Have you ever faced the feeling of “overwhelm”?

That’s how I felt earlier this week, just overwhelmed with all the things facing me. Too many things to do! Where do I get started?

The natural thing to do in such a case, it seems to me, is . . . nothing! If you don’t know where to start, don’t start, right? Totally twisted logic. But somehow it tends to prevail.

My other natural reaction: take a nap. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, it seems to be accompanied by a loss of energy. So I rationalize myself into the value of a nap. But, really, doesn’t it just postpone getting started a little longer?

OK, you say, I’m an “on-the-clock” worker. I don’t have the options you do. I have to suck it up and get to work regardless of how I feel.

True enough. I buy that–for those eight, or so, hours of the day. But what about after you get home from the job? Do home and yard chores, family obligations, paying the bills, plus your volunteer work in the community ever become overwhelming? I bet most readers have faced that feeling a time or two. If you haven’t, I’d say you’re an exception. Be grateful!

So, how does one break out of that malaise? Here are a few suggestions that come to mind, though I can’t claim to have mastered them all:

1. Don’t eat. Like taking a nap, it’s just another crutch. And it makes you even drowsier (and fatter).

2. Go for a walk. Physical exercise often restores energy that you can devote to other tasks.

3. Just start at something. Even if it’s not the highest priority item or the most efficient item to get started with, it will at least knock something off your list. And it may revive the motivation you need to get on with other things.

4. Don’t have a list to scratch stuff off? Then the first task should be to make one. Knocking stuff off the list feels good, and is itself motivating.

5. Cut your list in half. If the list (whether on paper or merely mental) seems too long, simply decide to lop off a bunch of things, perhaps those that aren’t crucial today, perhaps those you can pawn off on someone else, perhaps those you can get out of, even if it means a phone call to cancel an expectation.

6. Do a spiritual exercise. For some, that’s prayer. For some, it may be meditation. For some of my colleagues, it’s a defined morning ritual that includes reflection, exercise and/or other disciplines.

7. Write a blog post. (That was one of the things on my list, anyways.) OK, not everyone can do blogs, but maybe your equivalent is just scratching down your feelings on a scrap of paper. Writing them down will be cathartic and give renewed energy. Or maybe substitute a person for a piece of paper; you may have a friend with whom to commiserate who will help to get you motivated.

Okay, I’m feeling much better already.

Rent to Own tip

The policies of CMHC, Canada’s primary mortgage insurer, are always toughening, making it more difficult to get a mortgage. However, the good news is that many of the smaller lenders do not use CMHC, and the alternative mortgage insurers have less restrictive policies. When you go through a rent to own program, we try to follow CMHC guidelines, just to be safe. But we do have alternatives if their policies suddenly change.

Quote of the Week

Nothing of significance comes easy. – Todd Stottlemyer