STYLE Savvy: When Life Runs You Over

"When Life Runs You Over" by Lisa Hess (

Via Pixabay (2015), CC0 Public Domain

Getting sick is no fun, and, while feeling better is wonderful, trying to catch up on everything that fell by the wayside when simply walking from the sofa to the kitchen was an accomplishment is not much fun either. Add snow and deadlines and it’s easy to feel as though the to-do list is simply endless.

Until we can make the world stop when we do, feeling overwhelmed from time to time is inevitable. Knowing what to do when that feeling strikes can help us to take charge and feel a little less out of control. For me, this “take charge” approach includes:

Taking baby steps. When it’s all too much, we start feeling the need to slay big dragons. Unfortunately, the pressure to get it all done at once, even if it’s self-imposed, only contributes to that feeling of too much to do in too little time. Putting one foot in front of the other and taking one thing at a time can create a sense of accomplishment as we erase all of those little tasks from our to-do lists, one by one.

Prioritizing. As we approach each of those small tasks, it’s important to ask ourselves if the baby steps we’re taking are leading us in the direction of something that must be done now or something that can wait. While we have the luxury of mixing it up when we’re not in a time crunch, we need to focus first on the here and now when we’ve hit the panic button. When we’re overwhelmed, baby steps that make progress on a project due in two weeks may be less useful than the ones we take on the stuff that’s due tomorrow.

Using the plan. In an effort to find shortcuts and super solutions, we often get in our own way. When this happens, we need to stop, step back and assess the plan(s) we have at our disposal. If they work on a day-to-day basis, they might just be the life raft we’re looking for when seas get stormy. Choose the most appropriate plan and put it into action. Even a semblance of a plan can help us feel less out of control.

How about you? How do you keep things under control when you’re feeling overwhelmed?

Copyright 2017 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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