Big ugly deadlines are picking up speed as they tumble downhill. If you don’t get ahead of them in the next two days, they’re going to knock you right off your feet. The plates you’ve worked so hard to keep spinning will crash down on your head and bury you. Anxiety mounts. Family and friends fear they may never find you under the rubble.

You’ve snapped at your husband, barked at the kids and come within a hairs breath of hurling the hamster across the room. It’s 7:30 in the morning.

It feels like you’re on the carousel at the playground, but it’s spinning faster and faster and your sweaty palms keep losing their grip. You try to hold tighter, but it doesn’t stop. And you Just. Can’t. Get. Off.

These seemingly insignificant warning signs may mean you need just a teensy little break in your life.

A paltry few minutes to catch your breath.

You need a moment to decide whether pitching the ancient washer onto the front lawn is really the approach you want to take. Maybe it’s the ironing board—wrinkled clothes included—that needs to go.

In short, you need a break.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get off the carousel, regain your equilibrium and recharge your spirit. All of them take five minutes or less.

Go outside. Take a short walk and look, really look, at the trees and plants and creatures that inhabit your world. This was my view on the Silver River yesterday as we headed to the boat dock to wait for the students. On chilly mornings, steam rises off the water, giving it an incredible, other-worldly look.

Recharge Your Spirit

Misty Morning on the Silver River

Light a candle. Some scents energize. Others relax. Find a candle that makes you feel you can sink right into it and enjoy it for a few minutes.

Listen to music. Instrumental Jazz always relaxes me. It flows, it stirs, it gently eases my shoulders back down from up around my ears.

Call a friend. We all need “ledge friends” — people who can walk us off the edge, give us a hug and make us laugh.

Write it down. Sometimes, getting whatever it is out of our heads and down onto paper is enough to take the stress level down to manageable levels.

Give thanks. Offer a prayer of thanks for the many blessings in your life. Gratefulness renews our energy, our optimism and our faith.

Regain Your Equilibrium

Steam Rising from the Silver River

Those are my favorite quick recharge strategies. If you have a minute, I’d love to hear yours…