Feeling overwhelmed is a common experience, especially during busy times of the year. How do we handle it? Jodii Maguire, from Think Performance Psychology, offered some practical insights.

At this time of year, there are many events and responsibilities piling up. The NBA Finals are underway, the school term is ending, and children will be home for a few weeks. While this can be joyous, it often feels chaotic. Work can also be hectic, especially for those preparing for the end of the financial year. Many are organising activities for the kids’ holidays or managing rush periods at work. On top of that, some children have exams, adding more stress to family life.

Recognising these busy periods is essential. We need to find ways to consciously and deliberately create stillness. Jodii suggested an effective method to manage this chaos: creating a to-do list. “I create a to-do list of all the things I need to do for myself and my work,” Jodii explained. “I also make a list of things that need to happen for our family system to work well. Then, I separate these lists.”

When overwhelmed, everything feels like an absolute priority. This tension can lead to paralysis, where nothing gets done. Jodii’s solution is to categorise tasks into three groups: must do, should do, and could do. “I assign a must do, should do, and could do to each item.” Jodii said.

The “must do” items are the highest priority. They are often the most challenging and time-consuming. However, tackling these first can relieve significant pressure. “Once we prioritise the must do’s and start investing in them with our available resources and energy, we begin to alleviate some of the pressure in our environment and family system,” Jodii noted. “This makes everyone feel less tense, and we can enjoy dinner together and chat, which often gets lost when everyone is busy.”

Listen to Jodii’s full conversation with Leah and Dan.