It happens to the best of us. Where the pieces of your life feel like they are those spinning plates toppling all at once. Your brain feels so heavy you can’t accomplish anything. But still, you jump from task to task with a fiery determination. “This will not defeat me!”

You push and push until…

Boom. Crash.

You can’t bend time. And you can’t bend yourself to fit within time. If you try, there will only be overwhelm and burnout.

That’s me talking to myself about the last few days, but I bet you can relate.

Unfortunately, no matter how self aware you are, overwhelm WILL happen.

Here are four things I do when it does happen.

Warning: these are the exact opposite of what you will feel like doing. But, if you do them, you can recover from overwhelm more quickly, be more productive in the long run, and most importantly it’s better for your health!!

#1 – Stop. Immediately. Whatever you’re doing.

#2 – Breathe. Take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes. Do nothing for an uncomfortable amount of time.

#3 – Say no. Re-prioritize and start saying no to things. Even if that means saying no to other people. As much as you wish it were possible, you can’t do everything.

#4 – Slow down. You must resume your work at an extra slow pace. You’ve gotten yourself so wound up that your adrenals are on fire. What will feel slow will actually be a normal, sane pace.