04/10/2014 12:25 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2014

What to Do When Everything Feels Like an Emergency

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On a typical day, are you flooded with hundreds of emails in your inbox? Does your ever-growing to-do list feel impossible to chip away at? Do you still have dozens of people you need to speak to by the end of the day to complete a project that was due yesterday?

No doubt, you head out to work everyday to give it your all. You believe in the importance of what you do, and you want to make a difference. So, you do your best and treat every one of your requests with the highest importance.

But on some days, making an impact feels... hard. Instead of making an impact, the impact is making you. Soon enough, giving your all feels like you are putting your nose to the grindstone, and you're left feeling unappreciated, unrecognized and unfulfilled. This all leads to the estranged feeling that you are no longer in control of your life -- or what's left of it at the end of the day.

This reminds me of something someone once told me, "When everything is urgent, nothing is."

When you feel like you are putting fires out every hour, having one thing that you have control over helps hit the reset button. Here are some to-do tips so you can make the impact you want while feeling like you're on top of it all!

1. Consciously put food into your body
For me, that means putting a homemade, Ethiopian lentil stew or Spanish rice and refried beans with lots of Kerrygold butter on the stove. Making meals that nourish me and sharing them with people I love helps me tune into life. When I eat food I make, I also tend to savor it more. While I enjoy eating out once in a while, there's something calming about making something for myself; it gives me a sense of control over what I put into my body. Even if it's something as simple as putting together a sandwich, at least I know what's in it! I enjoy the cooking process, and after enjoying the fruits of my labor, I have the energy I need to nourish the world.

For you, if making food feels like a chore, focus on chewing your food mindfully before you swallow, and consciously try not to inhale or skip your meals. You'll find that you'll have less digestive issues afterwards, which will also give you more energy to do your best throughout the day!

2. Return to your spiritual practice
When you constantly respond to other's requests, it may leave you feeling depleted because you have no energy left to give yourself. All you want to do is eat dinner and crash in bed.

It doesn't matter if you have the decent job that pays well, that loving significant other by your side or that awesome apartment that you've had your eye on for a while; you may still feel disconnected with what's happening and experience that inescapable feeling like you're catching up in -- rather than fully living -- your life. An empty you is not an inspired you.

For me, an hour of yoga helps me reconnect with myself and where I am at that moment -- a reminder that there is an all-accepting space within me that I have access to whenever and wherever I go.

And if doing yoga sounds like, if you will, a stretch, you can always just take one long, deep breath... or 10... or mindfully walk on your way to the subway. You are in charge of your breathing, always.

3. Incorporate movement into your life
Just last Saturday, I attended a Shrink Session workout run by my friend Elyse Sparkes, who happens to be an award-winning professional swing dancer. Imagine a room full of dozens of sweaty women and two guys chanting, "I release my doubts so that I can bring in the new!" while physically pushing away negative energy from their hearts. Yeah, I was there and it felt good!

Moving my body reminded me that I have control over my bod,y and that I am capable of feeling revitalized and energized. Even something as simple as stretching for two minutes first thing in the morning when you get out of bed can help you feel present in your own body before you respond to the demands of the day.

Through conscious eating, returning to your spiritual practice and having a healthy dose of movement, you'll feel that you're in charge of your life and less prone to feeling swept away by the tasks of the day -- and you'll feel more ready to give the world your all! Because, if you don't have these life moments to yourself, no matter what impact you make, what do you have for yourself in the end?

Now I'd like to hear from you! What's one thing you do to feel like you're in control?

Catherine Chen, Ph.D., is a speaker and Health Coach who believes that you are important, no matter what you achieve. She works with high-octane professionals to have way more fun and balance while being great on the job. If you enjoyed this article, sign up for tips to find your personal awesome at