5 Practices for Keeping Overwhelm at Bay

For most of us work takes up at least half of our waking lives. And when work gets frenetically busy the breakneck speed and stress leaks over into our personal lives and threatens our ability to unwind, to maintain healthy boundaries, and to get the rest we need in order to refresh ourselves. I’m there right now so these are reminders to me as much as offerings to you.

  1. Meditate – Take some time every day whether its ten minutes or a half hour and just sit quietly with your focus on your in and out breath. There is nothing to achieve here. You are just practicing letting go and not becoming entangled. Back to the breath. You will be amazed in short order how by doing this, there will be times at work where you find yourself centering and your mind coming back to this place of quiet so you can make better decisions.
  2. Take Breaks – No matter how busy you are do not sit at your desk all day with only bathroom breaks. I am guilty of this more often than not. But if you build in even 2 or 3 five to ten minute breaks where you get away from your desk to chat with someone, steep a cup of tea, or walk outside for a few minutes, it gives you a chance to regain perspective and relax your mind.
  3. Make a subset of your to-do list – If you have a very long to-do list and you’re beginning to feel an underlying sense of panic, take your list and pull off of it the very next two things you are going to work on and write them down on separate post it next to you, then put the rest of your list completely out of sight. Now do those two things and do not get sidetracked – it’s only these two things. When you’re finished open your master to-do list again and choose two more action items based on your priorities and anything that has transpired since and write them down on a new fresh post it. Repeat. This method helps both my focus and my ability to prioritize during hectic times tremendously. Try it.
  4. Don’t eat lunch at your desk – Eat lunch anywhere but your desk and certainly out of view of your computer. Preferably eat in a quiet place. It’s great to eat with someone else but try not to discuss work the whole time. Even better to me, is to eat and spend just a few minutes reading something unrelated to work. A few pages of a book helps reset your mind and stops the work wheels from spinning long enough to refresh you.
  5. Exercise – We all know it so I won’t waste time elaborating here. But it goes without saying that we always feel better when our bodies have been moved and lungs filled with air. If you’re feeling any sense of overwhelm coming on begin exercising and insist on fitting it in as if it were food. It is.

What have I missed? Do you have any suggestions I can try? How do you take care of yourself in high pressure times?

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This entry was posted in Habits and Rituals, Happiness, Health, Meditation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 5 Practices for Keeping Overwhelm at Bay

  1. Amy Whelan says:

    I am so guilty of #4 it’s not even funny. In fact I just finished my breakfast in front of the computer. All the others, I do on a regular basis, yeah! But, the computer….do they have a cure for that? Ugh!

  2. Amy Whelan says:

    Yes, there’s one that’s not on the list, and often gets overlooked: LAUGHTER! It is the key to happiness and managability, wouldn’t you agree! Wish we all did that more!

    • Kathryn says:

      Oh yes! The laughing! So needed, and so easy to miss, when your busy busy and then grumpy because of the busy. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to ‘have more fun’. This is definitely in line with that. Fun and laughter is what makes it all worthwhile.

  3. Amy H. says:

    Kath – I meant to write you the day you posted this one. Literally, that day, I was feeling EXACTLY the same – totally overwhelmed by work. I laughed when reading this that you hit the nail on the head at the perfect moment!

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