking everything out of my wardrobe and getting rid of the stuff that doesn’t make me feel good when I wear it anymore. You could do the same with your wardrobe, your inbox, your DVDs…anything. Sometimes a declutter improves your mental state.



Something from scratch that will comfort you but is also nutritious. Try this spaghetti recipe from one of my favourite bloggers, Peta.



Don’t pay attention to spelling, grammar, whether what you’re saying actually makes sense. Don’t write it for other people to read – just write.

Getting your thoughts out on paper (or screen!) can help you make sense of how you’re feeling when you read it back.



Anything. A movie, a cake, a concerto, a still life. Put your makeup on, paint the garden fence, do something Pinterest-y.

Whatever you can do to keep your mind distracted, and which has an outcome you can see as an achievement.



Yep, have a good old cry. I know it’s really hard for some people but, if you’re feeling really overwhelmed, an emotional release can help. Sometimes it’s good to just let yourself feel what you’re feeling and let it out so you can move past it.



Anything that you can really get into, so that you’re distracted from the thoughts, or situation causing you worry or stress.

I like to read fiction when I feel stressed, as a kind of escapism. When things get pretty bad, I generally re-read all seven Potters.



I’m not saying that painting your nails and doing a face mask will solve anything, but it’s just about taking some time to do something nice for yourself to lift your mood. I like something with a relaxing scent, like the Pixi glow mud mask.



British stereotypes aside, tea is the best drink for making me feel calm. I don’t know whether it’s the time taken to drink it, or the tea itself.

I prefer green or herbal teas when I’m feeling stressed, and Twinings Pure Peppermint is my current fave.



Choice is yours on how you go about this. I know it’s a difficult one for some people, myself included, because the last thing I want to do when I’m feeling stressed is go to the gym.

Very few things beat the rush of endorphins I get afterwards, though. I feel like I’ve accomplished something, I feel good for taking care of my health, and I often remind myself I’m stronger than I think



Again, a difficult one for me, because often I need time to process things myself before I can articulate them to someone else. It always helps to have someone to talk things through with, though.

Often, verbalising something can help you make sense of it, or make a decision if you need to, but talking to someone might give you an idea you hadn’t considered. A problem shared, and all that. There’s a reason why some therapeutic interventions are based on talking.



Could be a person, or a pet. Cuddling up can give you a little rush of affection which can energise you to go and face whatever problem you’re having



Stress can be a good motivator for some people, and can often have a good outcome. It’s just about knowing your own limits, and realising when you’re starting to feel less motivated, and more overwhelmed.

Don’t feel bad for taking some time for yourself. It can actually help you tackle an issue with renewed energy, rather than fighting through it when you feel stressed.

Trying to resolve something with a positive mindset, instead of a negative one, just makes sense, doesn’t it?


Do you practice any of these things already? If not, are you going to try some next time you feel overwhelmed? If you have any other ideas, please share them in the comments below.

15 therapeutic things you can do for free when you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Many can be done anytime, anywhere. #stress #selfcare #anxiety #tips #mentalhealth


15 therapeutic things you can do for free when you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Many can be done anytime, anywhere. #stress #selfcare #anxiety #tips #mentalhealth





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  • Amanda

    Walking outside is the biggest one for me! xx


    August 8, 2017 at 21:38 Reply
    • North

      There’s something really calming about it, isn’t there? I think it must be something to do with taking the time away from distractions to really think things through, or to just switch off altogether.
      I think it’s the only reason I might prefer summer over winter….because I can get outside more! xx

      August 9, 2017 at 18:15 Reply
  • The Black Sheep Theorem

    Really well thought out post. I can definitely attest for all of them!

    September 2, 2017 at 20:39 Reply
    • North

      Thank you so much, really appreciate you taking time to read this.

      September 3, 2017 at 13:52 Reply

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