Overcoming being overwhelmed with a chore bucket

After my last broadcast we got a comment from someone who is stuck in a one room apartment. “I’m overwhelmed, and I can’t get started doing anything to take my mind off being scared. There’s nothing to do!!”

Fear is based in lack of control. To have some control, few things are better than a list. When you’re overwhelmed or depressed, it’s hard to get up even the energy to make a list. One of the most proven ways to set yourself up for following through is to set a time, then mentally lay out concrete parts of the task that are easier to follow through with. For example: set an alarm on your phone. When this alarm goes off, I will sit at this desk. I will make myself this drink. I will have these three pens of different colors ready. I will take three deep breaths. I will then write a list of things to do. Visualize sitting with your beverage of choice and pens, take those breaths, and ROLL!

When it comes to actually doing things on a list, there can be difficulty starting when you’re overwhelmed as well. In our family, we’d overcome this by writing the items on the list, putting them into the “chore bucket”, and adding a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of tasks to BONUS items. For example…


Chore Bucket


Create a good smell
(spray perfume, bake something, light a candle, open an orange)

Do 2 minutes of stretching

Call 1 person to make them happy (relative? neighbor?)

Create something (art for the fridge? lyrics to a song?)

Dance to your favorite groove
(I am a huge fan of “Take On Me” as performed by Reel Big Fish )

Do 2 minutes of diaphragmatic “bubble breathing”

Clean off one cluttered surface

Ask for help on an intimidating chore

Read 30 minutes of the book

Call 1 person you miss seeing in person

Plank for as long as you can and record your time

Make a special beverage
(Hot cocoa, tea, lemonade)

Pick 10 items of clothing to give away

Throw away 5 pieces of trash from around the house


Draw a slip of paper from a bucket, and go to town! 

    Back to Blog

    Related Articles

    Power Over Pain: Migraines - Pain Care Labs

    One of the hard parts of determining what works for migraines is that the same pain can be brought...

    Power Over Pain: Home Care Management - Pain Care Labs

    Julius Caesar said “it is easier to find men who will volunteer to die than endure pain with...

    Power Over Pain: Shoulder & Neck Pain? Free PT! BYOC for community pools? Hamsters Wearing Masks? - Pain Care Labs