Running on Overdrive: How to Avoid the Crash

*Originally printed in the Winter Issue of Resilientista Magazine.

Have you ever just pushed yourself to the point of breaking? Mentally, emotionally, physically? You know those times I am referencing…too many deadlines to keep, too many responsibilities accumulating, too many people who need you. We tend to build up momentum getting things done that we forget to stop and take the breaks we need.

When I was a student-athlete in college, we had a saying that we used as inspiration on the swim team: Happy Horses. The philosophy behind it was this: A rested horse is a happy horse. And a happy horse is a fast horse. Here is the message: If you want to be the most effective and productive version of yourself, you must be properly rested. All too often, we get so caught up in the daily grind that we quite literally forget the importance of resting our bodies and our minds.

Yes, most of us go to bed at night and close our eyes and drift off to sleep. This is essential to proper functioning of the human body. But I would venture to guess that there are too many of us who never properly rest our minds. The human psyche can get just as exhausted as the body. While the body will manifest exhaustion in physical illness that is easy to recognize and will force us into a state of rest, the psyche can often be pushed too far. And when the psyche runs on overdrive for too long, a crash is inevitable.

So what can you do to avoid that mental crash? Here are some tips that have worked really well for me over the years when I start feeling overwhelmed, when my thought process gets jumbled and unfocused, when my stress and irritability hit levels that are too uncomfortable.  Those times when I feel like I am going to snap, crash, and possibly never rebound, I take some much needed time for myself, alone, to clear my head. The following activities can be done in increments of a few short minutes up to hours depending on what you need at that moment.  These may seem obvious, but remember that they are available to anyone at any time, no scheduling involved and no money needed.

5 Tips for Slowing Down to Avoid the Crash

1. Take a relaxing bath or shower. With the door closed. Play your favorite Pandora station to tune out any other activity in or around your home (kids, spouses, pets, neighbors). Water has incredible healing and cleansing powers not just for the body, but also for the mind.

2. Take a nap. Right in the middle of the day. In your bed. With the door shut and the curtains drawn. With strict stipulations that you are not to be disturbed for a set period of time.  And if you are unable to fall asleep, close your eyes, clear your mind, and pretend.

3. Go for a walk. In the fresh air. Around the block. In the park. Somewhere peaceful to clear your head. Focus on your breathing. Fresh air and breath control work wonders.

4. Meditate. Find a comfortable place to sit down and be present with yourself. Clear your mind for a few minutes by closing your eyes and focusing on the sounds around you. It is amazing all the things you can hear when you stop and listen. It is even more amazing how this activity can erase all the noise from your mind.

5. Go for a drive. Alone. Blast your music and sing along like nobody is listening and nobody cares. Sing for your life and let the curative effects of music wash away the stress.

With the chaos of the holidays just coming to an end, I hope you have found ways to maintain your inner calm and avoid the crash. Remember the importance of caring not only for your body, but for your mind as well. The two are quite dependent on each other. Happy Horses.

Slowing down on the edge,


Linking up with these Fabulous Link Ups.

Photography by Sarissa Melissa Photography.

Be sure to check out the Winter Issue of Resilientista Magazine for many more helpful tips on living your best life.  If you would like to receive each new publication of the magazine directly in your email, you can subscribe right here.


I am a 40 something Army wife and stay-at-home mother of 2 boys and 2 cats named Dave and Frankie. I have a passion for helping other women feel fabulous in the midst of this crazy, beautiful life.

45 Responses

  1. I love this top! The colorful florals add an instant mood uplifting effect and the sheer mesh type material is super sexy and gorgeous. Very beautiful outfit. BTW, great post Shelbee! This is something I can relate to. A lot of the times I forget that I can leave my son with the hubby and just take a breather instead I keep going thinking I can manage all the while steam are coming out from my ears either from exhaustion or just pure frustration. I have been getting better at least this past two weeks when I finally sat down to schedule my tasks and priorities. While it isn’t perfect I also made sure to include down times for me to enjoy what I used to before baby and before blogging (my now second kid!) LOL 😂 I am actually getting back to my reading and I can’t describe to you what it feels like just to enjoy a few minutes to myself. I hope you had a great weekend and happy Monday!

    Maureen |

    • Maureen, thank you so much! I can’t even tell you how long it took me to get to a point where I was comfortable enough to ask for help or down time! I always felt like as a stay at home mom that the parenting thing was my responsibility and mine alone. And this all came from me not my husband. I finally reached a point where I was not only comfortable asking for me time, but I also finally realized that I needed it AND deserved it. I am so glad that you are finally getting to a place where you can do the same! Have a fabulous week, my friend.


  2. I am definitely getting close to running on empty. With my renewed effort in blogging, single momhood and a professional job, I have no time for myself. But I also do little things when I can. I like to spend even an elevator ride just closing my eyes and having a moment of mental rest. I have been considering meditation too. My brother loves it!

    • Elsie, thanks for reading! You definitely have a lot on your plate and taking care of yourself is so important so you can be the best version of yourself in caring for the people who need you. Many years ago, I had mastered the art of meditating on a crowded NYC subway train. It was so beneficial to tune out all the noise and regenerate my brain. I am glad that you are doing the same on your elevator rides! I hope you continue to find ways to take care of your own needs! Have a wonderful week, my friend!


  3. I have been on the verge of a crash several times since Christmas! I know that in my life meditation is very important, and sometimes just putting things in perspective and remembering that all is well! Thanks for another great post! I hope you have an amazing week!

    • Suzanne, thank you so much! I hope you are taking the time to do what you need to keep yourself on track and avoid the crash! I actually have been in such a winter funk that I haven’t done much outside of my house for weeks. Finally, I just gave myself permission to feel that way and stay home and relax. Now I feel much better! I hope you a wonderful week, my friend.


  4. This was so helpful. It seems like i have been in overdrive for a while, and it need to slow it down too.

    • Courtney, thanks so much for reading! Everyone can certainly benefit from a little personal down time to rejuvenate. I do hope you are finding ways to do this for yourself! Take care and have a wonderful week!


  5. Dearest Shelbee,
    Very well written and for me the numbers 1 and 3 work best!
    You often feel like a new person and fresh for starting out.
    Thanks for sharing you wisdom and it is great that you have the ability for putting it into words.

  6. Going for a drive and blasting the music is the perfect way for me to get away. I also love going for a walk, it’s most relaxing and I love listening to music while I walk!

    • Laura, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your relaxation tips as well! I honestly was never much into listening to music until recently…and now I wonder why I was not taking advantage of its curative effects before.


  7. A reminder I really needed today. I’ve been running on empty for a long time, with caring commitments to my kids and my mother, plus commitments to work, my relationships and everything else. I know I’m getting close to a crash although my natural instinct is to keep going because there’s no time to stop. But I need to rest myself too – the Happy Horse imagery is spot on!

    • Kirsty, thank you so much for stopping by. I am so glad that my post came to you at a moment when you needed the reminder. I hear you on all of that! Sometimes for me, I really do just need a 15 or 20 minute reprieve from it all to get myself refocused, refreshed, and back on track. But I, like so many others, still can fall into the trap of neglecting what I need to keep pushing forward. I hope you can find a few minutes for yourself everyday to refresh and rejuvenate! Have a fabulous week!


  8. These are great tips, Shelbee. Life is an every demanding symphony of chaos, so I agree that it is very important to get away before we implode or explode. I love to take walks, especially in a nice park. I also allow myself a movie or a good book. Thanks for sharing your ideas. You look amazing and I love your shoes! – Amy

    • Amy, thank you so much for this lovely comment. Your very insightful words are inspiring as well. I just forced myself to walk the other day because I really thought I might implode if I didn’t get some fresh air…which is such a hard thing this time of year. I am so glad that you have found ways that work for you to avoid the crash! Have a fabulous week, my friend.


  9. Very nice with a lot of helpful tips. Believe it or not, blogging is a big thing I do keep from crashing mentally. It is something I can do without the pressures of the world or other people.

    • Patrick, thanks so much! And that makes sense that blogging provides you with a good mental respite! I love blogging and get so much joy from writing and interacting with you all that it very rarely stresses me out. I find it to be a great creative outlet and very relaxing as well. I hope you are having a wonderful week so far, my friend.


  10. Love the eloquent metaphor here and I agree about how inadvisable is to push oneself too far. I have learned that over the years, I am much better able to understand what my limits and boundaries are.
    As an aside, I love your look today with the strappy
    shoes and floral blouse. Have a wonderful week ahead!

    • Elle, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! It is amazing how much we learn about ourselves through the years. I have learned that my routine is sacred for keeping me mentally healthy. I take frequent breaks each and every day to make sure that I am maintaining a good sense of calm in my life. Because when I am calm and rested, I am so much more efficient and productive. I hope you are having a fabulous week, my friend.


  11. Ah, love these reminders! Naps and hot showers are my absolute favorite ways to recharge when I’m feeling worn down. Thank you for sharing!
    xx, Emily |

    • Emily, thank you so much for reading! I just took a super long, super hot shower last night with my favorite Pandora station on while my husband kept the kids entertained downstairs. And I have to say, it was a glorious 20 minutes! It is so important to take these few minutes every day to ourselves to refresh. I hope you are having a fabulous week so far!


  12. SO important!! Thank you for the reminder!

  13. Let me first say, your top and shoes are AMAZING. That tidbit aside: I love your tips. I frequently forget to rest my mind, and find that it actually takes WORK to not think, if that makes any sense. I should take more baths, more walks, and more drives!

    • Roxanne, thanks so much! It makes total sense that it takes work to rest your mind! I have a hard time shutting it down, too, which is why I implore these methods to turn it off for a bit! You definitely should take more time for yourself to unwind! I hope you are having a wonderful week so far.


  14. I love your adorable Mary Janes!

  15. Love this post Shelbee. When I taught at a private school down here, I was teaching Phys Ed to 40 kids ( me 1), Music, and Math, as well as teaching guitar to private students.. talk about stress! I am not doing that now, but I still find that my sleep is not solid.. i lay my head down to only think about everything under the sun. I need a quiet mind at night, so I do appreciate your ideas. Love your pretty blouse and those shoes! of course.
    Have a great week!
    jess xx

    • Jess, thank you for sharing your personal story here…and yes, you definitely need to find ways to quiet your mind especially before bed. I am finding that my sleep is so interrupted by bodily changes at this stage of life that I simply cannot allow it to also be interrupted by my mind racing…I would never sleep if that were the case. And finally, at 43, I understand the importance of sleep and cherish a good night’s rest more than anything these days! I hope you can try out some of my suggestions and hopefully find one that works for you!


  16. I know these feeling Shelbee, great tips. Beautiful photos, love your shoes 🙂 Thanks for linking up to Creative Mondays. Hope you can join me for The Wednesday blog hop today.

  17. Great advice! I’m been working on sustainability myself as the new year is now in full swing. I have to remind myself that it comes down to those little adjustments and giving myself the space to rest. Have a great week!

    • That is great attitude to take in the new year, Amanda! I do hope you are getting the rest you need so you can achieve all your goals and live your most fulfilled life. Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!


  18. I love this post! These are really good tips! Sometimes I feel like exercising or taking a walk to recharge the batteries and avoid unnecessary breakdowns. Everyone should pay attention to that and take some time for themselves every now and then.

    ~xo Sheree
    Posh Classy Mom

    • Thank you so much, Sheree! It is so true, sometimes we literally just have to halt ourselves in our tracks and take a break. I find myself doing that a lot lately. And now in the winter we don’t get out of the house much, so when there is a decent day of weather, I literally need to get out and breathe the fresh air. I am so glad you enjoyed the post and that you are taking the breaks you need to live a relaxed and productive life!


  19. I’m really trying hard this year to take more time out. I was near burn out by the end of last year. It’s so easy tho to get trapped into old habits tho. Great tips here, thank you lovely! x

    • Maria, I am so glad that you are making an extra effort to take time for yourself. Self care is so important for proper and efficient functioning especially for those of us who have a tendency to take on too much! Just keep reminding yourself to take those breaks. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely weekend.


  20. This is a great post and reminder for all of us. Meditating and walking are my two favorites for sure. It’s such a good release.

    • Sherry, thanks so much for stopping by. Walking is a huge one for me especially when I feel like I might implode! A good dose of fresh air and some movement always does me good. Or a nice long scalding hot shower! Have a wonderful weekend, my friend.


  21. I love your attitude and outlook Shelbee.
    You’re always so positive and an inspiration.
    Thank you so much for linking this up to #Fakeituntilyoumakeit.
    I’d love to see you again next time and hope you pop over and share your work on Sunday night (GMT)

    Have a fab week!

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