When Life Feels Overwhelming

I can only describe it like this: You haven’t learned how to swim yet but suddenly you find yourself in the deepest part of the ocean with no life jacket and no one to call for help.

It’s overwhelming.

I think in some ways we’ve all been there. We feel like there are not enough hours in the day. We want time to slow down but we also want it to stop. But time doesn’t stop, which makes it feel like we’re racing through life with no clue what we’re doing and where we’re going.

It comes down to the concept that we’re running out of time. We trick ourselves into believing that everything should be happening RIGHT NOW. And when life doesn’t work out the way it should it makes us feel like failures – that’s when the feeling of overwhelmingness hits us.

It’s a feeling that I experience more than I should. Maybe it’s because I’m impatient, or maybe it just seems like everyone else is always two steps ahead. Either way, there’s always something occupying my mind. I worry about work and meeting deadlines, I worry about my weight, I worry about the future, I worry about making plans, and most of all I worry about things that I have no control over.

I want to hide away from everything and lie on my bed staring up at the ceiling and think about nothing at all.

I’ve found that whenever I feel overwhelmed it’s because I’ve been neglecting my own needs. And believe me, it’s so easy to forget about the little things but those little things make me the happiest. Discovering and reading new books is something that makes me so happy, and it helps to take my mind off my problems. Unfortunately, I can’t read all day every day (if that was my job, you’d never hear me complain) but if I can set aside even half an hour it makes all the difference. Another thing that always helps me is to write. It sounds counter-intuitive as sometimes writing is the reason I feel stressed, but other times writing is healing. It puts things into perspective. It’s easier to understand why you’re feeling so overwhelmed when you have the reasons staring back at you.

Sometimes, abandoning whatever you’re supposed to be doing is the best solution. It’s not giving up, it’s making some much-needed time for yourself. A few days ago I started writing a piece on managing anxiety but I couldn’t finish it. At the time I felt so overwhelmed with life that I couldn’t write anything positive and anything I did write felt forced. I know that if I’m not in the right mindset, I’m not going to be happy with anything I write. So I went for a walk and I didn’t think about work, deadlines, or anything that was making me feel stressed; I focussed on the good things. I thought about plans that I have coming up that I’m looking forward to. After about an hour, I was back working and getting things done.

Life is fast. Life is urgent. But life is meant to be enjoyed. Let go of what you have no control over and embrace what comes naturally.

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Why You Shouldn’t Have A Life Plan

I don’t have a life plan. And neither should you. Are they helpful? Maybe. Are they necessary? Absolutely not.

Some people plan their lives down to the tiniest details. At the age of 23, they want to start travelling the world. By the age of 30, they want to get married and have two kids. At 63, they want to sit down with the grandchildren telling exciting stories of their adventures.

When I was much younger I used to think about my future. Like most kids, I naively couldn’t wait to be an adult. I couldn’t wait for my 18th birthday as that meant I could go to the pub with my friends, fall in love, learn how to drive, move into a one bedroom flat, and do some travelling. I’m 19 and I’ve achieved only one of those ambitions; can you guess which one?

The truth is I’m not even close to achieving these goals I set for myself. I’m still living at home, I’m single, I don’t plan on learning how to drive, I have no intentions of moving out anytime soon and my anxiety makes it difficult for me to travel. However, I don’t expect my life to revolve around the dreams of my younger self.

One of the best things about life is being spontaneous and making our own choices. If we lived by a book of rules, we would feel restricted and our lives would be unfulfilling. Not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes we have to switch paths. Sometimes we take risks that ultimately don’t pay off. Yet we are still learning. These experiences, whether good or bad, will teach us so much.

I don’t have a clue what I’m doing with my life. 

Honestly, I expected my life to be different. I had high hopes when I was younger, but when I look at what I have achieved in my 19 years of existence, it is dismal. What did I expect? I’m still young and I have a lifetime to find what it is I’m looking for. But it won’t be easy.

You can’t achieve your goals by wishing for it, you have to do it. And believe me, it’s easier said than done. But if you do nothing, your entire lifetime will be a stretch of emptiness. It’s better to fail at something than live with the regret of never trying.

There’s so much to be thankful for. 

I’m not where I want to be but at least there are other aspects of my life that I’m content with. First things first, I have a job that I love. Well, you could say it’s a love-hate relationship. The friends I have are incredible, honestly, I don’t know what I would do without them. I have a place to live and all of the necessities that some people are not fortunate to have. I know that doesn’t translate to happiness, but it’s something I’m really grateful for.

You don’t have to have it all figured out.

Let’s just imagine for a moment that you did have your entire life planned out. Would it provide you with a sense of excitement? Or would it cause you immense pressure and anxiety? The best ambitions to have are the simplest ones. To be happy and healthy and to be living. That’s what you should strive for.

Take a look at your life and realise that you are OK. You’re doing brilliantly and the most important thing is that you are doing your very best. That’s what counts. It’s not about where you are going to be in five years time. It’s not even about where you will be next year. It’s about where you are right now.

7 Things You’ve Probably Discovered Since Becoming An Adult

OK, being an adult has it’s advantages like staying up into the early hours of the morning (except we were all doing that at the age of 8) and spending our OWN money on things that we don’t even need. In more ways than one, it can be both an exciting and scary experience.

Here are 7 things that you have most likely realised about adulthood.

1. You can relate to Squidward

1. You can relate to Squidward

Via Instagram

You’re regularly moaning about your job, life and your ‘obvious talent’ which no one seems to recognise. Sometimes you feel under-appreciated and easily irritated by the people around you. Sorry to tell you, but you are now Squidward. Embrace it.

2. You prefer the company of animals to humans

2. You prefer the company of animals to humans

He doesn’t judge you, he doesn’t talk behind your back, he doesn’t wee on your lap (oh wait…). He is otherwise known as your best friend who you can always rely on. Humans? Who needs humans?

3. You look forward to sleeping

3. You look forward to sleeping

photo credit: Mother-Child / Via PhotoPin

Throughout the whole day you’ll be thinking about how much you’re looking forward to getting back into bed. You’ll even settle for a 10 minute nap. Yep, this is what being an adult does to you.

4. Your money disappears

4. Your money disappears

photo credit: Empty Wallet / Via PhotoPin

Wait a minute, where did that £50 go? You only bought a train ticket, lunch and a new shirt…

But remember when you were a kid and £50 seemed like winning the lottery? Well money just doesn’t go a long way anymore.

5. You rely on your phone way too much

5. You rely on your phone way too much

photo credit: Homescreen / Via PhotoPin

Most of the time, your phone is either in your hand or in your pocket. I mean you don’t want to miss anything, do you? And it’s pretty useful. If you want to find a recipe, quickly Google it. If you want to find out how many teeth snails have, well you can go ahead and Google it. Life saver.

6. You’re not sure what’s worse: a hangover or death

6. You're not sure what's worse: a hangover or death

photo credit: Decorative Functionality / Via PhotoPin

You’re never drinking again. And you mean it this time. It’s not worth it. But didn’t you say that last Friday? No, it’s worse this time. You think you’re going to die. And then something even worse happens – you remember everything you did and said last night. Oh the shame. And you’re never ever drinking again… right?

7. You binge watch TV shows

7. You binge watch TV shows

photo credit: 7e0_1032952-tuna / Via PhotoPin

One more episode. You can fit one more in. It’s only 11 pm and it’s not like you’ve spent your whole Sunday watching an entire series of your new favourite TV show. You haven’t even had a shower, have you? But hey, at least you’ve accomplished something. You now know who “A” is.