How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

I felt emotionally flooded, and he could see it in my face. Before he could respond, I sighed, “With everything going on in the world, I just want to watch ‘Love Is Blind’ on Netflix, eat chocolate recklessly, and nap like I’m training for a sleep competition.” I was certifiably overwhelmed and wondering how to get my life together. There is no denying how overwhelmed we all are amidst global pandemics, natural disasters, political challenges, economic downturns, family drama, and work deadlines. It’s enough to make anyone throw up their hands, jump in bed, and pull the covers over their head until 2030. Yet, every storm has an end, and you are strong enough to weather it. When you are overwhelmed, you feel like things are too much to deal with. Put simply, there is an all-consuming sentiment that emotions are just too strong. Overwhelm can be situational or general. Situational overwhelm is linked to a particular set of contingent circumstances, like when there is a big project due at work, but you are not sure if it will go well and your promotion is hanging in the balance. General overwhelm is linked to the everyday pressures of showing up for yourself and others. Regardless of which type of overwhelm you encounter, it can be a truly challenging ordeal. Everyone gets overwhelmed from time to time. It is a natural part of life. Overwhelm doesn’t have to upend your progress or thrust you into a downward spiral. In order to help you navigate these treacherous waters, here are some tips to help you get your life back together when you feel totally overwhelmed.((Harvard Business Review: How to Deal with Constantly Feeling Overwhelmed))

1. Slow It Down

The first thing you need to do when you feel flooded or overwhelmed is to slow everything down. The sensation you are feeling is like an alarm. Your body and spirit are trying to bring your awareness to something important, and now they have your attention. In order to process the data you are being given and assess what is happening, you have to slow everything down. The breath is your best tool for slowing it down. The power of your breath is incredible. Since the respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems are connected, any intentional manipulation of the breath is going to directly effect your blood pressure and emotional state. Doing something as simple as taking a moment to take 3 slow deep breaths when you are in the throws of overwhelm can start to slow everything down. When you give yourself permission to slow down your thinking, it is as if you have put the brakes on. You are forcing yourself to be present for what you are feeling and thinking in the moment. The experience of overwhelm can feel very chaotic and out of control, but when you slow it down you are reclaiming control over the experience.((PsychCentral: Overwhelmed? These 6 Strategies May Help))

2. Step Back, Reflect, and Reframe

Once you have slowed down, it’s time to step back and reflect on what led up to the overwhelm. Some good questions to ask yourself are:

  • Did I put too much on my plate? If so who can I get to help me? What can I set aside for now?
  • Am I prepared enough? If not, what else can I do to prepare? Is there anything getting in the way of my preparation?
  • Were there signs I ignored that would have kept me from getting to this point?
  • Is there any self-sabatoge at play?
  • What is the single most important thing I can do right now that will move me towards my goal?

Reflecting is great because it helps you to sort through the data you received from being overwhelmed. Taking the time to decipher this data will also help you to better understand what your body is trying to tell you in the future if you experience these sensations again. Having a frame of reference for overwhelm ahead of time is invaluable. Instead of it feeling like a chaotic incoming tornado siren, it will feel more like a monotone, preventative early warning system. Reframing happens when you have collected, processed, and reflected on the data and can now place the experience in a new perspective. For example, when I failed the bar, I thought it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. I was extremely upset. I was overwhelmed by the thought that I had wasted $140,000 in loans and would not be able to pay my bills, get a job, or create the life I always wanted. My body felt sick, weak, and tired. My mind was heavy with all manner of negative thought patterns. It sucked. Yet when I gave myself permission to slow it down, step back, and reflect, I realized that I would have hated being a lawyer. It took a while, but I was able to reframe that experience as a blessing that allowed me to identify my true calling – helping others achieve the success they truly desire.

3. Release, Regroup, and Redirect

It’s easier said than done, but when it comes to overwhelm the best thing you can do is let it go. Your effort to slow down, step back, reflect, and reframe have made it a lot easier for you to release the cause of your overwhelm. Once I gave myself permission to reframe failing the bar, I was able to release it without any regrets. The release of the source of overwhelm is critical to the “getting your life back together” component of this process. In order to truly get your life back together, you have to regroup and redirect. The overwhelm put a chink in your chain, which halted your progress. Now that the chink has been worked out, you can place your chain back on the cogs and get back to work. Regrouping is important because it allows you to close the feedback loop on all the slowing down, stepping back, reflecting, reframing, and releasing. It is like a metaphorical period on the sentence of the lived experience. It allows you to hit the reset button, and with all you know now, you can move forward in an informed, prepared, and empowered manner. The last act is to redirect. Thankfully, all the work you have to done leading up to this moment will make it much easier for you to identify your new trajectory. Remember that redirecting doesn’t mean you must move in a radically new direction; even if your trajectory only slightly altered its course – that’s ok! What is most important is that you have processed, integrated, and learned from your overwhelm so that you are both better prepared for future overwhelm and more equipped to avoid it all together.

Final Thoughts

We have all been overwhelmed. Some of us are more easily overwhelmed than others. Yet, your progress doesn’t need to be completely compromised because you experience overwhelm. You are strong enough to overcome it. When you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to slow it down by using your breath. Give yourself permission to step back and reflect on what led up to the feeling of overwhelm because there is valuable data there. Reclaim your power by reframing the experience and releasing the source of overwhelm. Lastly, close the feedback loop by regrouping and redirecting. You got this.

I felt emotionally flooded, and he could see it in my face. Before he could respond, I sighed, “With everything going on in the world, I just want to watch ‘Love Is Blind’ on Netflix, eat chocolate recklessly, and nap like I’m training for a sleep competition.” I was certifiably overwhelmed and wondering how to get my life together.

There is no denying how overwhelmed we all are amidst global pandemics, natural disasters, political challenges, economic downturns, family drama, and work deadlines. It’s enough to make anyone throw up their hands, jump in bed, and pull the covers over their head until 2030. Yet, every storm has an end, and you are strong enough to weather it.

When you are overwhelmed, you feel like things are too much to deal with. Put simply, there is an all-consuming sentiment that emotions are just too strong. Overwhelm can be situational or general.

Situational overwhelm is linked to a particular set of contingent circumstances, like when there is a big project due at work, but you are not sure if it will go well and your promotion is hanging in the balance. General overwhelm is linked to the everyday pressures of showing up for yourself and others. Regardless of which type of overwhelm you encounter, it can be a truly challenging ordeal.

Everyone gets overwhelmed from time to time. It is a natural part of life. Overwhelm doesn’t have to upend your progress or thrust you into a downward spiral. In order to help you navigate these treacherous waters, here are some tips to help you get your life back together when you feel totally overwhelmed.((Harvard Business Review: How to Deal with Constantly Feeling Overwhelmed))

1. Slow It Down

The first thing you need to do when you feel flooded or overwhelmed is to slow everything down. The sensation you are feeling is like an alarm. Your body and spirit are trying to bring your awareness to something important, and now they have your attention. In order to process the data you are being given and assess what is happening, you have to slow everything down.

The breath is your best tool for slowing it down. The power of your breath is incredible. Since the respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems are connected, any intentional manipulation of the breath is going to directly effect your blood pressure and emotional state.

Doing something as simple as taking a moment to take 3 slow deep breaths when you are in the throws of overwhelm can start to slow everything down.

When you give yourself permission to slow down your thinking, it is as if you have put the brakes on. You are forcing yourself to be present for what you are feeling and thinking in the moment.

The experience of overwhelm can feel very chaotic and out of control, but when you slow it down you are reclaiming control over the experience.((PsychCentral: Overwhelmed? These 6 Strategies May Help))

2. Step Back, Reflect, and Reframe

Once you have slowed down, it’s time to step back and reflect on what led up to the overwhelm. Some good questions to ask yourself are:

  • Did I put too much on my plate? If so who can I get to help me? What can I set aside for now?
  • Am I prepared enough? If not, what else can I do to prepare? Is there anything getting in the way of my preparation?
  • Were there signs I ignored that would have kept me from getting to this point?
  • Is there any self-sabatoge at play?
  • What is the single most important thing I can do right now that will move me towards my goal?

Reflecting is great because it helps you to sort through the data you received from being overwhelmed. Taking the time to decipher this data will also help you to better understand what your body is trying to tell you in the future if you experience these sensations again.

Having a frame of reference for overwhelm ahead of time is invaluable. Instead of it feeling like a chaotic incoming tornado siren, it will feel more like a monotone, preventative early warning system.

Reframing happens when you have collected, processed, and reflected on the data and can now place the experience in a new perspective. For example, when I failed the bar, I thought it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. I was extremely upset. I was overwhelmed by the thought that I had wasted $140,000 in loans and would not be able to pay my bills, get a job, or create the life I always wanted. My body felt sick, weak, and tired. My mind was heavy with all manner of negative thought patterns. It sucked.

Yet when I gave myself permission to slow it down, step back, and reflect, I realized that I would have hated being a lawyer. It took a while, but I was able to reframe that experience as a blessing that allowed me to identify my true calling – helping others achieve the success they truly desire.

3. Release, Regroup, and Redirect

It’s easier said than done, but when it comes to overwhelm the best thing you can do is let it go. Your effort to slow down, step back, reflect, and reframe have made it a lot easier for you to release the cause of your overwhelm.

Once I gave myself permission to reframe failing the bar, I was able to release it without any regrets. The release of the source of overwhelm is critical to the “getting your life back together” component of this process.

In order to truly get your life back together, you have to regroup and redirect. The overwhelm put a chink in your chain, which halted your progress. Now that the chink has been worked out, you can place your chain back on the cogs and get back to work.

Regrouping is important because it allows you to close the feedback loop on all the slowing down, stepping back, reflecting, reframing, and releasing. It is like a metaphorical period on the sentence of the lived experience. It allows you to hit the reset button, and with all you know now, you can move forward in an informed, prepared, and empowered manner.

The last act is to redirect. Thankfully, all the work you have to done leading up to this moment will make it much easier for you to identify your new trajectory. Remember that redirecting doesn’t mean you must move in a radically new direction; even if your trajectory only slightly altered its course – that’s ok!

What is most important is that you have processed, integrated, and learned from your overwhelm so that you are both better prepared for future overwhelm and more equipped to avoid it all together.

Final Thoughts

We have all been overwhelmed. Some of us are more easily overwhelmed than others. Yet, your progress doesn’t need to be completely compromised because you experience overwhelm. You are strong enough to overcome it.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to slow it down by using your breath. Give yourself permission to step back and reflect on what led up to the feeling of overwhelm because there is valuable data there. Reclaim your power by reframing the experience and releasing the source of overwhelm.

Lastly, close the feedback loop by regrouping and redirecting. You got this.

How to focus, prioritize and take control of your to-do list

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

We all know that person who seems to always have their life together. They probably don’t have fewer responsibilities than you. It’s more likely they have better stress management and know how to manage their time . Rather than feeling overwhelmed , they prioritize, delegate and achieve – and these are skills you can learn.

Why do I feel overwhelmed?

Feeling overwhelmed often starts when we have a big event in our future. Planning a wedding, preparing for a pitch at work, helping the kids apply to college or other big changes make us feel like there’s no room for anything else. Feeling overwhelmed can also be the result of a buildup of small things: Maybe your spouse is working a lot, but you need more help around the house. Or changes at work have left you with more responsibilities.

Feeling overwhelmed can create a cycle of negativity: You get overwhelmed when you are not managing your state. You feel stressed and anxious, which makes small things feel bigger than they are. This causes you to feel even more overwhelmed, and the cycle continues. To break the cycle, you need to take a step back and learn how to deal with feeling overwhelmed in a productive way.

How to deal with feeling overwhelmed

Everyone is familiar with feeling overwhelmed – but some of us deal with it better than others. Here are the strategies many successful people use to take back control of their emotions .

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

1. Challenge your beliefs

How many times have you thought, “ Why do I feel overwhelmed ?” in the past month? The past week? If feeling overwhelmed is a constant struggle and you can’t put your finger on its cause, you may need to examine your limiting beliefs . We all develop beliefs about ourselves and the world around us based on our personal experiences. Are you a perfectionist? Do you care too much about what others think? Letting go of beliefs like these can help you banish anxiety and overwhelmed feelings for good.

2. Focus on your outcome

Sometimes we can’t say no. Sometimes we need to get things done. When you have a lot on your plate and you’re wondering how to deal with feeling overwhelmed , the first step is to focus on your outcome . Your outcome is your ultimate goal. Maybe you’re planning an event that you want to go off without a hitch. Maybe you’re building a business to gain financial freedom. Focus on the result you want, then determine how you can get there through practical solutions.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

3. Prioritize

Once you’ve determined your end goal, work backwards to determine your priorities. Tony’s Rapid Planning Method is ideal for zeroing in your most productive actions. First you’ll lay out your vision. You’ll then make plans for the next day, week and month (and so on), creating a laser-focused map for your life. It’s a way of thinking that can transform your life when you’re feeling overwhelmed .

4. Ask for help

“ I feel overwhelmed ” contains one key word: I. You’re not in it alone. By leveraging your network or support system, you can turn the “I” into “we” and stop feeling overwhelmed . This could mean delegating tasks at work, outsourcing tasks at home to professional help or even asking your spouse to do the dishes. Worried about appearances? Asking for help shows resourcefulness and confidence, two key traits of great leaders .

5. Know when it’s good enough

Perfectionism can come from fear: If what we’re doing isn’t perfect, it’s wrong. It’s a failure – and therefore we are a failure . Competitive people are also often perfectionists. They feel like they can “beat” everyone else by being perfect. But if you’re spending too long on tasks that only have a marginal benefit for you, it’s time to be done. As Sheryl Sandberg says, “Done is better than perfect” – and the COO of Facebook knows what she’s talking about.

6. Take a break

For many of us, letting things like perfectionism go is a form of self-care . Prioritizing your mental and physical health is vital if you want to stop feeling overwhelmed . Taking a break increases creativity and makes you more productive when you return. Bill Gates takes two, week-long retreats each year. Marissa Mayer takes a week-long vacation every four months. Go ahead and unplug. You won’t be thinking “ I feel overwhelmed ” when you’re reading a book on the beach.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

7. Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is another nearly universal habit of successful people. Tony makes priming a part of his morning ritual, focusing on gratitude and goals. Padmasree Warrior meditates every night – a habit that helped keep her from feeling overwhelmed by the 22,000 employees she supervised as the CTO of Cisco.

Think you don’t have time? Spending just 10 minutes clearing your mind can sharpen your focus, helping you think clearly and make better decisions.

8. Do something nice

Adding another item to your schedule may be the last thing you want to do if you’re constantly thinking, “ I feel overwhelmed .” But it could be one of the best remedies. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter. Pack boxes at a food bank. Walk dogs at an animal shelter. You’ll get out of your own head and see things from a new perspective that will take you from feeling overwhelmed to feeling grateful for all you have.

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

Simplify your life. Declutter your mind. Connect with your heart.

by Courtney Carver

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Even on a good day, life can be overwhelming. Buzzing phones, work obligations, family needs, to-do lists, email overload, expectations, illness, invitations and the list goes on for the things that occupy our time. On top of that we have food choices, clothing choices, money worries, and mental and physical health issues that can weigh us down.

So what do we do? How can move through life with less stress and overwhelm? How can we enjoy our lives in the midst of the chaos? I discovered after years of experimenting and eliminating things like clutter, debt, and busyness that it is possible to create a more peaceful environment.

It does take time to change your environment though. It’s worth doing no matter how long it takes, but for some immediate relief when you are feeling overwhelmed, stop and consider these reminders (whichever ones are helpful for your situation).

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Worry never works. Let your worry go. It won’t be easy, but do it anyway. Write it down, walk it off, shift your thoughts and keep letting it go. And then do that again and again and again.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

If you honor every request with a yes, you will compromise your health, family, peace of mind, and the joy of living your life.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Instead of downplaying or dismissing your feelings when things are heavy or you are overwhelmed, trust them.

4. How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Please stop apologizing for who you are. You deserve better and we desperately need you to be unapologetically you. If you are feeling overwhelmed because the people around you don’t support you and lift you up, find new people.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Holding the weight of other people’s expectations is overwhelming but it’s not your responsibility. Isn’t it time to live the life you dreamed about instead of the one others expect of you?

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Take care of you. Your health comes first.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

It’s always a good time to be grateful and that means expressing thanks even when you aren’t feeling your best, or when you are feeling overwhelmed. Even in the dark times, there are things to be thankful for. It may be more challenging to feel or express your gratitude, but then it’s even more important to do it. Join the 30-day Bring Gratitude Challenge for more fun and accountability.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

What if you stopped keeping score? Imagine the heart space you could create if you stopped holding on to who emptied the dishwasher or took out the trash last? Maybe it doesn’t matter who called who last. Call if you want to connect. And think about how much more you’d enjoy spending time with your friends if you didn’t have to remember who paid for coffee or lunch last time? Things don’t have to be even to be good.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Unplug. Back Off. Let go. Refresh. Restore.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

What people think of you has nothing to do with you. If they tell you something you that isn’t helpful, simply smile and say, “thanks so much for your feedback.” and move on.

11.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

I always say no to ignoring my heart. She knows things.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Be picky about what gets your energy and attention. When everything is important, nothing is.

Pay attention to how you are feeling.

Feeling overwhelmed is a sign. It’s a signal to shift something from your mindset to your schedule. You have the power to cancel something or to say no thank you. You are brave enough to make a small change that will ease your overwhelm. You have the option of deciding what matters to you and making room for whatever that is.

I know it’s not easy (the good stuff usually isn’t), but it’s worth it. Notice when you are feeling overwhelmed and choose to pause and remind yourself that you can turn things around — inch by inch, step by step, and thought by thought.

Now, it’s your turn…

Before you go, let us know:

  • Which “reminder” above resonates with you the most right now and why?

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Five strategies can help.

The cognitive impact of feeling perpetually overwhelmed can range from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating or thinking logically, to a racing mind or an impaired ability to problem solve. When we have too many demands on our thinking over an extended period of time, cognitive fatigue can also happen, making us more prone to distractions and our thinking less agile. Any of these effects, alone, can make us less effective and leave us feeling even more overwhelmed. If you are feeling constantly overwhelmed, the author offers five strategies to try.

Five strategies can help.

Our work lives have become increasingly demanding, presenting us with ever more complex challenges at a near-relentless pace. Add in personal or family needs, and it’s easy to feel constantly overwhelmed. In their book, Immunity to Change, Harvard professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey discuss how the increase in complexity associated with modern life has left many of us feeling “in over our heads.” When this is the case, the complexity of our world has surpassed our “complexity of mind” or our ability to handle that level of complexity and be effective. This has nothing to do with how smart we are, but with how we make sense of the world and how we operate in it.

Our typical response to ever-growing workloads is to work harder and put in longer hours, rather than to step back and examine what makes us do this and find a new way of operating. I have a few clients who fit this description. When we started working together, they each had already resorted to getting up at 4 AM to do work. Sue, who works for a tech company that recently went public, is leading many simultaneous projects and is fearful she’ll miss an important email. Ajay, a senior leader at a late-stage start-up, needs the extra quiet time to try to make a dent in his ever-growing to-do list, but feels like he’s trying to dig himself out of a hole that just keeps getting deeper. Maria, a start-up co-founder, felt constantly overwhelmed as her company started to scale. While CEOs of trillion dollar companies like Apple’s Tim Cook, wake up at 3:45 AM, most of us don’t have quite this level of responsibility.

The cognitive impact of feeling perpetually overwhelmed can range from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating or thinking logically, to a racing mind or an impaired ability to problem solve. When we have too many demands on our thinking over an extended period of time, cognitive fatigue can also happen, making us more prone to distractions and our thinking less agile. Any of these effects, alone, can make us less effective and leave us feeling even more overwhelmed. If you are feeling constantly overwhelmed, here are some key strategies to try:

Pinpoint the primary source of overwhelm. Ask yourself the question, “What one or two things, if taken off my plate would alleviate 80% of the stress that I feel right now?” While you may still be responsible for these items and cannot actually take them off your plate, this question can still help you identify a significant source of your stress. If it’s a big project that’s almost done, finish it. Or, if it’s the sheer size of the task or project that is overwhelming you, break it down into more manageable components, ask for additional resources or renegotiate the deadline if you are able — or all of the above.

Set boundaries on your time and workload. This can include “time boxing” the hours you spend on a task or project, leaving the office by a certain time, or saying no to specific types of work. Ajay realized he was spending a significant amount of time mediating conflicts between various team members, which was not only an unproductive use of his time, but also reinforced their behavior of escalating issues to him instead of learning to resolve these problems themselves. Saying “no” to these escalations and setting expectations that they do their best to work out these issues before coming to him, created more breathing room for him to focus on his priorities with fewer distractions.

Challenge your perfectionism. Perfectionism can lead us to make tasks or projects bigger than they need to be, which can lead to procrastination and psychological distress. As things pile up, the sense of overwhelm grows, which can then lead to more procrastination and more overwhelm. Sheryl Sandberg famously said, “Done is better than perfect.” Know when “good” is “good enough” by asking yourself, “What is the marginal benefit of spending more time on this task or project?” If the answer is very little, stop where you are and be done with it. Part of this is also recognizing that we cannot do everything perfectly. Sue was finally able to accept that sometimes an email will be overlooked, and that if it’s important enough, the other person will follow up with her.

Outsource or delegate. Ask yourself, “What is the highest and best use of my time?” Activities that don’t fall within your answer can be taught and/or delegated to others. This can include managing selected projects, delegating attending certain meetings, having a team member conduct the initial interviews for an open position, or outsourcing the cleaning of your home and meal preparation. Maria had the revelation that she should delegate the weekly Sales meeting that she had always led to — of all people — the Head of Sales! She realized she had hired this person over a year ago but was still clinging to certain responsibilities that “she had always done,” and had never fully empowered him, for fear of giving up control. In the end, she admitted all she really needed was an email update. By letting go of this one task, she freed up 52 hours a year to focus on other high-priority strategic issues.

Challenge your assumptions. If feeling overwhelmed is an ongoing struggle, it is likely that you have assumptions that are keeping you stuck in unproductive behaviors. Kegan and Lahey refer to these as “Big Assumptions.” For Sue, it was the belief that “If something falls through the cracks, I’d fail and wouldn’t be able to recover from it.” In Ajay’s case, it was his belief that “If I’m not there to help others, I won’t be needed and people will question my value.” For Maria, her assumption was “If I lose control, others will mess up, and the company will fail.” While these big assumptions felt real to each leader, these limiting beliefs were not likely 100% true and kept them stuck in old patterns that significantly contributed to their sense of overwhelm. By identifying and debunking these beliefs over time, they were able to broaden their previously contracted view of the world, which in turn allowed them to reduce their overwhelm and provided them with a greater sense of agency.

While we may all feel overwhelmed from time to time in our demanding work and personal lives, employing the above strategies can help mitigate the frequency and extent to which we feel this way.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”

We’ve all had moments when life’s demands left us feeling stressed and scattered. In these moments, it’s helpful to have some simple tools to help us gain composure and come back to our center.

Let me paint a picture for you of a scene from my daily life at its most overwhelming.

On a recent Tuesday, I drafted my evening’s “to-do” list, which contained the following items: Go clothes shopping for my son, get groceries, cook up some dog food, cook dinner, give my son a bath, put laundry away, walk the dog, and prepare for a workshop that I was to present that weekend.

Like most working parents, I have to fit a lot of tasks into a brief period of time on weeknight evenings.

Clearly all of those items weren’t going to get accomplished. But I felt compelled to try.

And then, mid-afternoon, a feeling of illness began to creep over me, starting with a headache and progressing into nausea and profound fatigue. By the time I got home, I had revised my list, and whittled it down to: Bathe my son.

I felt incapable of anything else.

Still, even with a truncated list, my evening became chaotic very quickly. Our newly-acquired dog was dripping blood all over the house, including the white slipcover. She was not sick—she was in heat.

As I tried to attend to the mess, my son called to me from the kitchen. He held his cupped hand out to me, and proudly exclaimed, “I caught it so it wouldn’t fall on the kitchen floor!”

I will allow you to draw your own conclusions about what his hand held, but I’ll give you a hint: He’s potty training.

In the mean time, my head was throbbing, my stomach was retching, dishes from the previous day were piled up in the sink, laundry from the week sat haphazardly on my bedroom chair, and the workshop I was to present in four days had not been planned or prepared for. Not to mention, I had a hungry child and dog to attend to.

Sometimes, when external factors like these seem overwhelming, we feel unable to remove ourselves from the situation long enough to gain perspective and compose ourselves in order to move forward.

Very often, these external factors become internalized, and our minds start reeling. “I’ll never get it all done, my life is spiraling out of control, I can’t get myself together…” The internal loop can be loud, persistent, and ultimately paralyzing. And once it begins, it is hard to stop.

On this night, I felt so overwhelmed that I thought I would either cry or pass out. The only coping mechanism that came to mind was, “Sleep!” Given my sickness, this was probably quite appropriate. But I had things to do—real-life obligations that I could not avoid.

So what do you do in those moments when life must go on? What about the times you can’t defer your duties in favor of your bed?

I can tell you what I do.

For me, the key to feeling grounded is mind-body integration. And while a yoga class might be helpful toward this end, it’s hardly feasible in those everyday moments when life feels overwhelming.

I need simple, applicable strategies to help me feel centered.

Over years of working as a mental health professional and practicing these strategies for myself, I have found a handful of mind-body techniques that are really useful to employ when you’re having “one of those days.” Implement them during times of stress to help you find your center.

1. Three-Count Breath.

One way to help the body relax and restore its basic functioning is to steady your breath. Start in this way: Inhale for three counts. Hold for three counts. Exhale for three counts. After a few rounds of that, attempt to prolong the counts so that your breathing can slow and return to normal. This process can be helpful in less than a minute.

2. Stop Sign Visualization.

Those negative, looping thoughts that are spiraling out of control in your mind? They don’t serve you. There’s no time to listen to them, anyway: You have very important things to do!

So, to move forward without letting your thoughts drag you down, try this: For each self-defeating thought that pops up (“I’ll never get it all done!” and so on), visualize a large, red stop sign in your mind and think, “Stop.”

Try to drop the rest of the thought. This takes practice, because those thoughts have a lot of “psychic inertia” and that’s why they need a “Stop Sign.” Use it liberally.

3. Mantra/Affirmation.

Used alone or in conjunction with the Stop Sign Visualization, a simple mantra can be an effective tool.

Consider a few affirming phrases to repeat during these moments. It should be something that rings true to you and can reassure you. For example, “I can manage,” “This will pass,” “There is no emergency,” or “It will all get done.” Experiment with the right mantra for yourself, and repeat it often.

4. “5-5-5”

This technique is often recommended for people in dissociative episodes, but is useful and applicable during times of everyday stress as well. The purpose is to generate an awareness of your sensory experience so that you can feel more grounded in your body.

It’s very simple. Name the things you are experiencing for each of the senses: Identify five things you can see, five things you can feel, five things you can hear, and five things you can smell. For taste, a sip of cold water is often enough to bring awareness to the body.

5. Core Rooting.

Take a moment to stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Visualize your body as a tree, with your torso representing the trunk and your feet representing the roots. Focus your attention on your core and scan down your legs until you reach your feet.

Notice the ground beneath your feet. Feel the strength of your body. You are not “scattered” anymore; you are right here.

When you are able to center yourself in times of distress, you will find that you work more efficiently, relate to others more easily, and feel an improvement in your physical health. Each of the above techniques can be employed anywhere and any time, in just a minute or two.

Experiment with one or all and see what feels right for you.

Life can get hectic, but these simple tools can bring you back to center so that you can enjoy it.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

We’ve all been there. You get a bad case of the blues, or are pushed to the edge by stress and circumstance, or just have days when you’re stuck in first gear and can’t get jumpstarted because of the weight of the world. In some circles, depression is a dirty word; nobody likes to admit that life gets them down or stress causes them to lose control.

But everyone — not just the 6.5 million of the 35 million Americans 65 or older — can have the occasional day when they just want to curl up in the fetal position with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Here are 10 tips to help you hold it together when you think you can’t:

1) Stay away from those happy-happy folks on Facebook who think you can find bliss in inspirational sayings.

Ah, if only it were that easy, the makers of Prozac would have declared bankruptcy by now. Understand that depression is a real illness and should be treated as such. Even low-level depression — just feeling melancholy — can zap your energy and set you back. Do you seriously know a single person who has ever felt better because someone on Facebook reminded them that “today was the first day of the rest of their lives?”

Yes we are all responsible for our own happiness, but sometimes it isn’t as simple as “choosing” to be happy. Don’t let the ignorance of others contribute to your problem.

2) Avoid sad music.

I can’t listen to k.d. lang singing “Hallelujah” without turning into a blubbering mess. And that’s on a good day. But I know to avoid listening to music that fuels my sadness when I’m feeling out of sorts. Music is powerful. Be cognizant of that fact and use it to elevate your mood, not further depress yourself. As reported in Science Daily, music can not only affect your mood but listening to particularly happy or sad music can change the way we perceive the world, according to researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

3) Keep your mouth shut.

Sometimes sadness comes with tears and sometimes it comes packaged in anger. If you feel like lashing out at someone when you know you are overwhelmed, at least stop yourself from doing it online. Online rants have a long shelf-life and no expiration date. What may be just a snapshot moment in your life for you will exist forever and be available for everyone in your future to find and see. If writing helps you pass the bump in the road, by all means write. Just don’t post it online.

4) Know that the flip side of the depression coin is often creativity.

As MIT associate professor of music Keeril Makan wrote in the New York Times, “depression, balanced with an acceptance of all experience no matter how painful or joyous, has proved to be the most fertile place for me as an artist.”

It’s true. Some of the world’s greatest artists suffered depression. That’s the silver lining to your cloud.

5) Remind yourself that you aren’t alone.

The World Health Organization says about 121 million people worldwide suffer from some degree of depression. The National Institute of Mental Health says 6.7 percent of the U.S. population over 18 has been diagnosed with depression and the average age for the onset of clinical depression is 32.

With the onset of chronic illnesses, depression often fast follows. Pain wears us down. This doesn’t bode well for our aging population. Knowing this behooves midlifers to start developing stress management techniques now. Figure out what things — meditation, walks on the beach, disconnecting — help you keep life in the manageable zone.

6) Get yourself outside.

OK, so you’re grumpy, ready to implode and lack the motivation to even take a walk. Go sit outside, somewhere — preferably with a pretty view or a vista. Sunlight helps; more than a decade of research shows that increasing your serotonin levels improves your mood. If you can’t get outside, at least move your chair to the window and look outside.

7) Make a list of what you want to accomplish today and put getting dressed on it.

Force yourself to get out of your sweatpants and, chances are, that act alone will cause you to feel better. Think of it as dressing for the part — the “part” being someone who is having a great day.

As for what’s on the rest of the list: Heck, add it all. The idea is that as you can check off things on your list, maybe you’ll focus more on all that you have accomplished instead of what you haven’t. Forward propulsion is a good thing.

8) Keep a therapist on standby.

Depression, for many, comes in fits and starts. Sometimes, you go for long spells where you feel just fine and everything stays under control. That’s the time to establish a relationship with a professional who you can call when the sky falls in.

Just knowing you have someone on speed dial ready to listen to you, helps.

9) Understand the role of medicine.

Treat serious depression the way you would any other serious illness. See a doctor, learn what, if any, physical ailments contribute to or trigger it, and determine what treatment options are available to you. Depression, even at its least-invasive form of melancholy, detracts from the quality of life.

10) Stop reading lists like this.

We tend to live in our heads. Sometimes, it’s better to just send stuff like this on to a friend who needs it more. The best cure for the blues is often realizing others are worse-off and doing something to help them.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”

We’ve all had moments when life’s demands left us feeling stressed and scattered. In these moments, it’s helpful to have some simple tools to help us gain composure and come back to our center.

Let me paint a picture for you of a scene from my daily life at its most overwhelming.

On a recent Tuesday, I drafted my evening’s “to-do” list, which contained the following items: Go clothes shopping for my son, get groceries, cook up some dog food, cook dinner, give my son a bath, put laundry away, walk the dog, and prepare for a workshop that I was to present that weekend.

Like most working parents, I have to fit a lot of tasks into a brief period of time on weeknight evenings.

Clearly all of those items weren’t going to get accomplished. But I felt compelled to try.

And then, mid-afternoon, a feeling of illness began to creep over me, starting with a headache and progressing into nausea and profound fatigue. By the time I got home, I had revised my list, and whittled it down to: Bathe my son.

I felt incapable of anything else.

Still, even with a truncated list, my evening became chaotic very quickly. Our newly-acquired dog was dripping blood all over the house, including the white slipcover. She was not sick—she was in heat.

As I tried to attend to the mess, my son called to me from the kitchen. He held his cupped hand out to me, and proudly exclaimed, “I caught it so it wouldn’t fall on the kitchen floor!”

I will allow you to draw your own conclusions about what his hand held, but I’ll give you a hint: He’s potty training.

In the mean time, my head was throbbing, my stomach was retching, dishes from the previous day were piled up in the sink, laundry from the week sat haphazardly on my bedroom chair, and the workshop I was to present in four days had not been planned or prepared for. Not to mention, I had a hungry child and dog to attend to.

Sometimes, when external factors like these seem overwhelming, we feel unable to remove ourselves from the situation long enough to gain perspective and compose ourselves in order to move forward.

Very often, these external factors become internalized, and our minds start reeling. “I’ll never get it all done, my life is spiraling out of control, I can’t get myself together…” The internal loop can be loud, persistent, and ultimately paralyzing. And once it begins, it is hard to stop.

On this night, I felt so overwhelmed that I thought I would either cry or pass out. The only coping mechanism that came to mind was, “Sleep!” Given my sickness, this was probably quite appropriate. But I had things to do—real-life obligations that I could not avoid.

So what do you do in those moments when life must go on? What about the times you can’t defer your duties in favor of your bed?

I can tell you what I do.

For me, the key to feeling grounded is mind-body integration. And while a yoga class might be helpful toward this end, it’s hardly feasible in those everyday moments when life feels overwhelming.

I need simple, applicable strategies to help me feel centered.

Over years of working as a mental health professional and practicing these strategies for myself, I have found a handful of mind-body techniques that are really useful to employ when you’re having “one of those days.” Implement them during times of stress to help you find your center.

1. Three-Count Breath.

One way to help the body relax and restore its basic functioning is to steady your breath. Start in this way: Inhale for three counts. Hold for three counts. Exhale for three counts. After a few rounds of that, attempt to prolong the counts so that your breathing can slow and return to normal. This process can be helpful in less than a minute.

2. Stop Sign Visualization.

Those negative, looping thoughts that are spiraling out of control in your mind? They don’t serve you. There’s no time to listen to them, anyway: You have very important things to do!

So, to move forward without letting your thoughts drag you down, try this: For each self-defeating thought that pops up (“I’ll never get it all done!” and so on), visualize a large, red stop sign in your mind and think, “Stop.”

Try to drop the rest of the thought. This takes practice, because those thoughts have a lot of “psychic inertia” and that’s why they need a “Stop Sign.” Use it liberally.

3. Mantra/Affirmation.

Used alone or in conjunction with the Stop Sign Visualization, a simple mantra can be an effective tool.

Consider a few affirming phrases to repeat during these moments. It should be something that rings true to you and can reassure you. For example, “I can manage,” “This will pass,” “There is no emergency,” or “It will all get done.” Experiment with the right mantra for yourself, and repeat it often.

4. “5-5-5”

This technique is often recommended for people in dissociative episodes, but is useful and applicable during times of everyday stress as well. The purpose is to generate an awareness of your sensory experience so that you can feel more grounded in your body.

It’s very simple. Name the things you are experiencing for each of the senses: Identify five things you can see, five things you can feel, five things you can hear, and five things you can smell. For taste, a sip of cold water is often enough to bring awareness to the body.

5. Core Rooting.

Take a moment to stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Visualize your body as a tree, with your torso representing the trunk and your feet representing the roots. Focus your attention on your core and scan down your legs until you reach your feet.

Notice the ground beneath your feet. Feel the strength of your body. You are not “scattered” anymore; you are right here.

When you are able to center yourself in times of distress, you will find that you work more efficiently, relate to others more easily, and feel an improvement in your physical health. Each of the above techniques can be employed anywhere and any time, in just a minute or two.

Experiment with one or all and see what feels right for you.

Life can get hectic, but these simple tools can bring you back to center so that you can enjoy it.

In this post, we may use links to the products we find helpful or cute.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Oh, I wonder how many souls right are looking for a perfect answer to this burning question… How to get your life together? And how to do it fast? Since you’ve landed here on this article – hello, fellow soul, I’m sure you’ve found a way to help it.

HOW TO GET YOUR LIFE TOGETHER… IN JUST ONE DAY?

ARTICLE TOPICS (feel free to scroll down – the content starts below)

Tell me. Do you feel tired of not doing the things you want yourself to do?

Do you feel angry at yourself constantly standing in your way and not getting the life you want because:

  • you’re procrastinating too much
  • you’re skipping important tasks
  • you’re spending not enough time on your self care…
  • …but spending way too much time on things that aren’t important?

I have to admit, it happens to me too and sometimes – more often than I’d like to admit.

I am a girl of two natures and you can find me either working 24/7 like it’s my last and only mission in this world, or you can catch me still laying on the bed at 14 A.M. doing, well, nothing productive.

However, in times like that, I like to remind myself that we’re all human. We like to be lazy. We’d rather skip working. We’d rather have a good time with Netflix or HBO.

It’s fine. It’s totaly OK to turn on the lazy mode and procrastinate sometimes… But certainly not all the time.

The thing is, if you have important things you want or need to do, you’ll hardly have any fun procrastinating.

You’ll watch that Game of Thrones episode with a silent, almost unnoticeable voice in your head:

“I’m watching Game of Thrones.”

“Is that what you’re SUPPOSED to do right now?”

“Daenerys is so cool.”

And while Daenerys IS actually super cool, sooner or later you will have to confront yourself with the reality – it has to stop. You have to get your life together and start reaching your goals, or you’ll just stay the same, forever. And that is a perfect time for a “Get Your Life Together” Day!

A Quick, Helpful & Easy Plan To Get Your Life Together-ish With One Super Day!

1. Wait… What exactly is a “Get Your Life Together” Day?

A day like this can help you clear out your head and set yourself for the change you need in your life.

It helps you acquire that perfect mindset in your head and motivates you to start doing things differently – the way you want to.

It is the day when you decide that enough is enough and you prepare yourself for the changes you want to have.

The core idea is to decide on what you want to do differently from now on and which habits you’re going to remove/implement in your life.

Also, to do several actions that would prepare you for these changes and help you start with a fresh mindset tomorrow.

Sounds complicated? I promise – it isn’t!

“Get Your Life Together” Day usually involves doing simple everyday things that you’re already supposed to do but for some reason didn’t.

2. How To Have a Perfect “Get Your Life Together Day” – The Exact Steps To Take!

1) Take care of your chores

Start with taking care of the chores you neglect. These often include things you need to do around your home and are one of the main reasons you’re feeling overwhelmed.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

You can do these chores to get your life together-ish right away:

  • Wash the dishes
  • Tidy up your rooms
  • Change your bed sheets
  • Take out the trash
  • Dust + Vacuum
  • Water the plants
  • Clean out the fridge
  • Do your laundry
  • Clean your bathroom
  • Open windows to let in fresh air.

A clean home is a perfect background for a new attitude and, even though it may take some time to clean and tidy up, you will feel so much better after that – I promise!

2) Take care of yourself

Once you’ve taken care of your surroundings, spend some time recharging and “tidying up” yourself. This step includes a long shower or bath session and a little bit of reviving self care.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Here are a few self-care deas to get your life together-ish right away:

  • Workout
  • Shower + Exfoliate
  • Depilate
  • Manicure + Pedicure
  • Touch up hair roots
  • Deep clean your skin
  • Pamper yourself with a face pack
  • Deep clean your teeth
  • Wash your makeup brushes
  • Drink a big glass of water
  • Drink a cup of green tea
  • Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich meal

I also have a weird addiction to beauty subscription boxes and this phase is when I usually open them up and, well, have fun with all the new products I get! Which, honestly, results in a triple satisfaction on this phase.

After doing these steps, you should feel squeaky clean, full and happy in your clean clothes and tidy home. At this moment you should feel pretty much amazing and very proud of yourself already!

3. Get your life together with a NEW attitude!

Now, once your home is clean and tidy + you’re all fresh and pretty – it’s time to decide on your goals, routines, and new habits.

Goal setting is an essential step – don’t skip it! Otherwise, you’ve just masked the existing problems without actually solving them.

P. S. If you can’t think of any new habits to implement instead of watching Daenerys rocking GOT, here’s a list of 99 habits for a better life.

How to get your life together when you feel overwhelmed

Decide on your new attitude by setting a few goals

Maybe you want to work on your health, self development, career goals or self care – there are so many ways to get your life together, but you have to make clear decisions. Then – decide on the steps you need to do to achieve your new goals.

A goal planner can be extremely helpful here. When setting my own goals, I use my Goal Planner Bundle which has four simple, but effective printable tools for goal setting: