By Guest Blogger Patricia Justice, an interior redesign specialist and professional home stager

In America, it seems that we live and thrive off of achievement, over-stimuli, and “success.”  Yes, part of it is the culture we live in, but as we have put another year behind us and look forward to some new things, what can we do to find better ways to navigate, thrive, and survive in the midst of all this?

I know that for me, when I feel projects, tasks, and life in general seem to be insurmountable, I remind myself to take a step back, pause, and break things down a bit.

After my family moved into a new/old house (you know the type – the ones that are endearing but have a never ending list of projects), my mind seems to race with all the things that need doing, and also…..needing endless supplies of money.

patricia3But, after slowing myself down and re-thinking, I am reminded of an old saying “You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.”   In reminding myself of this, I remember that my friends are truly my friends and I don’t need to impress them. I also know that things will get done as I can fit it in.  Spackle will just have to stick around on some walls for a while. Helping care for my mom is a huge reason I relocated to this area – she has Alzheimer’s, and I remind myself of what is really important.

So, I’ve put together a short list for you all, dear readers, in case you, too, catch a bad case of “overwhelm,” to help you feel better about things you aspire to do and ways to re-group along the way.

1. Remind yourself of all the things you accomplished in 2016, and things you learned along the way.  Make a list of some great things that although may have seemed small that you have accomplished.  Making a list such as this reminds us how far we have come.  We, as women, tend to beat ourselves up way too much, when there is so much we have actually done.

patricia12. Take baby steps to tackle some of those overwhelming things – are you cleaning out a space, or working on a project?  Slow down, and think of a way to break down those daunting projects.  For example, if you want to create a better office space, start with taking everything down on the shelves, deciding what you really need, and then, perhaps, find some new accent pieces and organizing tools to create better flow.  But do it in phases.

3. In your home, find 3 or 4 areas that mean a lot to you and your family and find ways to make those spaces feel more calming and relaxing.  After all, your home should be a place that is a reflection of you, but keep in mind that the less clutter, the more focused you can be on being “in the moment.”  If you love taking relaxing baths, create an area of luxury so that when you step into the bathroom, you can know that even if it’s for 15 minutes a day, you can calm down, slow down, and have some time for yourself.  Perhaps if you love sitting outside in nice weather, creating a welcoming deck or patio area will make you want to eat your breakfast before rushing off to work.

cropped_patricia24. If you work on an area in your home, remember to de-clutter and create spaces that have more flow, thus saving you time as you scurry about in the mornings.  Give away items you haven’t used in 6 or 8 months, or sell them.  In the process of gutting my own closet recently, I pulled every single item out, and only put back the things I loved, used often, and liked myself in.  Guess what?  I do way less laundry now and my life is so much simpler!

So, if you are just pondering on where to start, or have already tackled an area of your home, work hard, then take a break, and sit down to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee to reward yourself, and remember, if you get stuck, call in a friend or hire a pro.  Life is just too short to be “overwhelmed!”