5 Ways To Cope When You’ve Totally Lost Your Shit

5 Ways To Cope When You’ve Totally Lost Your Shit
Carly Jacobs

ave you ever had one of those moments where you have so much stuff to do that you just freeze? You just sit in front of your computer watching the minutes tick by as your assignment gets later and later? Or you slump on the couch while your kids empty the kitchen cupboards and you’re too tired and stressed to try to stop them? You know what you need? A mental health day!

Except that mental health days are bullshit-leprechaun-fairy-dust-magic that don’t actually exist. I ADORE the idea of mental health days and I fantasise about them often. Let me tell you something – I’ve never managed more than a mental health half an hour. Why? Ain’t nobody got time for that shit.


Taking a mental health day when you’ve got too much stuff to do is ridiculous 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 ‘Instead of doing stuff today I’m going to drink coconut water and play with some kittens. Screw my job, my family and my responsibilities – I’m off to get a totally pointless seaweed wrap!‘.

Obviously mental health days are great and if you can take one, go for it. If you actually need one, then definitely do it. However there are times in your life when you actually cannot drop the ball. So 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. Here are 5 ways to cope when you’ve totally lost your shit.

1. Grab some extra Zs

Get to bed early or grab an extra half an hour in the morning if you can manage it. Even if you can sneak away to your car during work for a half hour snooze at lunch time, do it. Stress is really tiring, physically and emotionally so whenever you can grab a nap, do it. Stick to 20 minutes though because longer day time naps may impact on your sleep hygiene which is something you really don’t want to do when you’re already feeling frazzled.


2. Look to the future 

Being busy comes in waves and you won’t be out of control forever. Your toddler will grow up, that project will finish, you’ll graduate from school or you’ll get that promotion you’ve been working so hard for. Keep your end date in the back of your mind and it will make your manic life seem much more manageable.

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.

4. Say no

If you honestly do not have the capacity to add another thing to your schedule right now, say no. Tell your boss you can’t take up the slack for your co-worker that’s on holiday, tell the lady next door that you can’t look after her three kids every Thursday and tell that friend of yours that you can’t spend hours at the pub right now. If you don’t have any clean underwear and you’ve lost the ability to make that happen, it goes without saying that you don’t have time to go see a movie or pick up your partner’s dry cleaning.

sad woman

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff

No one is going to call the police if you don’t mow the lawn this week and your dog won’t die if you feed him last nights leftovers instead of his dog food that you’ve run out of. Banging on the steering wheel during a traffic jam won’t make the cars move faster and huffing and puffing in line at the bank won’t make the line vanish. Just breathe, stay calm and don’t waste any anxiety or stress on things that you can’t change.

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Have you lost your shit this week? How are you coping?


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  1. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid 7 years ago

    I haven’t lost it this week, not yet anyway. These are such good tips – as always. I’ve learnt that saying no and letting it go, as in relaxing standards/expectations where I can, is so important. Somewhere in the chaos, I like to stop and regroup and make a To-Do list of most to least important so I can focus on what really matters. If I get to the bottom of the list, that’s just a bonus. It’s really important to remember that you can do anything but you can’t always do everything (but it would be nice if we could!)

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Oh good! I’ve sort of lost it this week… not majorly but my time just seems to keep vanishing. It’s REALLY annoying!!! 🙂

  2. merilyn 7 years ago

    love your posts smags! …(always re-learning something here, that I may have forgotten!)
    they are really helpful with a sense of your quirky humour!
    organization isn’t my strong point! I am usually in some kind of creative maze!
    that’s not stressful! … but if I have to be real … then that is!
    fortunately I’m not called upon to perform much these days! yay!
    have a good day! love m:)X

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      I absolutely love the idea of that… re-learning stuff. I think that’s really what my site is all about! 🙂

  3. Laney 7 years ago

    I’m still looking for it from last week 😉

  4. I totally agree that slowing down – rather than stopping completely – is a huge help. Saying no is a biggie too. Wise advice as always, my friend. x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Saying no is massive and people forget that one all the time. I have to remind myself almost every day!

  5. This is real practical advice. I know so many people say to me “Just do nothing for a day” but I just can’t. Because then the next day will be hellish and I’ll be so behind. I like to plan holidays-that makes me happy 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Totally! I get that too and it’s like well I can’t not blog. I’ve done it every day for 7 years. People would think I have died. It’s actually that dire.

  6. Cheekie 7 years ago

    Def need to slow down, I broke my favourite work cup and ate too much chocolate and screamed at people (at home for not helping out) all because I was so busy and did not say no enough and it all mounted up. It’s ugly to behave so ugly and I appreciated reading this. Timely reminder

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Oh no! Breaking your favourite work cup is the worst. It’s awful to feel so out of control… I’m glad this helped though!

  7. sleepy 7 years ago

    Whenever my fellow mothers, working outside the home or not, are losing their shit, I tell them to go to bed. At 8pm if needs be, dishes not done. I do this when I’m feeling overwhelmed and will sleep for 10-11 hours and it’s better than any mental health day. I think a mental health day would paralyse me; I’d want to do so much “me time” I’d get stressed planning it!

  8. It’s school holidays and that seems to be all I’m doing at the moment.. Love trh holidays..hate the fighting..

  9. I once had a total burnout/breakdown/flipped out, so yes I totally take whole days off, sometimes ‘mental health’ requires it. I also say no more freely than I used to and ‘yes’ to things that bring more joy.

  10. Alyson 7 years ago

    I REALLY lost my shit a month or so ago, because I was ignoring all the things telling me to slow the eff down! What a wake up call – who knew that slowing down was so hard….but so necessary! As usual Carly, I agree with all of these x

  11. Breath in and out. Great advice. You are full of wisdom. I think I should be off to bed early tonight

  12. Lynnifer 5 years ago

    I had the line from Nine Inch Nails’ song “Piggy” stuck in my head – “Lost my shit because of you…” which I googled, to remember the rest of the song, and came across this delightful blog post. I lost my shit earlier today because my parents were losing their shit and calling me repeatedly while I was trying to drive to the grocery store. I gave up, let the 14-year old put away the groceries, feed himself dinner, and get himself to bed. He’s capable of that and I needed some down time.

  13. Carl 1 year ago

    Well so far im glad that my motorbike is broken atm as im sure i would do something stupid the buildup of 3 years of crap has finally pushed it to the point i dunno what to do honestly

  14. Seth 5 months ago

    The question I need answered is how do I get my shit back. It’s been lost so long I had to call off the search. How do you adapt to insanity? You dont.you just learn not to care too much about anything at all.
    That’s the realest self help tip out there. Maintain a balance of caring about everything and nothing at the same time.
    Trial,error, yadah you get there or you dont.


  1. […] I think it’s been two full weeks since I’ve linked to a Smaggle post so rectifying that fact now. Number three is the magic number here too. […]

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