5-Step Process to Manage Overwhelm


“Overwhelm kills more dreams than fear or doubt ever will.”

Jasmine Star


Tell me if this sounds familiar:


You’re going along just fine, maybe sleeping, maybe it’s 4 am. All of a sudden the stress and anxiety fog rolls in and it’s like you’ve suddenly lost all clarity. Everything you have to do feels like it has the same weight, and it’s crushing you.


You have zero sense of direction, no idea where to turn next, and out of the blue, you wake up crawling through quicksand with the weight of the world cinched down on your back. Even the simple act of breathing feels hard.


Welcome back, overwhelm (that is if it ever left).


We joke about it a lot, but actually overwhelm can have serious consequences for your health. The stress and anxiety it produces can take a true toll on your body: Elevated heart attack risk, high blood pressure, weakened immune system, just to name a few.


Even without those, it just sucks. And it’s exhausting.


Here’s the thing: If you’re feeling overwhelmed it means you’ve taken your focus off the present moment. You’re either looking ahead or behind – or comparing your journey to someone else’s. None of that will move the meter for your life and business. Stop doing that, friend!



managing overwhelm is a whole lot Easier said than done though, amiright?


I don’t have any foolproof advice to offer you about how to avoid ever falling into overwhelm, stress and anxiety. Sometimes it’s a daily occurrence if I’m honest.


What I have developed over the years, though, is a pretty good process to help me calm overwhelm.


Take a look:


5-Step Process to Manage Overwhelm


1. Make a “Dump List” – Often getting everything out of your head will help lift that feeling of random pieces of paper flying around in your mind. I keep a pad by my desk at all times. That’s where I park the to-dos that pop into my head. When overwhelm strikes, just write it down however it comes out. You’ll organize it later.


2. Move – Can’t even figure out what all you have to do? Take a walk, do a workout, pace the room. Movement almost always brings clarity, and a higher-intensity workout can be like releasing the steam from a pressure cooker. (Could be switched with 1 if needed)


3. Chunk It Up – When I worked in public relations, I would organize my tasks according to which client needed what, and within that by priority. That way I could make sure that everyone got attention every week. It works like a charm for other applications, too!


4. Then Break It Down – Divide the tasks into small enough bites that they feel easy. It doesn’t matter how small, the point is to get them to feel easy. It could literally be, “fold 5 shirts,” or “row for 5 minutes.” Success breeds success. Once you’ve taken one step, you’re almost guaranteed to do more.

Anne Lamott’s book Bird By Bird is my bible here. It’s one of my very favorite books on writing, but also a great primer for life. Also, she’s hilarious and a great writer herself. You can’t miss this one.


5. Take Messy Action – The secret sauce here is to start. Somewhere, it doesn’t matter where. Just take forward action and don’t let perfectionism get in the way. There is no “perfect” place to start. So just GO.


In writing, Anne Lamott calls this the sh$tty first draft. Like writing a draft that you know out of the gate won’t be the final version.


Forget about getting it “just right,” that’s probably what’s holding you up. Just do something. You can always go back and re-write, re-film, rework. Didn’t like the workout you gave your class today? Change it for next time! Bad angle on the workout video? Replace it with a better version.



One other thing you MUST do to manage overwhelm:


We’ll call this a Bonus Step in the process:




For all that is good and holy, please put your phone down the minute you notice yourself doing that.


Trolling social media “looking for inspiration,” can quickly become a search for proof that you’re worse than everyone else and have nothing new to share. Put your phone on airplane mode, then shove it in a drawer. Give yourself time to share your goodness with the world.


Keepin’ it real, I don’t always succeed at doing this. But when I do, it works like a charm. Give it a try the next time you’re struggling, and let me know how it goes in the comments!




3 Reasons to Consider a Rest Day

Updated April 15, 2021


If all you ever do is go go go, you're missing out on the physical and emotional benefits of a break. Try a rest day or three and watch your performance improve. #rowingtraining #restday #crosstraining #indoorrowing


When was the last time you took a rest day or an even longer break from your workouts or your regular routine in another way?  Like the kind where you literally DO NOTHING, and you planned it that way.


If your answer is “Uhhh, I don’t remember my last rest day,” or “training breaks are for wusses,” this is your invitation to rethink that.


Thousands of people purchased rowing machines in the pandemic. Looking at the rowing-related Facebook groups, A LOT of them decided to go hard into rowing just as soon as they got that baby out of the box.


I get it! Rowing is a fun, total-body, non-impact workout that lets YOU decide how hard or easy it is. Awesome indeed, but too much of a good thing is still too much.


I learned that in spades the last time I rowed a million meters in one month for the Concept2 World Erg Challenge. I hit my goal, but it took me 4ish hours of rowing Every. Single. Day. to get there.


By the end I was exhausted, hurting all over, and kind of hating the erg. I was wildly overtrained. Not a good place to be.


Listen. I’m all about getting a great workout in. Give me something that gets my heart rate up and a sweat rolling and I’m a happy girl. But our bodies weren’t made to go, go, go all the time.


Often you make more progress if you slow down and take it easy, at least a day or two a week.


If you need more reasons to look at taking the pedal off the gas and give yourself a rest day – or two or six – here are three:


1. As we say about training, “You progress in the rest.” The workout is the stimulus for change, but the recovery IS the change. That’s when the muscles are resting and growing after being stressed.


Something to keep in mind: The general rule is you need at least 48 hours to recover from a workout, with full recovery not seen until 72 to 96 hours later.  The older we get, the longer the recovery time, by the way.


2. Rest helps you keep your mental edge: A little time off from the gym will do wonders for your performance when you do get back to it. By the way, “a little time off” doesn’t have to mean a rest day or two a week.  If your mental or physical performance is really suffering, maybe you need to take a break of a week or more.


Unless you’re training for something right now (and even if you are) we promise the world won’t come to an end if your weight or erg session becomes a day at the pool, an easy-breezy walk or bike ride, or an afternoon in a comfy chair with a good book.


You’d have to do nothing for two weeks or more before you’d really feel the effects of any deconditioning. So kick back and relax, the world’s not coming to an end.


3. Rest prevents injury: By resting you prevent overuse, and that in turn prevents injury.  Want to lose ground? Tear a rotator cuff or pop your Achilles. Then you’ll REALLY be resting.


We worship “the hustle” in the United States, often to our detriment.  If all you’re doing is going, going, going, whether in your workouts, your work, or some other aspect of your life, you will eventually break down. Bet money on it.


How to make the most of your rest day or days


3 good reasons why taking some time off from working out might be just what you need. #training #overtraining 1. SLEEP IN – Nothing helps you restore your hard-worked muscles like some good shut-eye.

2. BUMP UP THE PROTEIN – It’ll help you rebuild that muscle you damaged in your workout.

3. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE – We need hydration ALL the time, not just when we’re working out or being active.  Don’t worry about some scientific calculation of how much to drink. If you’re peeing clear, you’re good.


So consider this your hall pass to go find a hammock or a cozy couch and a big old glass of tea or lemonade.  We’ll see you there!


Questions? Thoughts? Hit us up in the comments, we’ll get back to you asap … probably from the couch.


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