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How to “Deal” When You Feel Overwhelmed by Life

Posted Feb 19 2012 8:21pm

OverwhelmedOver the last month, I’ve been on a professional whirlwind. As you know, my book – 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You – came out in the beginning of the year, and as some of you may know, I launched a major event – Be Healthy Boston - at the end of January. It was a lot for one person in one month, and admittedly, it was difficult to tend to all things. As a result, things were sacrificed.

This is life , however, and life can throw a lot your way. Sacrifices may need to be made, things may get sidelined, and “balance” most definitely cannot be maintained at all times . So, how do you stay motivated when you are obviously inundated with what feels like a superhuman amount on your plate?

  1. Prioritize: Look at all of your “have tos” and responsibilities and figure out what is most important at that moment. What is it, that if you don’t do, will have major repercussions? Once you know what needs to be focused on in the here and now, look at the rest of your responsibilities and list them in order of importance. Figuring out what is paramount to your life today will help reduce the noise created by all of the less important things.
  2. Concentrate: Most priorities that overwhelm us are actually short-term, not every day things.  Once you know what is most important, focus on it. Allow yourself to put the less important things on hold, while setting a deadline for the temporary priority. Once the most immediate priority is tackled, you can spend time refocusing on a new one.
  3. Communicate: If you have to put things on hold that involve others, make sure to communicate to the people who are impacted. Explain your situation and your timeline, so that they aren’t left feeling disappointed. Be upfront and honest about what they can expect from you and if you need help, ask for it. This will not only help lighten your load, but it will allow you to meet others’ expectations.
  4. Schedule Time: Now that you have a deadline for your primary task, set aside an appropriate time each day to ensure you will meet the inevitable deadline. Block off time in your meeting planner or calendar so that you don’t do something else instead. Keep the priority a priority until you’ve accomplished it.
  5. Stay Positive: Even when things seem overwhelming, maintaining a positive and “I CAN” attitude will get you through the rough patches. The more you have a can do attitude, the more you will do.

What do you do when life starts to feel overwhelming?

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