Friday, September 28, 2012

Life Lessons—Breathe In….Breathe Out

by Reba J. Hoffman

Watch your stress level
I was fortunate to meet some of you at last week’s ACFW conference in Dallas. What a grand time we had. Whether you attended that conference or not, this seems to be a time of year when writers’ stress level increases.

You have edits, or what’s worse, nothing to edit when others are buzzing with red pen syndrome. Children are back in school activities and volunteered you to be the team driver. Your spouse thought it would be a great idea to invite their boss to dinner. So what if you didn’t get the memo.

There are some things you can do right now to help you survive and thrive during this very busy season. Here are just a few. I could list more but I don’t want to overwhelm you.  
  • Breathe in… breath out. Seriously. Yes, I mean now. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Consciously doing nothing except breathing in and out will give you a vacation from the chaos. It will also increase the blood flow to your brain.
Write it out
  • Make a list. It is empowering to have the things you need to accomplish right in front of you. As you complete them and check them off your list, it energizes you and helps you tackle the next project on your list.
  • Write it out. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or tugged in so many directions you feel you need a name change to Mr. Gumby, sit down and write how you’re feeling. Not only could you uncover a hidden roadblock, but you’ll get those emotions out. No mulligrub stew for you.
  • Turn in your cape. You’re not superman, no matter what you or the world expect of you. You’re mere moral and can only do so much and it doesn’t include leaping tall buildings with a single bound. So, turn in your cape and give yourself permission to just do your best… whatever that is today. 

It won’t all get done. It wasn’t meant to. Life isn’t like that. You weren’t designed to be all things for all people and you aren’t expected to do everything. So cut yourself some slack. Breathe in… Breathe out. Relax. It’s all good.

Are you overwhelmed today? What’s got you that way? Share it here.

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.


  1. Thanks, Reba, for the reminder that we can turn in our superhero cape!

  2. I'm bummed, I like my superhero cape! Just kidding, what a relief to have permission to lay it aside. Blessings, E

  3. I just made a list last night to determine, with the wise counsel of my husband, what my priorities are and how much time to spend on each during the week. I'm breathing better already! Now if I can just follow it....

  4. I moved recently from Houston to far west Texas What a change, in every way. I've been beating myself up because I can't seem to focus and hold to the work schedule I had before I moved. Thanks so much for the permission to relax and take off the cape! I need to allow myself to settle in and to spend extra time with God.

  5. Thanks so much for a great post. Everything you said helped. Thanks again and God bless you.

    Glenda Parker

  6. Turn in your cape. I love that one. I sat down and wrote the other night when I was stressed--it worked!

  7. No! Not my Cape! The world won't survive!! My family won't survive...

    I've decided when I'm really stressed and don't feel like writing, I'll sit down, set my timer and write for 15 minutes. I figure I can do that. I find that not only do I get calmer, I write much longer. Thanks, Reba. It was so good to see you last week, sheriff.

  8. My overwhelm is due to trying to keep up with social media, too much volunteer work, AND my writing. Need to cut back on activities and focus on the writing--especially now that I signed up for NaNoWriMo.