What to Do When Your Life Is Overwhelming YouNone By Homaira Kabir
It's 6 a.m. and I'm still awake. Instead of feeling alive with the dawn of a new day, I feel like I'm already behind. There's so much to do, so little time...how will I ever get through it all?! I'm experiencing the same thoughts I had as I fell asleep, and they replayed themselves in various catastrophic forms all through the night. No wonder I feel like I barely slept.
I've woken up feeling this way for many weeks now. Some days, it means I procrastinate on what needs to get done because it all seems too overwhelming. Other days, it means I buckle up and get through my to-do list, battling on and eventually feeling burned out. I look for a better solution but come up blank. My mind feels numb. I fall back into bed and pull the covers over myself.
It was a good thing I did. The fact that I felt incapable of facing the day freed up the mental resources to stay in the present, process what had been going on, and plan the way forward. It helped me put things into perspective and take a longer-term view of life—something we don't get to do often enough, simply because the day-to-day always feels so urgent, so critical, and so much.
If life is overwhelming you now, or has the tendency to do so at various intervals, here's some advice that may safeguard your sanity and physical well-being.
Change Your Perspective on Time
There's no doubt that the pace of life has increased dramatically. Most of us simply cannot afford to sit back and listen to the birds chirp, or watch the clouds drift away. But many of us still spend an unreasonable amount of time hooked in to our devices that disconnect us from the wonders of the real world. Living in the moment changes our relationship with life, because as we begin to see with new eyes, time slows down and life begins to fall in place.
Lesson: Change the "I'm too busy" narrative.
Change Your Attitude Toward Stress
Psychologist Kelly McGonigal's research on stress shows that it's not always a bad thing. What makes it so is our attitude toward it. When I would wake up feeling there was too much to do, I would also subconsciously be telling myself that I won't be able to get through it all. But when I began to consciously tell myself that this was something I was excited about, I could welcome the discomfort and the adrenaline that came with it.
Lesson: See problems as projects.
Change Your Perception of Your Tasks
Unless you're super-disciplined, it's only natural to end up with tasks that are both important and not so important. So it's essential to