step-by-step guide for when you're feeling overwhelmed

step-by-step guide for when you're feeling overwhelmed

There are a lot of things that can and need to be done to prevent the dreaded state of #overwhelmed. To name just a few —

  • Setting boundaries (and saying "no" in general),
  • Sticking with a routine,
  • Staying organized,
  • Having good systems for task management,
  • Getting enough sleep

Some of those necessities are pretty lame (I love getting lots of sleep, but I don't love early bedtime), and others are kind of fun and interesting if you're a productivity and personal development dork like me.

But even when we have good practices in place, the truth is that there is no magic bullet of "if you do this, you'll never feel overwhelmed again!" 

Whether it's a new baby, a nasty virus, a family emergency, a nightmare co-worker, second trimester morning sickness, a big work deadline, or any other kind of unexpected curveball — shit happens that makes even the best laid Overwhelm Prevention Plans go to hell in a hand basket.

So if you're already in the thick of it, what do you do?

Of course, again there is no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all advice, but below are a few important tips and reminders when you find yourself feeling like you're in the weeds on a Saturday night in your first waitressing gig.

1. Take 5...

...breaths, that is. Before anything else, you need to get the oxygen flowing with 5 deep, slow breaths. Make sure to breathe into your belly, not just high up ion your chest, and try to match the length of your inhale with the length of the exhale, pausing briefly before each exhale. This will start to immediately regulate your nervous system so you can think more clearly about the next steps to take.

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how to deal with negative body image & anxiety

how to deal with negative body image & anxiety

Below is the beginning of a post I contributed to Recovery Warriors, a badass online magazine for eating disorder recovery.To read the full post, click here.

Here’s a glimpse into a pretty common dialogue that shows up in various ways in my work with clients who are navigating eating disorder recovery (usually alongside depression and anxiety). I’ll call this fictional client “Brit”. 

Brit: “I was feeling really crappy yesterday.”
Me: “Yeah? What kind of stuff you were thinking or feeling?”
Brit: “I don’t know, really, it was just inner critic stuff and anxiety I guess.”
Me: “So if I could have plugged headphones into your brain at that moment, what are some of the thoughts I would have heard?”
Brit: “Hmm… maybe like that I have a lot of demands on me at work that I’m worried about, and that I was bad for not making it to the gym that day and eating a bigger lunch."
Me: “Gotcha. And what about the feelings, like emotions or stuff in your body? 
Brit: “Just anxiety like kind of a pressure in my chest, I can feel it some now just talking about it.”
Me: “Can you describe it more, what it feels like right now?”
Brit: “It’s kind of hot in my chest, and a little queasy in my stomach, and my shoulders are tense.”
Me: “Right now, does it feel okay for that feeling to be there?”
Brit: “I don’t really like it, but yeah, I guess so.”
Me: “Just see if you can breathe into those places, your stomach, your chest, and your shoulders, without needing to change or fix them. And are any of those thoughts showing up right now?”
Brit: “A little bit, but not as much. I think it helped just saying them a minute ago.”
Me: “Nice! Sometimes all it takes is just breaking it down a little bit to understand more about what’s going on with you instead of just having that vague sense of ‘yuck.’” 

(I’d go further with her on this, but this part is enough to illustrate my point for now.)

I see those heads nodding in recognition! (Says my clairvoyant alter-ego) —and believe me, this is very much still an ongoing practice for me, too. Whether it’s a specific event that triggers it, or a thought or feeling that shows up first, often I have to intentionally step back and break down piece-by-piece to get clear on what’s going on with me, as I walked through above. 

(To continue reading, head on over to Recovery Warriors!)

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plan a wedding without freaking out (mostly) + my wedding photos

plan a wedding without freaking out (mostly) + my wedding photos

I got married seven weeks ago, so I'm still getting that question, "What does it feel like to be married?" My usual answer is, "Pretty much the same, but more like I'm a legit adult." Since Chris and I had been living together for a while before and had felt deeply committed to each other already, our relationship doesn't feel that different. But as a person who struggles with Adult Impostor Syndrome (wait, am I a *real* grown-up? Are you sure?), it did feel like a rite of passage. And the actual day was pure magic and completely exceeded any expectations I had. I thought I'd write a post describing some of the best pieces of wisdom I can share from my own experience for anyone planning a wedding or another big event. 

Wedding Planning Tip #1: When you start to feel stressed or rigid, get back to what really matters.

I am admittedly Type A in some ways, and not exactly low-maintenance. I'm a nester and prefer things to be a certain way. But thankfully, I've also loosened up quite a bit as I've matured.

Case in point: At my sixth-grade birthday party I so meticulously planned (see Exhibit A below), my friends did not want to stick with my regimented schedule of activities, and I got so upset I ended up crying alone in my room. (This was not the only year this happened.)

(click through to read full post and see my 6th grade insanity!) 

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productivity hack / 5-minute sanity booster: check your tolerations In today's video blog, I'm talking TOLERATIONS: Do you ever feel weighed down by all those tiny tasks that aren't super urgent so they just tend to build and build?

I discovered that there's a name for these pesky little tasks-- they're called "tolerations," also known as those little annoyances that you simply tolerate day after day instead of taking the 5 minutes to get them done and mark them off your list.

We've all been guilty of it: you get caught up in the grind and just trying to take care of the big stuff, so everything else just keeps getting pushed to tomorrow, to next week, to next month.

Whether you choose one "toleration" to take care of daily, or knock out several at a time once every week or two, it's SO worth the feeling of productivity and lightness that comes with getting that stuff off your radar.

What are some of YOUR tolerations? What *one* could you take care of today? (Remember, they can be really really small -- like just wiping down the bathroom mirror if you've been meaning to do it for the past week!)