Town Talk Features

The Velvet Hammer: 10.23.19

Recently, I’ve been taking an inordinate amount of time to make decisions, and when I do make one, I’m never fully convinced that I’m making the right choice. How do I stop second-guessing myself?

For people like yourself who agonize over making decisions, you need to start thinking about the valuable cost of your time that could be better spent getting whatever you need to get done. A couple of thoughts: Try setting a time limit for your decisions. For instance, if you are thinking about making a career change, tell yourself, “I’m going to make a decision by a certain date.”

Another mistake people often make is overthinking their decisions after they are made. Regret and reflection are useful only if they teach us lessons that we can use in future decision-making, not when they are used to second-guess and undermine our ability to move forward. So, consider not focusing so much on the decision you’ve just made, but what you could do differently in the future.

Lately my stress at the office has spilled over into my personal life. Any do’s and don’ts to help me attain a better balance in dealing with this situation?

When stress at work creates drama at home, it’s usually because we are spending more hours on the job and less time at home. This can translate into a minefield for personal relationships with family and friends. It’s been said that this spillover is especially hazardous to relationships if you are both passionate about your job and obsessed with succeeding. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that might help bring you some balance and mental relief:


• Build a calming buffer between work and home by taking an exercise class or even a walk during lunch or before going home to help release the rigors of the day.

• Communicate with your partner on what you need to calm down.

• Listen respectfully when your partner needs to vent.

• Reframe your stress as a step toward a promotion or raise.


• Dump on your partner as soon as you walk through the door.

• Assume both you and your mate decompress the same way.

• Allow your personal time with your significant other to be consumed with complaints about work.

• Presume your spouse wants you to solve his/her problem or wants your advice.

Finally, think about changing your routine. For instance, switch up who picks up the kids at school or who makes dinner. Create mental space by finding a way to hit the reset button together with your spouse. Maybe take a meditation class right after work. This should leave both of you relaxed for time together later in the evening, leaving the stresses of the day where they belong—at the office.

Joan Lee Berkman is a marketing and public relations consultant. if you have a question for Joan, Email it to