How do you deal when you feel overwhelmed?

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    Lori Deschene

    I find myself with way more on my plate than ever before. In the past, I’ve often kept my schedule light because I don’t love the feeling of being busy. But I’ve been saying yes to more opportunities recently (and creating more for myself). I know it’s a good thing, and I’m excited for the growth and possibilities, but I’m definitely finding it a little challenging to juggle everything!

    One thing that’s helped me recently is telling myself, “All I can do is all I can do, and if I can’t do it, it will just need to wait.” That’s actually been very helpful, as my instinct is to “push” to fit everything in and then feel disappointed if I can’t (which is just setting myself up for failure).

    What do you do when you’re overwhelmed? What helps you stay calm and centered and avoid feeling anxious?

    Tom Casano

    When I feel overwhelmed (or stressed), at the moment that I feel that way I take 10 deep, deep breaths.  This usually takes me just a minute or two — like as deep as I can possibly inhale, and then let it all out, 10 times.  This helps to reset the nervous system, as when we’re more stressed or feeling overwhelmed, our breathing tends to become more shallow, which means less oxygen to the brain, and less well-being.

    A quick 5-10 minute meditation also helps me to get centered and relieve some of that anxiety. And often I might have a little insight about what I need to prioritize, what I need to just let go of, and what I can outsource (for $3-$10/hr) or delegate to someone else.

    I like to take a preventative approach… That is, if I’m getting overwhelmed, maybe there’s more on my plate than is optimal in my life… even if I’m trying to accomplish a lot.

    My favorite insight is to realize that it’s not about doing more or working a lot…

    It’s all about being the most effective with the least amount of effort.

    Bigger results with less input.  Can I line things up so that more gets done while I work less?

    Hope that helps Lori. 🙂

    Lori Deschene

    Thanks Tom. This helps a lot. Recently I’ve told myself that if I do my best and things don’t get done, then things will simply need to take more time–which sounds like a simple conclusion, but it’s something I easily forget when I get busy.

    I want to start outsourcing. I find myself doing a lot of repetitive tasks that anyone could do if I showed them how. I know that once I get those off my plate, I’ll have a lot more breathing room!


    The feeling of being overwhelmed or just “too busy” is actually a state of mind. We have the time, it’s just a matter of what we choose to do with it.

    First, I simply recognize the whispers of overwhelm before they actually overwhelm me and then I try to choose differently. Choices are of my choosing.

    Then I breathe, deeply. Breathing is actually a built-in mind/body stress reliever. Quite handy (or should I write nosey and mouthy), eh? I just take the time.

    Or even take a time out. Sometimes I just stop doing whatever it is I’m doing and I do something else, or at least think about the people and the times that bring me a sense of peace, calmness.

    I also practice meditating, often in quick, easy (but still hard) moments. I wrote a post about overwhelm several months ago, and I still refer to it time and again.



    I appreciate your response, Tom. I think our thinking is quite similar regarding this sense of overwhelm.

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