Some days the struggle is more than others. You try your hardest to make a plan, and then sometimes it goes upside down, and you don’t know where to restart.

You may be thinking, “Did I do this to myself?” or “How can I fix this?”

And best yet, “Can I just go to bed and start tomorrow fresh?” (I have been there many times.)

I would bet that most people feel overwhelmed at some point or another. Even the most organized person can sometimes take on too much and feel it. I know I have. So, you are not alone.

Now, some folks have significant challenges with kids being at home or caring for a loved one. It can be a lot to handle.  

How can you get through it?    

Take deep breaths.

Yep, you may have heard this advice and I know I have said it before. But are you doing it?

My former sales manager used to say to me, “Just take a deep breath” when something was going on, and I was getting all worked up. Honestly, I thought it was so insulting (and I liked her as a manager), but I was insulted. But then … I tried it.

I didn’t get it until I started to meditate, and then I understood how breathing deep just relaxes your brain and helps center you.

Make a to-do list, or if you are like me, a few lists.

My daily “Go To?”  Colored Post-It notes that are 4-by-6. Each day of the week is a different color. Every activity is written down and then crossed off when complete. How simple and also fun because of the colors.

Batching? What? Make a batch of cookies?

When I was a corporate retail buyer, I would shut down my email, close my door in order to focus and get my work done. I would make it known I needed some quiet time. I found that my team would respect that. At the time, I didn’t even know it was called batching. I would do it because it worked.

I have found when I don’t do this, I am not as focused and balanced. It’s empowering and addicting to say no. I think that setting boundaries is the best gift you can give yourself.

Setting boundaries also goes hand and hand with the ability to edit your to-do list and delegate. Once you get started, it’s the best thing ever to realize it’s OK to say no. Someone else’s plan may not be your agenda.

And you will end up saying to yourself, “Why wasn’t I doing this before?”

Magical tip: Shake your head and say “Focus.” Perhaps a bit wacky, but it works!

I sit at my desk, and when I am starting to get overwhelmed, I take about 30 seconds and shake my head and say “Focus.” I am not a doctor, so I do not know why that works from a medical or science perspective, but it does — try it!

Final thought: You can read all the tips out there but most important is do what feels good to you, but make sure and do it.

Melinda Van Fleet is a consultant, coach and speaker who helps sales executives and their teams navigate change and strengthen their communication skills to maximize their potential. She regularly speaks to groups of corporate professionals and is the host of the podcast, “The Good Karma Success Coach and Crush it in Sales.” More information is at

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