Coping with Overwhelm for HSPs

Updated: Aug 31

Coping with overwhelm is difficult enough at the best of times. And if you’re an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), it’s likely that you’ve felt the distress of coping with overwhelm regularly. But you’re not alone. You probably can’t find anyone over the age of ten that hasn’t felt overwhelmed at some point. It takes more to overwhelm some people than others, but the feeling and the impact are the same.


It can be very challenging to focus on solutions and take the necessary steps to resolve the situation. However, focus and action can ultimately solve most negative situations in your life.


Many of us are prone to worrying and then doing silly things to make ourselves feel better. This doesn’t solve the issue, it just avoids it temporarily. But there’s plenty you can do to help you when you’re coping with overwhelm.


Take these steps to create a plan and go from feeling overwhelmed to feeling peaceful again:


Get your rest

Coping with overwhelm is stressful. It’s important to get your rest and relax as much as possible. Take time out to practice extreme self-care. It’s a good idea to prepare a list ready for coping with overwhelm. Flower essences, essential oils, listening to guided meditations, a walk in the fresh air, reading an inspiring book, listening to relaxing music. Have a think about what helps you to relax and add it to your list. That way, when you start to feel jangly and can’t think straight, you can look at your list and take action to get back into a state of calm. Most importantly, resist the urge to overwork and make sure you have a good night’s sleep. It may seem counter-intuitive when you feel overwhelmed and as if there’s so much on your To-Do list. But an HSP’s best work is done when in a relaxed state. You’ll find you work in a state of flow and everything takes less time to complete.


Eat well

Many people stop eating when they’re highly stressed. Others resort to eating a lot of junk. Neither is going to be good for you or help you to deal with your situation. Maintain good nutrition during this challenging time. Block out chunks of your diary to prepare something delicious and healthy, and consider that a reward for yourself. This will help you feel motivated and keep your energy levels up at the same time.


Blow off some steam

Exercise, go for a walk, a quick jog, an hour at the gym, play fabulous beats and dance around the room. All of these are great for moving those stress hormones out of your body. You’ll feel less anxious and have an easier time of getting a good night’s sleep. Energy makes energy. It also makes you feel stronger physically and mentally.


Identify what is under your control

There’s little point to worrying about those things outside your locus of control. Think about what you can control and put your attention and action there.


Focus on solutions

Now that you know what you can and can’t change, keep your attention on finding a solution. Obsessing over the problem won’t accomplish anything other than driving up your stress levels. Time and attention spent on solutions is the best way out of your mess.


Create a strategy

Make a plan for putting your solution into action. Figure out what you need to do and put as much time and effort into your plan as you can. The more you do, the better your odds of overcoming your challenges. Invest in a bullet journal or planner and work out what needs to be done and in what order. Simply writing it down can help you to feel more in control. And be honest with yourself, does everything on your list need to be done right now? What can you delegate, get help with, and what can wait a few days? That will help you to have more clarity and a sense of control.


Remind yourself that there is good in your life

Be grateful for what you have. You probably have more than the vast majority of people in the world. Make a list of all the things and people you have in your life that you appreciate and remind yourself of just how lucky you are.


Celebrate your successes

Even a little progress is worthy of celebration. Be proud of yourself and get excited about those small steps moving forward. This is highly motivating. Reward yourself and you’ll create an association in your brain between getting stuff done and experiencing something pleasant. This is one of the fastest ways to rewire your brain to move from overwhelm towards completion (and out of overwhelm!).

Get help

Two heads and four hands can accomplish more than just a single person. Ask for help and see what happens. Working in collaboration with someone else can have additional benefits as they may have some brilliant ideas to help you move forward.


HSPs – coping with overwhelm

The stress of coping with overwhelm is a feeling everyone is familiar with. But HSPs are especially prone to it and it’s debilitating if you fail to address it properly. Focus on solutions and put your time and energy on the right things. Worrying only makes you feel worse and makes you less capable.


It’s surprising how many challenges can be handled by asking the question ‘What can I do right now to deal with this?’ It will help to get your thoughts in order and solution focused. But the most important item on your list is to get yourself into the best emotional and physical state. That alone will make everything feel much easier to do.

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To learn more about being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and dealing with overwhelm, take a look at the following resources:


A science led look at what an HSP is and how to counteract the pressures of living in the everyday world. Drawing on her many years of research and face-to-face time spent with HSPs, Elaine N Aron presents this fully updated edition features guidance and self-assessment tests to help identify particular sensitivities. Topics covered are: ways to reframe past experiences in a positive light and gain greater self-esteem, insight into how sensitivity affects work and personal relationships, tips on how to deal with over-arousal and many others. Buy this book! Click on the link below: Highly Sensitive Person, The: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You – Elaine N Aron:



Are you often told to stop taking things to heart or to toughen up? Do you have a lot of empathy for others? Do you tend to overanalyse things and ‘get stuck in your own head’? Or become easily overwhelmed and often need to withdraw? If the answer is yes, you are likely to be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), and this book will be your guide to embracing your innate sensitivity, accepting your most authentic self and thriving in life. Buy this book! Click on the link below: The Handbook for Highly Sensitive People: How to Transform Feeling Overwhelmed and Frazzled to Empowered and Fulfilled – Mel Collins:



In today’s fast-paced, increasingly public society, we are expected to be resilient, to have the energy to manage a packed work schedule, social calendar, and a large network of friends, both online and offline, day and night. If you find yourself struggling to live up to, or even enjoy, these non-stop social expectations, then this book is for you. Written for highly sensitive people, the book explains the characteristics of being highly sensitive and how to overcome common difficulties, such as low self-esteem and the exhausting effects of socialising. Ilse Sand also encourages you to explore and appreciate the advantages of high sensitivity, including your aptitude for depth, intensity and presence, and suggests activities to calm and inspire. Buy this book! Click on the link below: Highly Sensitive People in an Insensitive World: How to Create a Happy Life – Ilse Sand:



Want more blogs on being an HSP? Take a look at this: HSPs - How to Deal with a Stressful Work Environment - Ruthy Baker - Author & Life Coach


Need help to relax and feel more confident? Try this Sleep Story for Confidence from my YouTube channel. Please like, share and subscribe to be kept up-to-date with my latest vlogs, videos and content – click on the link below:



HSPs often struggle with confidence. Here’s Confidence Tip No. 1 from my YouTube channel. Please like, share and subscribe to be kept up-to-date with my latest vlogs, videos and content. Click on the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMiEySWUDJM


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