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I’ve got five kids, I’m a queer feminist, and I just might be the only life coach in the world who doesn’t believe in the Law of Attraction.

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5 Things To Do When Life Gets Overwhelming

Epic Fucking Badass

It is not an understatement to say that my life – our 7-person blended family, self-employment, international moves – is occasionally quite overwhelming.

But as a life coach, this is sort of exciting in the nerdiest way possible. Oooh!! A challenge!!! Let me go grab my life coaching toolbox!!!! I have pliers for exactly this situation!!!!

So here it is. Here’s what I’ve learned (mostly the hard way!) to do when life suddenly goes to full volume.


5 Things To Do When Life Gets Overwhelming

1. Cut yourself some slack and let your standards slip.

Order pizza. Put a movie in for the kids. Buy a gift card instead of the perfect present. Pull your hair back in a bun. Use paper plates. Drink some wine. (All of which I have done in the last 12 hours, I’m pretty sure.)

2. But keep up those bare minimums of dignity and self-respect.

I’ve written before about my daily non-negotiables, those little promises to myself that I always keep even when things feel hard. Even on moving day, I will wear perfume and earrings.

Even when we’re camping, the kids will have to say “please” and “thank you” because we are mean and we hate joy. The kitchen counter will be clean before I go to bed every night, even if there are piles of boxes stacked against the wall.

These little grace notes of civility and order and routine will help us all stay more calm and grounded even when things are chaotic.

3. Notice how clear your true priorities suddenly are.

Like super, super clear. This is the strange gift of intense seasons; they show you what really matters. The immigration attorney still needs that document. But the guest post I wanted to write is on the back burner. We need to buy river shoes, stat. But those cute saltwater taffy sandals I wanted to buy the kids? Enh.

Suddenly it becomes crystal clear which of our belongings are treasures that must come with us, and which ones we wish we’d garage sale’d last month. Big transitions like a move really bring home the reality that you have limited time and energy, so in order for the truly crucial to get done, some of the other things will have to go.

This is always true, actually, but the intense pressure serves as a kind of forcing function. Pay attention to which things still matter even in the most hectic times. Hmmmm.

4. Plan a treat down the road for yourself.

There will be no mythical “balance” when life is overwhelming. There will not be healthy levels of self-care, or enough alone time, or proper levels of emotional fuel.

We will be making withdrawals from all our important accounts— we’ll be drawing deeply our own inner wells, on our marriage, on our emergency backup energy generators. In other words, we’re going to work like dogs for the next few weeks. (In case camping sounds like a respite, let me tell you that camping feels way harder to me than moving house. A five-star hotel is respite. Camping is good hard gold-star-parent drudgery.)

So we are making sure that there are things to look forward to after all the hard parts. We booked a sitter for a date night right in the middle of the packing phase, when we’ll be sure to think we can’t possibly take a night off— but we’ll also probably need it the most.

We have a staycation blocked out on our calendar IN BLOOD for after everyone starts school, about an hour after we move into our new house. And we have promised ourselves sky-high levels of massages, manicures, and general indulgence once we’re into the new place.

5. Remember that strong people thrive on a challenge.

The truth is, we feel overwhelmed right now but we also feel ELATED. It’s so exciting to grapple with a challenge that’s new and different and feels so creative and constructive!

Sometimes it feels like adulting is just one long slog of solving the same problems over and over, and it’s a bit thrilling to flex different muscles you forgot you had. This feels like an adventure, and we’re stoked to be having it. Most of my clients report the same thing: maybe it’s the adrenaline rush, but some of life’s most intense moments are also some of the most rewarding.

much love,


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take 7 minutes for your heart

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I write things for women with big, gorgeous, COMPLICATED lives. I help women become epic fucking badasses… but I still retain my right to cry at every diaper commercial ever made.

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Sustenance for the journey -- notes from a fellow
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