Without going into all the details, I need to tell you guys that I am stretched awfully thin these days. The kind of stretched thin where even making a to-do list is overwhelming, where the laundry piles up for what feels like years, and the idea of new things on the calendar — even invites to do something fun — feels exhausting.
That said, I scrapped my half-assed drafted post for today and decided to do what I do best: write it out.
I need the guidance I’m giving today.
It’s easy to spiral into an anxious mess when your life is overscheduled or emotionally messy. It’s easy to give up, do the bare minimum, and wait it out. I have done this. I did this Sunday night.
But schlepping through the tough stuff is what life is about. When I follow the rules outlined below, life is better. My problems don’t go away, but they don’t feel so big.
Note to those of you who are worried: Life is busy and stressful, but everyone and everything is just fine.
1. Stick to your schedule.
When I am overwhelmed, the first things to go out the window are often the things I need the most. I’ll rush off to work without my allergy medicine, or my coffee, or a lunch. Or maybe all three if I’m really on a roll.
That means I’ll have a sore throat, a raging caffeine-withdrawal headache, and I’ll spend $10-15 on a salad in the cafeteria.
If I take less than ten minutes in the evening to pack a lunch and set the coffee to brew, I save myself a world of hurt the next day. I don’t do this evening prep all the time, but try to prioritize it when I know I could use the help come morning.
Exercise is easy to blow off for another hour of sleep. And sometimes this is what my body needs. But, mostly, blowing off exercise is just lazy. I never, ever regret a workout, but I almost always regret skipping one. Just like Elle Woods taught us, exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy.
3. Indulge mindfully.
I am guilty of emotional overeating. Big time. I also know that, for me, eating some sugar easily snowballs into more and more sugar. Example: I got a DQ Blizzard Sunday afternoon, and then felt the need to eat chocolate-covered cherries that evening. Two desserts in one day does not a mindful indulgence make.
BUT, having a glass of wine after a stressful day? Mindful indulgence. Going to my favorite donut shop and buying one, perfect, amazing donut? Mindful indulgence.
I know that this one looks different to everyone. Those are examples that work for me. If I overindulge, I feel terrible for literally days. Small treats work better for me.
4. Keep social dates.
When I have spent the whole day go, go, go-ing, the only thing I am interested in doing is reading in bed or watching too many episodes of Law and Order: SVU. I have skipped parties, group dinners, and more to do these solitary activities.
But meeting a girlfriend for a happy hour or an exercise class? Going to that house party (even if I just stop by for an hour)? Usually a good idea. Connecting with my people helps life slow down for just a bit, which makes all the hard stuff feel easier.
Which brings me to…
5. Talk it out.
TALK ABOUT IT. I have amazing family and friends who are always down to lend an ear when I need it. Venting feels good, and it is so necessary sometimes. Go on a walk with your buddy, talk loudly and with your hands. You’ll feel better.
And here’s the big secret: sometimes listing all my problems out loud makes me realize that it’s not so bad.
My problems are small, and my life is full.
Deep breath. Back to work.
What are your strategies when you’re feeling overwhelmed? I could use all the tips I can get!