Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Getting Out of Bed May Start With Making a List

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am feeling overwhelmed. I have so much to do that it seems almost pointless to try to do anything. I am weighed down by piles of debt. My home is in disarray. My income is spotty, and my friends are tired of hearing me complain. Recently, I have taken to my bed. I just go to sleep in the middle of the day to shut it all out. I know this is not good. What can I do to turn myself around? -- Afraid, Racine, Mich.

DEAR AFRAID: Thank you for revealing your state. I'm sure it took a lot to state where you are right now. It can seem overwhelming when so much is standing in your way. Yet it is possible to get to a better place.

Start by making a list. You can write topics to organize your list. For example, one topic is bills, another is home, another is personal. Under each, write what needs to get done. Figure out tiny tasks that lead to fulfilling each goal. You can list each creditor you owe on a separate line. Then contact each one to say that you need extra time to pay your bills, and ask for mercy. In your home, list each room or area that needs your attention. Choose a day to work on one thing at a time. If you approach each task as one thing to do rather than the whole job to be done, you make your work more manageable.

By the way, taking a nap is OK. Schedule that, too. Just remember to schedule getting up, moving your body and completing at least one task on your list each day.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a crush on my college professor, and it is driving me crazy. He is so smart and cute, and I just want him to like me as more than his student. I know this probably sounds crazy, but whenever I see him, I can hardly contain myself. He is single, so I'm not trying to date a married man or anything. I am not trying to get him to give me a better grade either. We are both of consenting age. He hasn't let on that he likes me or anything, but school is almost out, and I want to let him know that I like him. As long as I don't take his class anymore, isn't it OK to date him? -- Teacher Crazy, Syracuse, N.Y.

DEAR TEACHER CRAZY: Take a deep breath and calm down. Your hormones have definitely kicked in. The good news is that your teacher is single. The not-so-good news is that you are sounding a bit out of control.

Here's what I recommend: Do nothing yet. Get your grade, and have your class finished completely. Do not reach out to him this summer. Live your life. Do whatever you were going to do during the summer. When you see your former professor in the fall, if you still have feelings for him, ask him if you can talk offline. You can tell him of your interest and see if it is mutual. Depending upon your school's dating policies, and his own, you may or may not be able to pursue this further. Be willing to accept what he suggests.