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.
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.