The things you need to do if you’re feeling overwhelmed are the things which relax you and when you are relaxed and centred you can plan your week ahead of time and your stress will simply melt away. But, let’s not forget not all stress is negative.

We can all get overwhelmed from time to time, but I find the simple solution to it is to have a to-do-list. Write down everything that you know you have to do on the list and number them 1 to 10 in how important they are. Make sure your list is visible and when you have accomplished something on your list tick it off.

Very often things on our list are not as important as we think and can be done over a longer span of time. Be strategic in how you handle your list. For example, do you have to do everything yourself, or is there someone who can help you? And importantly before you do anything relax.

If you like using electronic devices you could use your phone to set important reminders of meetings that you have to attend, for example, a meeting on a Tuesday, you could receive a reminder on Monday or sooner if you prefer.

In the longer term, it is advisable to have a plan. For example, if you want to start your own business you need a business plan, you need to know what it is you want to achieve, who your customer is, where do they hang out, how can I get to them etc. It has been proven by having a plan of where you are going, means that you don’t fall into someone else’s idea of you should be doing.

Try this simple relaxation exercise.

Breathe in through the nose for 4 seconds

Hold for 2 seconds

Breathe out through the mouth for 6 seconds

Repeat 10 times

Place hand on stomach and feel it rise and fall with each breath

In your mind say “In 2 3 4, hold 1 2, out 2 3 4 5 6” repeat

Learn to breathe from your stomach and not your chest.

Below I have included an excerpt from a book a wrote. I hope you find it useful.

Step 1: The List or Desire Board

‘Live your life looking forward. Don’t look back and reflect on your wake.’

Make a list of all your desires, or if you prefer to create a desire board. Very much like a mood board featuring all pictorial evidence of your desires, for example, a picture or image of your dream home, car, all the electronic gizmos and gadgets you would like to own, holiday destinations, images representing health and exercise, leisure activities, etc.

This technique really works. For a few years, I had an image of my ideal car stuck on the wall of my study and when the time was right I owned my ideal car. You achieve what you think about. There is a link to an amazing YouTube video further on in this book and when you listen to the video, which features an influencer from the 50s, long before Tony Robins or other modern-day influencers. The influencer I refer to is Earl Nightingale who wrote a book in the 50s called The Strangest Secret and when I read it I was blown away. A key message from the book was the following: This is what Earl Nightingale said. “The trouble with man today is they simply do not think.”

Step 2: Score the Items on your List or Board 1 to 100

‘Knowing where you want to go instead of wishing about where you have been takes guts, determination and a willingness to admitting to sometimes being wrong.’

At this step remember not to be overly ambitious. Ask yourself. Do I really want it and how much do I want it? Score those things you really want higher than things that you would like, but if you weren’t successful in achieving them, it wouldn’t matter too much. For example, you could score an item at 60, meaning. Yes, I’d really like this in my life, but if it didn’t happen, I’m ok about it. You probably won’t have anything on your list or desire board scoring less than 60. But, it is important to note that not everything can be in the top 10, otherwise, all of those things would be difficult to achieve. Also, be careful that you don’t score something high on your list because somebody else considers it to be a high priority. At this stage don’t get bogged down in what someone else wants it is about what you want.

Concentrating on the top 10 hones in on your fervent desire, dream or goal as this scoring, i.e. putting your number 1 desire at the top of your list and actually closing your eyes and feeling what it would be like to hold it in your hands or in your mind’s eye. Dreams, desires and goals are all relative to who we are and where we are in our lives. If your desire is to become a mother, have a baby, imagine what it would be like to hold that baby in your arms and take in its warm comforting aroma. To feel that warmth and love wash over you, then as far as humanly possible, plan the event.

Ask yourself; are you ready to become a parent? Can you give the child your undivided attention and in some cases are you willing to, for example, hold back your business ambitions to have a child, to nurture the child and to give it the best possible start in life? If your desire, on the other hand, is based on having your own business, then ask yourself if you do have the time to devote the hard work and commitment necessary to ensure it is successful? Also, honing in on what is featured at the top of your list ensures unstinting dedication.

It is important to recognise that desires, dreams and goals might seem unattainable, daunting and egotistical, but it is perfectly reasonable to allow yourself to dream as your ego has nothing to fear. Your ego will chime in with “how dare you have that dream” or “don’t get your hopes up.” It will tell you that if you hear those voices in your head it is normal and that you have come to the right place, the place of, no matter what you do, there is no way that will work. These voices or what I will refer to as later on as jinxes which are not helping you live the life you want if anything they are definitely not your friend. You are the engine driver and you just have to remain candid and resolute if you want what’s on your list or board to work.

The stigma out there associated with some schools of thought in relation to planning your ideal life and to thinking about goal setting and getting is mixed and there are those who consider the process to be painful, hard work or a complete waste of time. But, ask yourself this question. What’s painful about dreaming about your most satisfying life? Just think back for a moment to when you were a child and someone asked you about what you wanted to be when you grew up. What did you want? Possibly to be rich, to be famous, to have your own successful business, to be a doctor or a lawyer. Whatever it was, now ask yourself, did you get what you wanted? If you didn’t ask yourself why and importantly did you have a plan and if the answer is no, then why not? Why don’t you allow yourself to dream to imagine, to wish, like when you were a child? Remember, it is never too late.

This is really about your long term goals, but you can use the same structure when planning your week or month. Like I suggested use 1–10.

I know you only asked in relation to planning your week and in doing so causing less stress, but knowing where you want to be and how to get there will be stressful, but it will be Eustress, which is positive stress.



I am a clinical psychotherapist and I have been helping people for a number of years with their mental health issues. I mostly now specialise in working with people who are suffering from anxiety, stress and mild depression. Although, I have over the years helped people deal with their fears and phobias using a number of psychological tools and techniques I am qualified to deliver. Due to the unprecedented times as a nation, we are facing I have decided that I will be continuing to work with any prospective and established clients both here and worldwide, remotely, at maintaining their positive mental health and wellbeing, whilst at the same time volunteering for Anxiety UK and working with those staff who are working on the frontline of the Covid-19 Pandemic in the NHS.


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