get (one's) head above water

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get (one's) head above water

1. Literally, to hold one's head out of the water as to avoid drowning. This lifejacket will help Sally to get her head above water in the pool.
2. By extension, to (barely) avoid being consumed by a stressful or unpleasant situation (often related to work or finance). I can't seem to get my head above water without using credit cards.
See also: above, get, head, water

get one's head above water and have one's head above water

 
1. Lit. to get one's head above the surface of the water while swimming. (See also keep one's head above water.) He finally got his head above water and was able to get a good breath.
2. Fig. to manage to get oneself caught up with one's work or responsibilities. I can't seem to get my head above water. Work just keeps piling up. I'll be glad when I have my head above water.
See also: above, and, get, have, head, water