How To Go Back To The Basics When You Feel Overwhelmed With Stress

Don't let anxiety and stress take control.

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I, like many of you, have been in a coronavirus and social mayhem rut lately, which has drastically affected my productivity and overall emotional state.

You're likely feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, stress, and worry.

What we’re going through is insanity, and most of us have never experienced anything like it in our lifetimes.

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I have found myself in a weird mental state, having conversations in my head regarding any or all of the following at any given moment:

  • How I should be taking advantage of this time in terms of work, personal growth, weight loss, etc.
  • How I should be cranking out the checkmarks on my own personal and professional to-do lists.
  • How I should embrace this time of not having to do anything and just live in the moment, learning to do nothing.
  • How I should be enjoying my time with my kids and go all "camp counselor" on them.

The one conversation, however, that kept coming up and eventually won was the idea that this is weird and totally unprecedented. And you know what? I’m going to be kind to myself, give myself some grace, and go back to basics.


I decided to focus on three priorities: Sleeping well, eating well, and exercising.

These are, after all, the building blocks upon which your life and livelihood depend. And really, life just works better when they're in place.

So, I decided they would come above all else. And if I didn’t get anything done in a day, I could at least say that I accomplished these most important "tasks."

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Now, I of course knew that I would get more done each day, and I also knew that I would falter on my “mighty three.” But at least I had my priorities.

I was able to start with the basics of what my body needed at a time when it might have been all I could handle, anyway.


I'm extremely visual and went into this experiment totally overwhelmed.

However, what I grew to love right away about this new outlook was that exercising, eating healthy, and sleeping existed in my mind in a big, protected bubble, while my other to-do’s were less defined and kind of floating out there.

They literally looked less important in my mind, thus making it easier for me to see them as nothing more than bonuses.

Productivity through the basics.

Of course, I did get more done each day than just the mighty three. But by refocusing my whole being, my whole existence, around those three building blocks, I felt a sense of accomplishment and, I’ll admit, I even felt a little wiser.


Each day since then, I’ve continued to focus on healthy eating, better sleep, and exercise. And I have to say, I feel so much better because of it.

At moments when I’m feeling down, all I have to do is consider whether I’ve accomplished my three to-do’s for the day. If one is missing, then I can at least recognize the missing piece and occasionally even do something about it — mid-afternoon naps, anyone?

Now, about a week or so into it, I am finding that those three are becoming routine and I'm able to set goals for other things I’d like to accomplish in a day.


Slowly but surely, I’m shifting into my "new normal," but I know that when things feel wonky again, I can go back to my three basics and start over again.

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Aubrei Krummert is a certified professional organizer and the owner of Real World Organizing. Aubrei loves working with her clients both on site and virtually to reduce overwhelm and help them live more peacefully and efficiently. For more information on how she can help you, visit her website.