When It’s All Too Much

TooMuchA few weeks ago, in a moment of particularly high stress, I posed this question on Facebook: “What do *you* do when it all feels like too much?

The collection of answers I received felt comforting and inspiring.  And the sheer number of responses helped me feel less alone.  

In the aftermath of the Boston Bombings, I suspect we could all use some comfort, inspiration and connection. So I’m sharing what I received. Thank you to everyone who contributed wisdom and advice. 

Go on Facebook.

Drop everything that isn’t essential to survival in favor of resting and recovering. After the rest, you will know what to do next. But don’t go beyond the moment you are in, or do more than is absolutely necessary. And believe that what you are doing/able to do is enough. Also, I look to the animal kingdom and remember that perhaps the human race on the whole expects too much… And perhaps that will be our downfall! Eat. Sleep. Breathe.

I get someone to listen to me, really listen as I talk about just how hard it all is. No interruptions, no advice, just listen and remind me sometimes that I am smart, I am good, and I will figure it out. After shedding tears or having an adult tantrum, I feel much better.

Sometimes just a LONG walk…

Drop as much as you can, knowing you can pick it back up again . . . re-frame things moment by moment if you have to . . .

Make a list of what NEEDS to get done. Prioritize by importance. Then allow yourself 30 mins to go outside with your kids & look for shapes in the clouds or play “I Spy”. When you get back in you’ll feel prepared to tackle the list. When you have another moment, think about if it IS too much or just feels that way. If it is too much, start to say “no” when you need to.

Seriously prioritize…starting with your health and sanity first….everything comes after that…xoxo

www.getsomeheadspace.com has free guided meditations

Can you go for a massage?

Hang out with my kids, relax in front of the TV, answer in short emails, and prioritize tasks by placing them in my calendar according to when I can get to them.

I’m there now, and my strategy is: keep kids going with their routine, hiring help if needed; focus on what is both urgent and impt and/or reflects on my professional reputation; anything that seems impt but not urgent schedule in task list for doing or ignoring later; dump anything urgent but not impt; keep appts relating to health/sanity; express sincere thanks to the many people I’m calling on for support – and delegate to them! Finally, I’m grateful for my luck/brilliance that I stocked the fridge with tons of healthy food before the sh*t hit the fan, so I’m controlling one thing in my control by eating what I really need. And letting the kids eat lots of Mac and cheese. And much of this is thx to tools and systems and beliefs that you helped me put in place. And tonight when J asked me to stay in bed with her, I gave her/us a good 10 minutes before attacking the next set of items.

All of you watch a great movie and fall asleep on your bed!

What do *you* do when it all feels too much?  Share below with our community of Brilliance-Based Businesswomen and Careerwomen, so we can all have an expansive toolkit easily at hand. 


  1. Dawn

    When it's all too much, I go outside, stand barefoot on the sun-splashed grass, breathe, maybe do some yoga stretches, look at the sky and give thanks that I am well, capable, and stronger than I think.

    This scenario plays out more often than I'd like, but it's very helpful. I also walk the dog, cuddle with my daughter, talk to my husband (who is a good listener) and remember that to be able to handle what I have to handle, I must maintain my sense of self-assurance, and competence. and not give in to negativity.

    Hang in there, Deb!

    • Debra Woog

      Great additions to our toolkit! That was just a moment – not a constant – but I know it's inevitable for all of us that these moments will arise again. I love that we're creating this resource together for when they do! Thanks, Dawn.

  2. @weheartgreen

    Debra, thank you for this. I can relate so well after the chaos last week!

  3. Cindy

    While I don't generally heed advice about hunting, this really resonated with me. I have a hard time saying "no" to anyone and I end up very overwhelmed and unhappy. Last week I heard this from a professional organizer. I'll do my best to capture her advice:

    T. Boone Pickens once said, “When you are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits.”
    Figure out what your two "elephants" are each day and let go of the "rabbits." The "elephants" are the things that, once you handle them, will create the greatest positive changes in your energy and your life. We often focus on the "rabbits" because they're easier, quicker, etc., but the elephants still need to be handled and now you have no energy left for them. Figure out when you have the most energy in your day and, at that time, put your energy into those two big things. Everything else can wait.

    • Debra Woog

      LOVE this. Thanks, Cindy. Keep practicing your "No"s to make room for your Elephants. I'll try to do the same.