How To Get Back On Track When You’ve Totally Lost The Plot

How To Get Back On Track When You’ve Totally Lost The Plot
Carly Jacobs

You know when you’ve got a To Do list that’s longer than an elephant’s cock and you’re flapping around like a stressed out lunatic trying to get it all done and everyone keeps telling you to just take a Mental Health Day so you can get back on track?

Those people piss me off.

Taking a day off when you’ve got too much stuff to do is a ridiculous suggestion because it just puts you even further behind schedule. I can’t think of one person in the world who has the ability to drop everything at their busiest time of year and be all ‘Oh! I have 7 deadlines due in the next 24 hours but I’m going to relax and drink Pina Coladas because STRESS MANAGEMENT!‘.

Obviously Mental Health Days are great and if you can take one, go for it. However there are some times when you literally cannot drop the ball. For example, if you’re a teacher and you totally lose your shit at report writing time, you can’t just call up your student’s parents and say ‘I’m totally stressed out right now so instead of doing my job, I’m going to go meditate on a mountain.’

So for those crazy times of year when everything feels out of control, here are a few manageable tips to get you back on track without resorting to a Mental Health Day that you really don’t have time for.

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1. Steal a sleep in

If you have a morning where you don’t have any meetings and can possibly be at work/start work a little later then do it, particularly if you’re an early riser and you’ve been pushing your bedtimes further and further back in an attempt to get everything done. Most people sleep better when they know their alarm isn’t set for 5am so if you can give yourself a few extra hours sleep one morning this week, do it. A really good nights sleep in the middle of a rough week will do you the world of good.

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2. Skip your workout

If the thought of spending 20 minutes in traffic on your way to boot camp makes you want to cry this week, then I give you permission to skip it. Go for a walk instead, do some lounge room yoga or go for a gentle bike ride. Make sure you still move, (exercise is WONDERFUL for stress-brain) but if you ditch your intense weight session or aerobics class you will free up some much needed extra time and head space. Just don’t make a habit of it okay?

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3. Move slowly

People tend to speed up all their actions when they’re stressed. Think about when you’re running late. You’re throwing things around, trying to find your keys, knocking over cups of tea, stubbing your toe, forgetting your wallet, running back upstairs to grab it, locking yourself out of the house. It’s a disaster. The same thing happens when we’re stressed at work. How often have you been cramming to finish an email or project and just deleted the whole thing minutes before it was due? Or sent a report to 50 people with a horrific spelling mistake in it? Rushing feels like it’s going to help you achieve things more quickly but really all it does it stress you out and make you suck at everything. Slow down and move thoughtfully. You don’t have time to clean up additional messes this week so don’t flap around and create extra work for yourself.

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4. Say no

Rest is more important than social engagements so if you’re really under the pump, say no to your friends. It can be really difficult to turn down a few glasses of wine with a mate when you’re really stressed out but spending time with friends can be really draining, even if they’re wonderful and supportive. Be good to yourself and be a bit of a hermit until you feel more in control of your life.

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5. Eat easy food

I don’t mean greasy take aways and packaged junk, I mean that a tin of tuna on some spinach leaves with avocado is perfectly fine for dinner if you’ve worked a 12 hour day. Obviously you should try to eat as well as possible but don’t waste time and energy activating almonds and slow poaching chicken breast at a time when having a shower seems like a luxury time spend. A bowl of porridge for breakfast is just as filling and nutritious as homemade bircher muesli and takes about a quarter of the preparation time, so just go a bit easy on yourself when you can.

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6. Don’t sweat the small stuff

No one is going to call DOCS if your children don’t have a bath today and no one will die if there’s no milk for cereal in the morning. Yelling and screaming during a traffic jam won’t make the cars move faster and huffing and puffing in line at the post office won’t get your parcels in your hands any quicker. Use waiting time to listen to a lovely podcast or do a mindful meditation. Just breathe, stay calm and don’t waste any anxiety or stress on things that you can’t change.

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How are you coping with life this week? Does it seem like everyone is suddenly at breaking point or is it just me?

28 Comments

  1. countrygypsies 5 years ago

    A great post. I have been battling the flu for a couple of weeks now – no biggie – but just know I’m going too fast and need to step off for a day. Luckily I’ve got a few days off coming up where I’m going to rest, recharge and rejuvenate. We forget about this sometimes. I’m always telling people to be kind to themselves, sometimes we need to do it to ourselves too

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Absolutely! And I also think it’s important for people to take little breaks and do small things to help them stress less when they’re really busy. A day off would be amazing but it’s not always practical and sometimes a sleep in and a little rest time can really help.

  2. Elle 5 years ago

    Great post and YES this week has felt like a breaking point moment from the get go! feel calmer just reading your suggestions – thank you

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I had the exact same thing this morning then I had my sleep in and made myself slow down and I feel so much better!

  3. theveggiemama 5 years ago

    *deactivates her almonds*

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Good girl. Heat yourself up some veggie dumplings. x

  4. Sister 5 years ago

    Someone told me Mercury is sending things a bit wonky at the moment.

  5. Sig @ Glowing Healthy Life 5 years ago

    Awesome tips – as much as I advocate for taking those days (because boundaries and putting yourself first for once!) – sometimes it just ain’t possible. I actually quit my corporate Big-4 job a few months back for this exact reason – because I was miserable and burnt out to start my own holistic health + mindset coaching business. Since I did that I healed my adrenal fatigue and my sugar cravings and feel incredible. I see way too many women who are on this vicious cycle of being overwhelmed and on the way to burning out. Smaggle if you don’t mind me doing a little shameless self-plug (and only because I’m so passionate about getting this message out there!) – I have a free e-course with 5 super easy steps to go from burnout to balance.

    I also highly, highly recommend watching Dr. Libby Weavers TEDx talk if you can find it. THAT. That is what I am trying to do in this world xx

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Oh cool, I’ll totally check the TED talk out. Totally cool to shamelessly self plug! It’s right on topic! x

  6. Nadine 5 years ago

    No it’s NOT just you! The hardest thing for me is setting boundaries and saying no. I’m doing it, but holy heck it’s tough!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I can say no to almost anything but work. If someone offers me money, my mouth cannot form the words no. I’m not materialistic at all but money to me means security so I just can’t do it.

  7. Rachel Ann 5 years ago

    Yup. I’m in between two back to back packed full weekends, so I’m taking evenings off this week. Not hanging out with friends or going to yoga classes, and instead I’m doing yoga at home, packing my bags for leaving tomorrow, and doing a bit of reading.

    This is a wonderful reminder that taking that time doesn’t mean I’m lazy, so thank you for that!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I think people need permission to give themselves a break. Otherwise you get all weird in your head that you’re wasting time when you should be working on something important but if we keep thrashing ourselves we’re useless anyway!

  8. merilyn 5 years ago

    good post carly! … i say good luck hun!
    from one who couldn’t organize a chook raffle!
    i’m learning stay in the NOW! … focus!
    prioritize and say NO! … cheers m:)X

  9. Tamsin Howse 5 years ago

    Oh my god you’re 100% on track today. And I NEED to do number 4. I’m absolutely DYING here.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I live just across from my bestie and I’m constantly not able to see her because I can’t even spare an hour right now. Worst friend ever but it has to be done!

  10. “when you’ve got a To Do list that’s longer than an elephant’s cock” -> can’t even begin to tell you how many LOLs I had with just that sentence. Ahh juvenile me. 😛

    I particularly agree with the last one. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It took me years to learn this (and I’m still learning!) because I’m that sort of person who must have things done a certain way. If not, I get my knickers in a twist and put on my Godzilla mode which isn’t pretty. House full of dog hair and not vacuumed? Relax, breathe. Let it go. Do it tomorrow.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Elephant’s are SO LONG! Have you seen them dragging on the ground? Mental. I’m the same. I get very uptight about making sure that my life is running smoothly but then I over commit and end up running around like a lunatic. Like now. And I JUST agreed to a giant writing contract that’s going to kill me. I’m an idiot. 🙂

  11. jennyruss 5 years ago

    Thank you for this! This week HAS been rough! I need to be mindful of 3, 4, and 6 especially.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I’m not feeling as out of control this coming week but I’m going to be really good to myself again this week to stay on track and no freak out! x

  12. Last week was a doozy…and to think I was going to finish it by cracking the whip on myself ON A SUNDAY. Life got in the way instead and yet I still managed to find time to do it all…well, most of it…and started this week feeling somewhat organised (and yep, I chose sleep over exercise this morning – but that will be done with Mr Styling and Amalfi after work). x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Afternoon exercise saves my life when I’m crazy busy. I’m usually a morning gal but sometimes an afternoon Barre class or run the treadmill is awesome.

  13. Jamie 5 years ago

    I just came back to work after two weeks of travel – jet lagged and a bit (okay, a lot) panicky about getting caught up. This was the perfect read for my frame of mind this morning – thank you!!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      My pleasure! Travel always screws me over – it’s so important to be good to yourself when you’ve got back from a holiday.

  14. indeed – my life in a nutshell. Working from 5 am to 10.30 pm with kids squished in between.Break shmake. Mindfulness and some TLC is what I do – a regular facial, a run, and hitting delete work for me

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