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The Sustainable Life

Strategies to Manage the Overwhelm of a Busy Life

Busy doesn’t have to be your way of life. Meet the demands of your life and your work with more calm, more joy, and less anxiety …

Whether you’re feeling exhausted, anxious, or trapped on an endless treadmill just trying to keep up, one thing’s for sure: The answer to experiencing more joy, calm, and peace in your life? It isn’t somehow finding more time.

The answer is in learning how to live and manage your life in a more sustainable way.

  • A way where you move through an over-the-top busy week or respond to a surprise work deadline or sudden family emergency with ease, confidence, and kindness, rather than panic, exhaustion, or blame.
  • A way where you can go to bed at night relaxed, knowing you did your best and can handle tomorrow, instead of worrying about all the things you didn’t accomplish and imagining how you’re falling short.
  • A way that’s more calm, capable, peaceful, and open to joy.

Are you ready to invest in yourself and this vision of calm and joy?** Join our e-course to explore how to move from self-blame and exhaustion to greater insight and practical strategies for a sustainable pace of life.

** If you feel too busy for this course, you’re exactly the person we want to reach! Read on for the details …

The E-Course:

In the 4 weekly modules, psychotherapist Linda Mackay and career counsellor Anne Carbert will guide an exploration of the glamorization of busy, the physiology of feeling overwhelmed, ways to challenge self-defeating beliefs, keys to conscious prioritizing, and the power of self-compassion.

You’ll finish the course with new insights and perspectives, clear strategies for responding to overwhelm, and a commitment to manageable and inspiring first steps for change.

Sign me up for more balance, calm, and joy!

So much to juggle ...

You’re not alone in feeling pulled in too many directions by multiples roles and responsibilities and by competing demands in life and work.

This course offers an opportunity to step back and refocus. Are there any helpful new perspectives? What’s most important in your life? How are you setting your priorities? What’s really going on when you’re feeling overwhelmed? You’ll get clearer on your answers to all these questions.

Never good enough ...

When you’re overwhelmed, it’s easy to feel like you’re not attentive enough to anything and failing at everything. That’s hard on the soul!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel like you’re enough? We’ll explore how to be more grounded, calm, and kind to yourself. You’ll build skills to respond to feelings of overwhelm in the moment – in ways that promote well-being while easing frustration and self-criticism.

Something's gotta give!

When you’re overwhelmed, life feels like a never-ending struggle to just keep up. That’s not sustainable in the long term.

It’s time to move from helplessness to action! Even small steps can make a big difference and will start to shift your experience, open your eyes to alternatives, and foster more hope and confidence for lasting change. A sustainable, healthy way of life is possible! This course will give you practical starting points as well as support for taking action.

Hop off the “running to keep up” treadmill and explore practical steps to more peace, calm, and gratitude.

Finish the summer with a fresh approach for September.

The course includes new modules every Friday for 4 weeks with:
– video presentations for each topic
– short reading materials
– reflection worksheets with suggestions for “fieldwork” actions
– resource links and lists
– an online Q&A discussion board
– access to all the materials on the course platform for 8 weeks

We have designed this course for approximately 60 minutes of engagement each week, in small blocks of time as works for you, or at your own pace over 8 weeks.

Bonus options with registration include:

Immediate access to a 40-minute video class on the topic of “Understanding Willpower and Change” with a motivation worksheet for you to set the stage for supported change and quiet those inner voices that say you’re not strong enough to do what’s good for you.
– Learn the science behind understanding our willpower “failures” as well as some approaches for building up reserves of willpower so it is easier for us to act on our best intentions.

Additional resources for ongoing learning and action at your own pace
– Receive an annotated list that compiles and describes all the resources suggested in the course, plus an additional guided meditation recording and two video book reviews introducing recommended resources. All downloadable to keep and review anytime.

“I became aware of many habits I have and found helpful suggestions on how to implement effective changes.” 
~ Sustainable Life E-Course Participant

From course feedback we’ve received, we’ve heard that the new perspectives in the e-course and the encouragement to take time for self-care, self-compassion, and more self-reflection all support participants to change how they respond to the multiple demands in their lives.

“Linda and Anne delivered an insightful and helpful Sustainable Life workshop to our IT department. Given the fast pace of our work and significant stress it can produce, their teachings promoted mindfulness and perspective. We gained an improved ability to become more centered and thoughtful throughout our workday.”
~ Sustainable Life Workshop Participant

Register today and rediscover the more focused and rewarding life you deserve.


Introduction – welcome and orientation to course format and platform, plus a Wellness Check-In reflection worksheet

This short introduction module sets the stage for the e-course and for strengthening your commitment to lasting change. The Wellness Check-In worksheet gets you started. It’s an exercise to increase self-awareness and gather “data” about your unique experience of overwhelm as well as your coping strategies for stress relief. With this reflection, you’ll be better able to measure your progress through the course and at the finish.


Why are we so overwhelmed? – a look at the larger context that influences our busy lives, as well as the physiological impact of overwhelm on our minds and bodies

You’re not failing when you feel you’re flailing! To some extent our culture of efficiency, self-reliance, and busyness are conspiring against you. We’ll discuss how you need a counter-culture mindset to better support your efforts at change. Also, your body reacts to your feelings of overwhelm and stress and if you can better understand those physiological reactions you’ll be better able to shift your experience to find more calm and focus.


Strategy #1 – challenging self-defeating beliefs

Examining thoughts and beliefs can provide new avenues to reduce anxiety and experience more calm and peace. Research shows that self-defeating beliefs are often the obstacle to values-based action, willingness to try something new, and ability to sustain lasting change. In this module, you’ll take some time with prompting questions to develop powerful new insights and self-awareness.


Strategy #2 – values alignment and conscious prioritizing

It’s so easy to run on automatic when we’re overwhelmed, but that robs life of enjoyment and satisfaction. In this module, we’ll explore strategies to move from reactive action and wishful thinking to values-based action and self-identified, satisfying priorities. You’ll reconnect with what’s most important in your life and work and then experiment with prioritizing so your days are more fulfilling.


Strategy #3 – the power of self-compassion

We are all well trained in shame, blame, and self-criticism! And research confirms that these are the very things that kill motivation and hold us back from positive change. In this final module, we encourage you to engage in some training for self-compassion. Self-compassion is truly motivating and a strong foundation for experiencing more calm and life satisfaction. Self-compassion techniques can be learned and we’ll show you how. This module includes an 8-minute audio meditation that you can download.

Your e-course facilitators:

LINDA MACKAY, Psychotherapist, M.S.W, R.S.W.

Linda is a Registered Social Worker and co-owner of The Space Within in Stratford. She worked at the University of Waterloo’s Counselling and Psychological Services for over 14 years, counselling students, staff and faculty. Her clinical focus is mood management: depression, anxiety and associated challenges using cognitive behavioural therapy, integrating mindfulness-based and yoga practices to help clients meet their goals.

ANNE CARBERT, Career Counsellor & Coach, LL.B., M.Ed.

Anne became a career counsellor over 10 years ago, after navigating her own career transition from human rights law to counselling. She works in private practice with clients from a wide variety of backgrounds and has a particular interest in the careers of artists, activists, and other “unconventional” types. She emphasizes meaning, creativity, and quality of life as the keys to craft a rich life and rewarding career.

Hop off the “running to keep up” treadmill and sign on for
practical steps to peace, calm, and gratitude.

Are you ready to shift from hopelessness and frustration to a new sense of possibility and action?

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Will this course just be one more thing on my to-do list that I won’t get to? Why should I sign up if I’m already too busy?

If you like the sound of this e-course but feel you’re too busy for it, you are exactly the person we want to reach!

If you feel you just can’t fit one more thing into your life you are likely over-extended and that’s not sustainable in the long-term. How much do you want to change that? Change takes commitment – even more than it takes a certain amount of time. If you can commit to exploring ways to manage your busy life, then we want to support you to do that.

What we’re offering is some structure, resources, and support to invest in this direction for a few weeks now, so that you can more sustainably support your activities and priorities in the longer term. Take a look at the video on this page for some tips for following through on your commitment to change as you engage with the course.

Q: Can I do this course at my own pace?

Yes. Within the 8-week window that the course materials will be available once you register, you’ll be able to sign in to the course platform any time of day or night that’s convenient for you. The 4 modules will roll out once a week for 4 weeks and then you have another 4 weeks of access. The worksheets for each module and the resource reference pages are downloadable. If you have questions, you can easily message us any time right from the module pages in the course platform.

Q: How much time will I need to review the modules, watch the videos, and do the reflection exercises?

We’ve designed the course to be about 60 minutes of engagement for each module with a new module arriving once a week for 4 weeks. You might find that time in 30 minutes one day and 15 minutes another two days. You have access to the modules for 8 weeks, so 30 minutes per week would also get you through the material.

Q: I already know some things about the topics covered in the modules and I have tried some similar techniques. What will I get out of this course that’s new?

We hope that some pieces will be new, but if you are familiar with all of the topics, techniques, and practices we cover in the 4 modules, there will be at least two new aspects for you: (1) Our personal take on the topics with examples, suggestions, worksheet exercises, and recommended further resources; (2) Structure and support for followthrough and experimentation.

The modules include bite-sized weekly actions and we hope that with structure and support through the course you’ll be able to put some ideas into practice in new ways or with more satisfying results than you might have experienced in the past.

Also, the topics we cover are keys to artful living that definitely benefit from review now and then! You might discover more insights this time or find that the ideas and suggested actions resonate with your current circumstances more than they did past circumstances or challenges.

Q: I have other questions that aren’t answered here, how do I get in touch?

We’re happy to answer all your questions! Please send an e-mail to

Busy doesn’t have to be your way of life!
Join the e-course and give yourself the gift of a more sustainable life.