We all know the stress of too much on our plates–too much to do, too much to think about, too many things and people and responsibilities to take care of.

Whether you choose to have a lot on your plate or feel like there is no other option, stress and overwhelm may be a reality–and they take a toll.

Stress and overwhelm prevent us from being and feeling and behaving as our best version of ourselves. Stress not only feels crummy; many of us react to stress and overwhelm by cutting back and dropping some of the self-care and comfort strategies that benefit us the most and allow us to really shine.

Stress and overload can also lead us to habits such as stress eating, comfort eating, drinking and smoking too much, and sleeping too little. And the stress that creates can lead to more of the same—a vicious cycle.

Want to do something different?

Here are 4 tips for taking control of stress that you can implement today:

1. Set Priorities. Take time at the end of each day to identify your top 2-3 priorities for the next day. Being clear on your priorities creates clarity of mind, focuses your action, and reduces stress.

2. Avoid Multitasking. Research shows that multitasking does not make us more productive, yet when we’re stressed, there is a temptation to conquer as much as we can at once. It doesn’t serve us well. Slow down. Take a deep breath, and focus on doing one thing at a time.

3. Recognize Signs of Overwhelm. Know what the signs are that your stress level is building. Are you a stress eater and noticing your eating feels more out of control? Are you more irritable? Not taking time for the things that you need? The earlier that you recognize that stress is building, the sooner you can start implementing strategies to do something about it.

4. Never Underestimate the Power of a Small Pause. Breathe. Step outside. Take a short walk around the block or your office. Stretch your neck and shoulders and drink some water. Checking in with yourself for even 60 seconds, several times a day, can help you stay connected with yourself and to what’s important to you.


Author's Bio: 

Are you a smart, busy woman struggling with emotional eating, overeating,and balancing work and life? Claim your free psychologist-designed audio series: "5 simple steps to move beyond overwhelm with food and life" at http://TooMuchOnHerPlate.com. Melissa McCreery, PhD, ACC, is a Psychologist, ICF Certified Life Coach,and emotional eating coach who specializes in providing smart resources to busy women struggling with food, weight and overwhelm.