Today's thoughts
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Overwhelmed, Take a Breath

Today's thought

I’ve barely been home for two weeks from a beautiful vacation and I already feel overwhelmed. My self-imposed clock is something I put upon myself daily. I give myself a daily list of things that should be accomplished so as not to carry over for tomorrow’s list. If I don’t make this list I feel as though I won’t remain motivated. But there are just times when daily life interferes with our schedules, and those are the times that seem to make me feel as though I’m smothering when I struggle to keep up.

When I returned from vacation, I had the usual catching up tasks to contend with such as: thirty loads of laundry, and almost two hundred emails I failed to open. Don’t even get me started on how behind I got on my reading blog posts and subscriptions. But that was all to be expected with unpredictable internet at sea and a very social holiday. It just seems as though I’m trying to cram as much as I can get done in one day because I’m a firm believer in ‘Don’t put off for tomorrow what can be done today.’ I remembered this as a child and it stuck with me. What if something happens and I can’t get everything done on my calendar? I panic about how much more there will be to do tomorrow. I believe it’s called anxiety. I’ll tell you. . . I exhaust myself!

Even with good intentions, life has interruptions and I am left prioritizing what will fill my tomorrows. I’ve had quite a few interruptions on my planned writing days since I’ve moved. I’m not yet 100% settled in my place yet, or my mind for that matter. There are still repairmen coming and going, there is some very noisy underground repairs with jackhammering that vibrate all the way to my tenth floor on a daily basis. My husband hasn’t been well since we’ve returned from vacation. Hence, he’s been home most of the time and that throws me off my game. He’s also had his second eye cataract surgery this week and other follow up appointments.

My intentions were to finalize my newest book’s first draft and start typing it into the computer as well as work on blog posts, catch up on other blogs, visit my social sites, catch up with my new writing group, cook, clean, pay the bills, grocery shop and most of all, go visit my beautiful aunt who is in palliative care living on borrowed time.

Writing is my solace and when I can’t get enough time to write I begin to experience anxiety, feeling as though everything is happening too quickly and I just want to stop and take a breath. My self-imposed clock  is always ticking in my head, pushing me to get things done in case. . in case what? In case tomorrow’s obstacles give me more than I can handle for the next day?

Each day I wake I am still surprised to find where I am when I wake, I’m not yet used to my new surroundings. I can’t help but wonder if I will adjust here or if my desire to move away from this city is so strong that nowhere here would make me happy. Do you ever feel like you’re not living in the place you belong? I do. But I haven’t yet found where it is that I do belong.

Ironically, an author friend of mine Jane Carroll, who writes fabulous books about looking at life with a positive spin, using her alter-ego ‘Bertha‘  as her inspiration for positivity and as the main character in her books, had messaged me on Facebook. (You can check out Jane’s Becoming Bertha and Bertha-Size your life and get inspired.) Jane was beginning a series of questions she invited her readers to ask her and Bertha so she could answer and put the questions on video and eventually in her newsletter. Jane messaged me in a frazzled moment I was in and asked me if I had a question for Bertha. How opportune I found Jane’s question when I replied, “How do I deal with being overwhelmed?” Hours later Jane messaged me with a glimpse of her answers she put together in this video. True to her Berthaisms, she was decked out in Bertha’s favorite colors, hot pink and chartreuse.

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


  • Christy Birmingham

    Oh Deb, I totally get you with feeling overwhelmed sometimes. I love that Jane and Bertha came in to give you advice – I adore you all!! Jane’s advice to take time for yourself in the morning is a great one <3 I'm so excited you are all in one post together!

    • dgkaye

      Thanks sweet Christy! I know right? Like attracts like. I found Jane through you! I connected with Jane after reading her Bertha books back to back because I felt so inspired. Then I was working on this post at the time Jane FB’ed me asking if I wanted to pose a question to Bertha. I was gobsmacked to find a reply video from Bertha and thought it was opportune to tie us all together. <3

      • Christy Birmingham

        Ohhh that’s so neat! Thanks for telling me the backstory of the post, Deb. I’m so thankful you found Jane too, and I’m so happy I could be the bridge for that to happen for you. It’s a delight to know you, honey! I hope your day is wonderful M3

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    Brilliant post and excellent advice on the video to yourself Deb.. I smiled at the ‘Practice what I preach’ bit.. because that was on my next to last post.. As I admitted I can dish out advice and yet not follow through with it when it comes to myself..

    I find you just have to understand we can not be super women.. And that we are not letting people down by finding some Me time to nurture ourselves. When we are ‘Givers’ it seems its even harder for us to receive.. as we rush around to try to be there for others… And yet we cannot sit down to find our own space and sort things in priority of importance to ourselves..

    I think Bertha is right… Time set aside for ourselves in a morning.. this is now what I do.. I complete my tasks and then set aside some time if I am doing a project.. and I try now to on week days to visit WP in the late afternoons…
    I am still way behind many who visit … But I know those who are genuine friends on WP know I will get around to visit eventually..

    Wishing you luck in sorting out your day with your book.. And I hope you soon feel more settled in your new home and surroundings..

    Love and Blessings your way Deb..
    Hugs Sue xxx <3

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Sue for taking the time to read this. Yes, it’s a continual process to allow ourselves a moment to breathe and Bertha does have it right. We can only do so much in a day and the hardest part is learning to pardon ourselves if we don’t. <3

  • marianbeaman

    I remember once when I was in a dither because of my involvement with many projects at the college, one of my professor friends came up to me, looked me in the eye and said, “You. Have. Enough. Time. To Do. What. Really. Needs. To be. Done.” Start close in and go from there. It works!

    Deep breaths help also. Strive for excellence, not perfection. If all else fails, take a nap!

    • dgkaye

      Love the wise words you shared here Marian. Nothing we don’t all know, yet have a hard time wrapping out heads around the sound advice. Perhaps a lifetime of feeling guilty about everything is a hard habit to kick. 🙂

  • Carol Balawyder

    Oh, Debby, I so relate to your post. Just today I was writing reviews for books I had read which takes a lot of thinking and time. Then, I thought I don’t have to do this and so decided i wouldn’t post on Goodreads for awhile the books i’m reading. And then it occurred to me that even if I post a book I’m reading it doesn’t mean I have to write a review for it. Why do I give myself all that self imposed pressure and stress?

    I hope you find where you belong. There’s a wonderful book I read sometime ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn titled Wherever You Go There You Are. Just saying! 🙂
    Thanks, Debby, for this wonderful post! 🙂 We all need to know we’re not alone!

    • dgkaye

      Carol, thanks for reading, and especially for your words of wisdom. I think as authors, knowing the importance of giving a book review, we feel compelled to do so for every book we read because it falls onto the “do onto others” category. We all want our books reviewed too. It all relates back to a subject we’ve discussed a few times – organizing our priorities and trying to fit everything in, in one day! Thanks for the book suggestion, as always, I’ll be on it! 🙂

      • Carol Balawyder

        I like your “do unto others” category. Also, writing book reviews helps me to read more carefully the book I am reading and writing reviews is also writing. 🙂
        Priorities. Yes. Now, I’m trying to write first thing in the mornings and then go to my blog. And then a yoga class. 🙂

        • dgkaye

          Once again, we are similar in how we ‘attempt’ to organize our schedules. When I’m back in my writing groove (my book that is), it’s always first thing in the morning before I go near a computer or distractions take over much of the day. 🙂

  • coastalmom

    I know just what you mean about being surprised when you wake up. I used to love the firsts like that. When I watch those home shows, I imagine how it might feel padding down to that kitchen to get a glass of water, etc… Or waking up and feeling that fresh feeling of “NEW” You are such a good story teller. I love reading your thoughts! I remember why I hang out in your neighborhood! I just wandered over here. Had to take home my files to finish inputting inventory in Excel for the shop we are opening and just finished, so rewarded myself with a trip through your gate!

    • dgkaye

      Di, I am always so honored to have you visit here. I know all about time restraints. It’s funny how we all tend to gravitate toward certain blogs. I have many favorites and then I put them in sub-categories – must read when published, must read by week’s end, etc. I think you know where you are in my priority list. <3

  • elainemansfield

    I am overwhelmed. And I am trying to remember to slow it down and take many breathes. Tortoise and hare come to mind. I have lots of reminders of what matters from illness in family (you have that, too), but I don’t feel well inside if I don’t write. My brother is ill and I will visit him soon, so I hope to take him some childhood memories.

    • dgkaye

      It’s amazing how many of us in our circle seem to go through the same experiences, albeit in different ways. It’s comforting to have that connection with others and learn from each other’s moments of solace. Keep breathing Elaine, we will all get ‘there’ eventually. 🙂

  • SexwAnnie

    Take a deep breath. It’s all going to be alright Debbie, Know that you are loved, and all will fall into place. You will catch up. Until you go away next time and come back that is. lol.. <3

    • dgkaye

      Lol, thanks sweet Annie, I’m trying. 🙂 And you must be all prepared for your big venture??? Sending you lots of love and healing prayers my friend! <3 <3

  • Aquileana

    Hi Deb! ~ You said: “My imposed clock is something I put upon myself daily”…. Oh yes, I agree even when in my case it is not self imposed… 🙄
    I have watched that video when Jane shared it on her Twitter feed and love it…
    I subscribed to her channel… Very wise words by here and Bertha (who I’d say is her alter ego!). Thanks for the inspiration you two (or three) share. Love and happy week ahead to you! Aquileana 😀

    • dgkaye

      Hi Aq! I’m so glad to hear you follow Jane and Bertha. Certainly, they have much wisdom to share. In a world where everything, including the hours seem to whiz by so quickly, many of us feel under the pressure of the ticking clock. Happy week to you too my friend! xo 🙂

  • mockingbird181984

    Yay, finally I could write comments again… I can relate to this post, Ms Deb! I just remember to stop when I really need to. I listen usually to the rhythm of my body… in order to be really productive. I have my moments, but I have faith that I will be able to carry on later. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Yay! Hello Mock. So nice to see you here again. I’m so glad to hear that you have implemented a system to give yourself pause. It is sometimes a hard thing to do. 🙂

  • coastalmom

    Hey Debbie,
    I clicked on your newest post and it just fills my screen. I know, I know, user error. LOL. But wanted you to know that I follow you too. I just don’t want you to think that I don’t read what you post! What was that? I just saw a yellow background with huge letters that I couldn’t make out.
    YOU are the techie. What am I doing wrong? AGAIN. lol.
    Love ya!

    • dgkaye

      Omg, you crack me up!!! Ok, so I’m guessing you opened on your phone again? Ironically, lol, it’s an article about our blogs being ‘mobile friendly’ lol. Well there’s a link to click on the post to test your blog page to see if it will be mobile friendly. Sorry for the weirdness, although I tested my site and it says I’m mobile friendly but I think the feature image is too large. It’s fine for the blog on the computer but probably too large for the mobile. Does this help? Try reading on your computer later. xo

    • dgkaye

      PS. I just altered the size of the image. Please try again on your phone too to see if it’s better and let me know. 🙂 Thanks bud!

  • Let's CUT the Crap!

    Yes. Yes and yes. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I try to finish today’s tasks today because who know what tomorrow will bring. I’ve been over-whelmed for months and am now on a week’s break. Broke my own rule and catching up on your posts. 🙁

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