We all have days that feel hopeless.

Whether it’s the piles of laundry that demand to be folded, or the mountains of work errands you hear calling your name, there are daily duties that seem to completely exhaust us. Starting the day feeling this way can have lingering effects on productivity and mood throughout the day—even the week.

As many of us are working from home, we don’t get the mental break that we used to, and it is fairly apparent. Even a 20 minute drive to and from work sounds like a dream.. The house is a mess, the computer desk is piling up with notebooks, papers, and important little chicken scratch notes that only you can piece together. The dishes have piled up and the floors need mopping. Where do you even begin? How do you take back your power on days like this… When everything feels against you?

You start.

Start by understanding that life is so different right now. It won’t always feel so big and overwhelming. You’re doing the best you can on a day-to-day basis.

Start by giving yourself some grace. Anyone would feel overwhelmed if they stepped in your shoes. You’re doing the best you can with all you have going on mentally, physically, emotionally…in every way.

Start by doing one small thing that makes your day easier. You could make your bed, wash your coffee cup after you use it, or maybe just clean that smudge on the mirror that’s been bothering you for weeks. One small victory can set the pace for bigger wins. It’s okay to start small, and work up to folding that enormous laundry pile.

Start by smiling. Look out the window and find something that brings you a little piece of joy, even for a second. Smiling leads to more smiling and eventually, your mood will lighten.

Start by taking a break. Your work can wait until you finish your bagel. Maybe even take a short walk to clear your mind.

Start by taking time for you. One small thing can help you take back your power if you just start. Wash your hair (even if you take a 3 minute shower… do what you can!), light a candle, or step outside and take a few deep breaths.

Life is a lot some days, but you can overcome what seems impossible. You made it this far, and navigating this pandemic looks different for each of us. Your victories will look different to others, and so will mine— this doesn’t define our success or happiness, that’s something only we can define for ourselves…

But we won’t get anywhere unless we start.