Tresta Payne |

Feeling overwhelmed? Save yourself in 10 minutes | Moms

Life can be overwhelming, no matter your age or job description.

Sometimes, just 10 minutes can turn things around.

Recently, my husband walked in the door from work and I looked up from my piles of papers and laundry to offer a weak smile.

He asked how I was doing and I replied that I was overwhelmed and tired. Not the speech for Wife of the Year and not the way I suggest you greet your husband each day, but honest and to the point.

He replied that he, too, was overwhelmed and tired. Neither of us was “done” for the day, and while we usually try to be encouraging to one another and help each other out of bad moods, we proceeded to recount our grievances – with the clock and with people and with all the things that pile up on a Monday.

We had a little rant session. It was not pretty.

I’ve discovered that I eat more when I’m tired and I putter more when I’m overwhelmed. Puttering and eating dig me a deeper hole, and before I know it I’ve puttered myself right into a jar of peanut butter and a bag of chocolate chips.

It turns out chocolate doesn’t really fix things.

My kids get overwhelmed, too, and this makes me sad as a mom.

I want childhood to be all carefree and outdoorsy, but they are growing up and growing into so much responsibility each day.

Balancing school and chores and sports and, well, hormones; it all gets exhausting.

My kids are hilarious, by the way. Getting them to stop being hilarious and start working can be difficult.

In order to get focused and move forward, I have to accomplish something visible – I need to see progress to change my mood and feel like I can overcome.

For me, setting a timer for 10 minutes and attacking something that’s overwhelming can get me back on track. It works for my kids, too.

I am in complete agreement with Brittany’s philosophy on technology: “Let technology help you, not hurt you.”

Now that I have an iPhone, I can just tell Siri, “Set a timer for 10 minutes.”

Siri is obligingly obedient and mostly pleasant. She has just enough sass to fit into our family, and really, truly, honestly, Siri makes life a tiny bit easier.

So Siri starts the countdown and we get to work. In 10 minutes, we can choose to: fold a load of laundry, clear the clutter off the counters, grade a math test, load the dishwasher and shine the sink, sweep the floors, read something inspiring to regain focus, check the bank balance and reconcile checks, get meat out of the freezer and chop a salad for dinner, play a game of cards together, walk outside, breathe fresh air and silence, and get the mail, send a wild child outside for laps around the yard, exercise! or, power nap.

When the timer beeps I can choose to set it again, or we can return to our regularly scheduled program…it’s like a commercial break.

10 minutes is a manageable amount of time and when the timer is set, I am focused.

I have set aside all the feelings and moods, put down the spoonful of peanut butter, and given myself (or my children) a small and achievable goal. For just 10 minutes, I can do ______.

Whether I use the 10 minutes for a fun break from working, or take a break from fun to work for 10 minutes, over the course of a day I can be productive and greet my husband with something better than “tired and overwhelmed.”

it’s like a commercial break.

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The News-Review Updated May 10, 2014 09:42AM Published May 13, 2014 02:33PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.