Ask Pat & Brendan

Donny Crabtree, Des Moines, Iowa. asks:

With the holidays coming and the school term winding down, what do you do when you feel overwhelmed or disorganized to the point of not knowing what to do?


Brendan answers:

Take a bath to relax, and then do something really small like ten push-ups. Set timers and do something for 25 minutes at a time.


Pat answers: 

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The best antidote I know for being overwhelmed is to take action.

  • I first make a list of ALL the things that are “hanging over me” causing the feelings of disorganization and pressure.

  • I then strike through the things I know I have no control over, like a new district policy, or new curriculum that causes extra work, an upcoming holiday, or even the weather. I make a concerted effort not to worry about those.

  • I next take the remaining list and circle the things I do have control attitude, saying “no” or “yes” to extra involvements, the time I arrive at and leave school, how I shop/decorate/entertain for the holiday, etc.

  • I then decide what adjustments I can make and do them!

  • Now my list is much shorter.... This is my “to-do” list.

  • I then prioritize the short list; choose the most important item, and do it!

  • From then on, I repeat the process...checking to see if I can delegate some of the duties or combine forces with at least one other person. We seldom are the only one who has to do the same thing in a school setting.


My Mother would have said, “Act, not react!” while my Dad would have said with his homespun wisdom, “Patty, just get ‘er done!”  


If you have ways you combat the fatigue, pressures, and disorganization of this time of year, please share with me at so I can share with our readers!