With the holidays among us, it’s extremely easy to become overwhelmed with to-do lists, shopping, decorating, travel planning, etc. So how do you overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed? Here are some things that have helped me when I start to feel overwhelmed.

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1. Breathe: Stop. Breathe. Relax. Calm yourself. Feel the tension release from your muscles. Enough said.

2. Prioritize/Organize: With so much to do and keep up with, it’s necessary to focus on what’s the most important first. There are many things that are “pressing”, but just because they are “pressing” doesn’t mean they’re important. This is a subjective step. Some people would opt to get the “easier” things done first to get them out of the way. It doesn’t really matter your method of selecting what to handle first, as long as you determine what it is, and as long as the result is effective. I personally love making lists and charts. It helps me to visually see what needs to get done. Then I can highlight and color code each task by order of importance. And I love the feeling I have when I mark something off my list. *contented sigh*

Recently, I came across an article about a “To DON’T list”. We all have “To Do Lists”, but this idea of a “to don’t list” intrigued me. The article challenged me to list out all my obligations/commitments/tasks, etc. and determine what things didn’t need to even be on the list in the first place by testing them in three categories:

a) does this make me happy?

b) is this essential (to my life, to my career, etc.)?

c) is this (an) effective (use of time)?

The author suggested that if the activity doesn’t have two or more checks, then it should be marked completely off of your list. You can make your own list, using your own categories to determine if something should stay on your list or not (ex: is this necessary?, do I want to do this?, do I need to do this?, is this important?, etc.). As an alternative, you can ask yourself why these things are on your to-do list–why are you doing them?

3. Move: Take action! It’s easy to shut down when you become overwhelmed, but if you refuse to do anything, it only makes the situation worse. The more time you procrastinate, the more things will continue to pile up on you and contribute to you being even more overwhelmed. So pull yourself out of that funk and do something. Doing something is always better than doing nothing! Sometimes a quick walk, fresh air or a quick stretch will energize you enough to get back to the task at hand.

4. Drink water: As much as I crave a sugary drink or a soda (mmmm…Dr. Pepper…), I’ve noticed that water refreshes me and wakes me up throughout the day, which helps me stay focused on the task at hand. If I drink a soda, I’m more likely to crash and “need” another shortly thereafter. The water helps to curb my appetite too.



These are just a few of the things that help me. What are some of your tips? What do you do when you begin to feel overwhelmed? How do you overcome the feeling? I’d love to hear from you!


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