When things get overwhelming, we'll often ignore our long-term goals and focus on short-term problems. We'll get so caught up in the stress of the moment that we forget what's truely important to us.
Of the highest importance, of course, is taking care of yourself! You need to allow for breaks, even when things get stressful. My favorite break (and most sanity-saving solution!) is to go to the gym.
I don't usually do regular workouts. In fact, I hardly ever make it to the gym. But every time I go when I'm stressed (or even not stressed), I walk out feeling 100% better. In that hour I spent at the gym, I'm aware I could have been working on my assignments, cleaning house, putting some overtime in at work on a project, or other busy projects.
Going to the gym allows me to clear my head and focus on the big picture. I'm able to prioritize my projects or, if I'd rather, just zone out and actually enjoy a TV show or some music. By the time I get back to my apartment, I know just what I need to focus on or how I what I'll be writing my next grad school paper on.
Trust me, this works. Invest a little bit of time at the gym, especially when you're overwhelmed. Every little bit of sanity-saving counts! :)