I don’t know about you, but life can get a little overwhelming at times.
There’s so much going on, and always so much pressure coming in from all angles. If I’m being honest, though, most of the pressure comes from myself:
What am I doing?
What have I done?
What will I do?
Am I good enough?
Everyone else seems so sorted. What’s wrong with me?
This is not where I thought I would be at 30.
Do I have enough money?
How will I pay for the children I dont have yet to go to school in 10 years?
Am I happy?
Am I successful?
Where do I want to live?
Must do better.
These are the thoughts that run through my head (and, apparently, my friend’s heads), and they can totally overwhelm you if you let them. After all, when life gets on top of you, it’s so easy to forget to schedule in some much needed “me-time”.
Last year was so overwhelming for me. I wrote and styled my first book, continued to run my catering company, launched Nana Nice Cream into a nationwide supermarket, hired (and fired) my first employee, got my first dog, came down with pneumonia, had building works done to my house, moved in with my mum and step dad during the building works, got bullied by some horrible neighbours over a party wall, got together with my boyfriend, fought and won a trademark battle over Nana Nice Cream, hosted a 6 week pop-up on the King’s Road for Nana Nice Cream, took Nana Nice Cream to Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival, went to 6 weddings, continued to write my blog, and tried very hard to still be a good friend, and spend time with friends and family.
I feel overwhelmed just thinking about last year.
It was a lot.
The only way I think I got through it was to be a little selfish and to make decisions based on what was good for me. I think some of my friends thought I was being a bit anti-social when I would decide that I couldn’t face another party, and instead would opt for a long hot bath, a movie and an early night.
But my true friends understood what I was going through, and at the end of the day, you’ve got to do what makes you happy, what is right for you, and that means showing yourself some love. Sometimes this means not going to the party, or cancelling plans to just do what feels kind to yourself in that moment. I didn’t have any time off for a year, and that was stupid. However passionate you are about work, you can’t work all hours of the day 7 days a week, and still expect to be a functioning human.
That’s not to say you can only be overwhelmed when you’ve got a lot on your plate. It can creep up at any time. Perhaps you’re only juggling a few things, but they are really stressful, or you’re dealing with some people who are rather unpleasant. You might have thought you could do more than is actually physically possible, and you’re worried you might let someone down. Or maybe you’re overwhelmed thinking about what you’re going to do with your life, or who you’re going to spend it with. All of these things can be overwhelming.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I normally cry. Before the tears come, they might bubble away for a few days and I think I’ve got it, but I’m riding the wave, vaguely aware that I’m just barely holding it together. But it’s manageable, and I’m coping. Then one more email will come in, or someone asks for more than I can do and then the tears come. It could be something as tiny as someone commenting on the way I’ve wrongly tied my shoelaces, or that I have a stain on my top. I always ring my mum and she always makes me feel better.
Her advice is always and has always been to just to take a deep breath and make a list. Break things down into bitesized pieces and forget about the big picture for a bit, and just focus on the list, one task at a time. And of course, mums are always right, and this always helps.
I find lists very comforting. I like lists so much that I often write lists that include lots of things I’ve already done, just so I can revel in the satisfaction of being able to cross them off. I have a notebook solely for this purpose, and I’m never without it.
Sometimes I write to-do lists, or shopping lists or lists of dreams, ambitions or places I want to visit. Here is a list(!) of the top 10 lists to make when you’re feeling overwhelmed:
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, first of all, please don’t worry. It can happen to us all!
It could help to talk to someone so never suffer in silence. By all means cry, but don’t allow yourself to wallow as it wont help in the long run. Then, take a deep breath, write a list and get back to taking over the world in your own way. You’ve got this!