Do you ever look around or think about all the tasks that you have to do and feel immediately overwhelmed? You feel like what all you have to do is literally so much that it is impossible to get done and you may as well just not even start?

Then, your chest starts feeling tight and you feel like your brain goes into a panic mode. And it’s all over. You’re having a panic attack. And then you think about how instead of having a panic attack, you should be getting stuff done. Oh, the horror.

So, you can imagine the hell I’m in when we move into our house we’re remodeling with our newborn baby. We’re living in a construction zone with tools and supplies scattered on the floor and against the walls in every room.

The house we’re moving from-it was a disaster. Being pregnant and miserable led to me being a very-less-than-model housekeeper. But my fiance took that mess, boxed it up, and moved it in to our new place so that it could keep all the scattered tools company.

With my anxiety being high-even if everything was going perfectly, panic began to set it as soon as I’d wake up. When you’re anxious, your brain’s ability to handle and organize information is subpar, along with your ability to prioritize and make decisions. So, I used some of my favorite strategies to manage anxiety so that I could still function and help actually get our lives back on track!

Seconds before a panic attack? Start a timer Easy. You’re about to go full on panic attack as you feel your eyes dart around the room at all the stuff you need to do. Put a 5 minute timer on your watch. You can get through 5 minutes of whatever it is you need to do. Starting the timer gives you permission to not worry about prioritizing or thinking through how you could be most efficient BLAH BLAH BLAH. But gives you permission to START.

Who cares if you that 5 minutes could have been spent doing X instead of Y? More often than not, once I start the timer and get working on the project, I often start another timer-sometimes another 5 minutes, or sometimes 10-and I just continue doing this until I can feel the panic ease and I can start working more effectively. The timer is a two-parter. It gives you the ability to start the project, and gives you a small sense of achievement-and a small rush of dopamine.

If you have a lot to do, but nothing that HAS TO be done today, play a game. Yeah, I know, that sounds silly. But as you feel your chest tightening, and the overwhelm set in, you deserve to have fun with your task list. Stop, don’t worry about which task is more important or whatever… just write them in an app that lets you put them in a wheel and spin the wheel! WOOHOO! Yeah, it’ll get done. And you’ll have fun and get that dopamine drip doing it.

Now, we’re not panicked, but we are dreading what we’ve got to do. First, you should give yourself a pat on the back for not being on the verge of a panic attack. Really this is where that beautiful brain of yours is useful-planning, prioritizing, and just working your list.

If you want to get tips on setting up the perfect to do list, see my last blog post.