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:


STOP SCROLLING! 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 Rowing Machine Workouts to Get You Back on Track

If you've fallen off the pace with your rowing machine workouts lately, here are three new workouts to get you back in the swing.


Updated Aug. 30, 2019


We’ve all been there…


You’re going along fine with your rowing machine workouts.  Showing up for them according to your plan, feeling like you could conquer the world when you’re done.  Nothing’s going to stop you now!


And then life gets in the way.


You get sick, you go on vacation, you get an injury that requires you to lay off for a while. One day you wake up and you realize, “I’ve gotten way off track.”  Days or weeks have gone by without a real workout happening.


Now what?


First off, stop and take a deep breath.  Getting off track with your workouts is totally normal.  It doesn’t make you bad, wrong, or any kind of a failure.  It makes you human.






As soon as you realize you’ve fallen off your plan, don’t stew over it, and certainly don’t beat yourself up.  It happens to everyone at some point, and it’s completely fine.


The worst thing you can do is decide, “I’ll never be able to stay consistent with my rowing machine workouts no matter what I do.”  Then give yourself permission to skip the gym and turn your home rowing machine into a clothes hanger.


Instead, give yourself a clean slate and make a plan for how you’re going to get back on track.  Like TODAY.


How to get back into working out


Ease Into It:


If it’s been a while, make sure you ease into it. Just because you USED to work out for 60 minutes a day, 6 days a week doesn’t mean you can or should after a long layoff (or at all). Set yourself up to be successful: Aim to move 2-3 days a week for a few weeks, then build from there.


Do it until it’s so easy it’s automatic. Then move on.


Add the element of accountability:


Then, once you have your plan in place, tell someone about it.  A real, live person you know is spectacular, but failing that Facebook or another social media platform is an excellent alternative.


Just be sure you declare it “out loud,” and ask people to check in with you from time to time. Accountability is key, and it’s harder to hide when you announce your intentions to the world!


Be patient! 


You didn’t get out of shape or put on 10 lbs. in a week, you’re not going to reverse those quickly, either. All the more reason to make changes slowly and sustainably so that the effort doesn’t suck the life out of you.


The older we get, the longer it takes to see progress in fitness and nutrition. You might as well make it a ride you can enjoy.




3 rowing Machine workouts to jump-start your restart


One of the great things about the rowing machine is it meets you where you are, regardless of your current fitness level.


Since the rowing machine is an ergometer, you are always in control of how hard it is to row.  The harder you push-pull, the harder it will be to do so, and vice versa.


A little variety doesn’t hurt to keep you consistent either.


So to start you back on the right track, here are three rowing workouts, all different styles.  They showcase the three formats we typically use in our UCanRow2 Bodyshop classes: Erg (aka rowing machine, SkiErg or BikeErg) only, erg with bodyweight, and erg with equipment.


They’re all great and will give you a fantastic sweat.  You decide which one works best for you!


NOTE: Warm up well before each workout, keeping in mind the axiom: “The shorter the workout, the longer the warmup.”





Row intervals of 1-2-3-3-2-1 mins. (total 6 rounds), with the same amount of rest on each round.  Total time for the workout (without warmup or cooldown) is 24 minutes.


Start each round with a few short strokes to get going and build to your rating.  Each piece (interval) should be done at 80 percent of your max, where you’re rowing at a pace at which you can talk but you’d rather not.


Aim for a stroke rating between 24 and 28 strokes per minute.  Use how you feel to determine what stroke rating to hold.


Your goal is to maintain the same split within about 5 seconds on each round.  If you find you can’t talk, you’re going too hard!


Make it easier: Back off on the intensity, or lower your stroke rating
Make it harder: Work to take 5-10 seconds off your split on each round


AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) 20 mins of:

Row 500m
10 lunges
10 push-ups
10 burpees / step-ups
8 thrusters / squats
25 jumping jacks
3 broad jumps


Make it easier: Lower intensity on the row / reduce the number of off-erg moves or do the scaled options – the second choice when there are two listed
Make it harder: Increase intensity on the erg, up the workout time by 5-10 mins.



4 rounds, descending pyramid:

Row 1 minute
In between do 12-9-7-5 repetitions of:
TRX or weighted squats / air squats
Push press
KB swings


Make it easier: Eliminate the exercises on the last round, instead ending with the 4th row as a sprint
Make it harder: Add a round of 15 repetitions at the beginning


Give them a try, and we would truly be thrilled and honored if you would comment below and let us know how you liked them, and if anything especially worked or didn’t work.


If you want more rowing machine workouts like this be sure to join our email list; We send out new workouts every week, along with other great content you won’t see anywhere else.


One quick caution, because Safety First and Do No Harm are our guiding principles: The workouts we post here are intended for people with at least some rowing experience.


If you’re new to the rowing machine, we recommend you find a certified indoor rowing instructor to help with the basics and sign up for our RowReady course for beginners.


Also subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out our blog post on rowing technique for videos and articles that will help you refresh and review.


Ready for more? Check out our rowing workout programs Meter Monster and Flywheel Frenzy.


Need a little extra accountability? Share your plan in the comments and seal the deal!



What do you do when you fall off your indoor rowing training horse? Don't despair, or feel bad! Instead, get re-started right away with these three rowing machine workouts. Want more like this? Visit our workouts page: https://ucanrow2.com/indoor-rowing-workouts/