5 Tried + True Steps To Overcome Overwhelm

"Somewhere, some time ago, someone told you that you had to do it all - and you had to do it all by yourself. Instead of saying no, paring down, and embracing quality of life over quantity of commitments, you allowed your life to spin out of control, And it's left you without half a second to take a deep breath." - Emily Ley: Grace, Not Perfection


The holiday season is here and we all have millions of things fighting for our attention. To-do lists, holiday festivities, email inboxes, cell-phone notifications, clients, invoices, orders, etc. We are business owners, women, sisters, friends, mothers, creatives, bosses and oh yeah ... ourselves. We are wearing so many hats and doing so many things that we start to lose track of our heads! It's no wonder we can barely manage or even create our marketing/business work-flow, because we don't have a life work-flow!

So, as our gift to you this holiday season, we are giving you 5 tried and true steps to overcoming overwhelm:


Step One: Clear Mental Clutter 

We all know that overwhelm takes up valuable mental space, that is why we are believers in dismantling those stress bombs from the inside out! Start by writing our a master list. Personal. Business. Holiday. Split it up into categories or just one master to-do. Get all of that mental clutter, to-dos, memos out of your brain and on to some blank space! Now that you have your list, or your mental clutter out on paper - ask yourself:

1. Is this necessary?

“Chances are you’re doing things on a regular basis that aren’t really necessary,” he says. “How many hours a week does that add up to?”

Sometimes the answer is yes, but not right now. Don't be afraid to push your calendar’s reset button.

2. Is this life giving? (Does it give joy/life to you or another?)

If the answer is no, but it is a necessary priority - consider outsourcing! Would this be something that could be done by someone else? For example, having the house deep-cleaned once a month, may allow you and your family to enjoy a weekend together creating memories instead of all in the house, miserable, scrubbing away.

3. Is this a priority? 

Highlight those priorities. Strike out what isn't necessary or life giving. Start taking a hold of your life, mental space, to-dos and living with intention. Leave some white space for what matters most in your life.

Step Two: Clear Physical Clutter

Now that you've started to clean up that mental clutter, let's take it one practical step further and clean up your physical clutter. Make a list of all the space/rooms in your house and number them by frequency of use - then put a little sentence of what you purpose you want that room to serve to you. For example: 1. Bedroom: I spend the most time here. I want a place to end/start my days that truly feels relaxed. 2. Office: I can't be as creative with all this clutter.

Once that list is complete, start at your #1 room, set you timer for 1 hour, and bring in two large bags. Get ready to clear that clutter! Next, create three piles: Keep, Donate, Trash. Finally, go through all your items and ask yourself: Does this bring joy to my life? Is it needed? Do I have multiples of these? Could this bless someone else? Is this trash? Does it make me feel like a million bucks when I wear it? Would I buy this right now?

Be ruthless, clear that clutter once and for all. 

Step Three: Fill YOUR Tank

The number one trigger for feeling overwhelmed often times is just feeling like your tank is empty. How can you possibly bring joy to anyone else (clients, customers, co-workers, other creatives, family, etc.) running on an empty tank?! So, fill up your tank! Do something fun for yourself. Treat yo' self. Light a candle, walk around Target, sip a coffee, read a book, take a nap, workout, shower, do something that you love. Whatever it is, it should be something that’s FUN and doesn’t take a ton of mental energy.


Step Four: Create Life Flow

As business owners, we are familiar with the wonders of a great work flow but what about your life flow?! Invest in a planner system, either on paper or digitally. Plan out your week, what can you systemize to free up more valuable life?! Here are a couple of examples: Plan out your week's meals, write them down and then make a corresponding grocery list. If you need to free up even more time, have those groceries delivered. Sync your schedule with everyone in your household. You can even sync you schedule with your business to-dos! Plan out your days. Leave margin. Write out your morning/night routine - 8 a.m coffee, 8:30a.m. shower 9:00a.m. ready to tackle inbox. Lay out your outfit the night before you go to bed. Whatever it is,  just look at your current life/schedule right now and ask yourself how you can make this easier, more simplified, organized, and truly have a life flow. I suggest doing this every Sunday, so you can head into the new week ahead rehash, organized, improving on your life flow and ready to go! 

Step Five: Give Yourself Grace

Some days you try all these tricks and you still just aren’t feeling it. On those days, give yourself grace. You are doing the best you can. And… you are doing just FINE. On those days, that “stress paralyzed” feeling is probably just your body’s way of saying, “Hey lady, I need some rest. Take a day off why don’t you.” Don't be discourage if your to-do is a mile long, your weekly schedule doesn't go to plan, your house is a mess and so is your brain! Un-plug. Give Yourself Grace. Do your best and forget the rest!

You only have one life to live and you are doing the best you can - so be gentle with yourself!

Photography by: Mary Sarah Ivers


Elise Crawford