Sometimes All the Things just pile up at once, and you feel like you’re in a constant state of running yourself ragged. Suddenly, you’re feeling very Bilbo Baggins-y, like butter spread over too much bread, and you’re haunted by one of your favorite Ron Swanson inspirational quotes:
But the scariest part of it all is that you can’t see a way to chop things out of your life so you can whole ass one thing. Sure, maybe you’re working towards a day when you can clear things off your plate, but for now you have to work as hard as you are. Maybe it’s working to pay the bills, maybe it’s hustling to make your dreams come true, maybe it’s just that stuff has all piled up and the only way through the pile is to plow through it, or maybe it’s something else entirely. The fact is, when people see you’re overwhelmed and tell you to just “start saying no”, sometimes you get to that horrifying place where you realize that you can maybe say no to additional projects, but for whatever reason, you can’t say no to anything you’re currently working on. You’re crazy busy, tired, spread thin, and exhausted, and that’s just how it has to be right now–and maybe even the foreseeable future. Slowly, you begin to resign yourself to your new normal.
I get it, I do. I’m right in the middle of one of those times of my life, too. For me, it’s a mix of needing to pay bills and realizing that if I want to achieve my goals in writing and editing, I’ve got to up my hustle, so I work. A lot. I don’t always feel like I’m doing a good job, and sometimes I don’t feel like I’m just half-assing stuff, I feel like I’m straight-up failing.
So how do you deal when you can’t take stuff off your plate? How can you retain some sanity when you’re just going through an insane period of life?
Make Some Hard Choices With Your Schedule
When you’re spread this thin, you’ve got to be incredibly picky about what you take on. You’ve literally no time to lose. Like I said before, I get it that sometimes you’re feeling overbooked but you also can’t knock anything from your schedule. However, sometimes for survival’s sake, you need to strike things from your calendar. Whether it’s saying no to upcoming opportunities, or canceling a few things from your month, sometimes making yourself really prioritize and make some cuts to your schedule can help free up some time and sanity.
Schedule a Time To Do Absolutely Nothing
When you’re this busy, you’ve got to work in time to relax like any other appointment. Maybe you can’t go to bed at six like you’d prefer (maybe that’s just me), but even if you feel like you just don’t have a free hour (or even a free half-hour) you can work in a fifteen minute catnap or some other short break where you allow yourself to turn off your brain for a bit. Schedule it into your day so you can keep control of your time, but making sure to work at least one break into your day will help keep you mildly sane.
So maybe…avoid the night cheese. But when you’re in a time where you have to push your body this intensely, you’ve got to do everything you can to keep yourself healthy. Of course trying your best to get a good night’s sleep is incredibly important, but it’s also not always possible. So do what you can to keep yourself healthy, and make sure you’re eating healthfully.
Go Easy On Yourself
When you’re pushing yourself this hard, whatever the reason may be, you’re not always going to be perfect. You’re going to make mistakes, and you’re not always going to feel like you’re doing a great job at life in general. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Making enough money to pay bills, chasing a dream, starting your own business, finishing school without drowning in student loan debt, and all of those other challenges most of our generation faces is hard work and a steep learning curve. Just try to remember when you feel like you’re sucking at life or after you’ve made a mistake that you’re working to achieve a huge goal. That’s hard, and you can only give so much. If you’ve got to pull a Dane Cook and cry while looking in the mirror repeating “I did my best,” that’s okay too.
Ask For Help
One of the things that always surprises me when I’m coming out of a tough time (tough for whatever reason) is how many people had no idea I needed help, and are a bit annoyed that I didn’t reach out to them when I needed someone. Whether you need to vent, need someone to actually get in the trenches and help you fix something, you need advice, or anything else, reach out to the people in your life! They can support you, help get you out of the hole, help lighten the load, or maybe help you see a solution you wouldn’t have seen yourself. That’s what friends are for, right?
The Ten Second Rule
Of course, some times when you’re in a crazy part of life where you’re having to really scrape and push to achieve your goals, it can feel like there isn’t any way to make life more manageable. In those cases, channel your inner Kimmy Schmidt and remember that you can handle ten seconds of anything. Seriously. If you’re feeling crazy overwhelmed and the idea of taking it a day at a time is still too much, just take it in small bites. Whether you’re working through your to-do list or turning the Mystery Crank, you can do anything for ten seconds.
Have you ever gone through a time where you felt like you were spread too thin that you were completely exhausted or generally sucking at everything? How did you deal? What didn’t work for you? Let me know in the comments!