When the day to day becomes like a tidal wave threatening to pull us under whether we’ve grabbed that life-sustaining breath of air or not, how do you cope? This happens to all of us sooner or later, and life engulfs even the most aware among us.
Recently, loads of technology changes, health concerns, and seasonal stress combined with financial insecurities, and an over-committed schedule and led to a personal shutdown. My list of goals grew longer every day while my accomplishments seemed to shrink. I wanted to be “on” for the people I was meeting for the first time and the weather often did not co-operate. The pressure seemed to come from all angles, and this merry (?) go round seemed endless. One person stated, “It just never ends.”
We can talk with others. It’s a well-known strategy that sharing from the heart with people we trust, lightens our burden. They may see things hidden from us. Sometimes we’ll gain insights just by speaking aloud. I’ve said things that troubled me and then laughed because they suddenly sounded ridiculous in my ears. If the thought of going out is too much, have them come to you. Make a pot of tea and rejoice that you have good friends.
How do you cope with overwhelming responsibilities?
Sometimes my plans blow up because I’m genuinely needed by someone outside the home. This may mean that certain things don’t get done: dinners may not get made, it may delay the laundry and my floor may go unswept for weeks.
We can delegate. I have to admit to myself that I’m not superwoman and that I can’t do it all myself. I live with other people and if I ask kindly, they’re usually happy to chip in and help. It means swallowing my pride (remembering they’re not mind-readers) learning to delegate and keeping my mouth shut when things aren’t done my way. I’m grateful someone can help.
How do you handle “too much?”
Some seasons of life are rough. As creatures of habit, we don’t like unexpected things encroaching on our peace and well-being. The longer it lasts the more we feel the disruption rippling into other areas of our lives. Other times, we may have two or three concerns that we don’t feel up to dealing with. We put them off causing stress and other backups and delays. They could be predictable concerns, like getting your driver’s license renewed, or filling out your tax forms or writing that blog post you’ve been putting off for
days weeks. Once you get that one thing out of the way, it’s amazing how the others don’t seem as pressing, or as loud… or as hard to accomplish.
We can write. You may have heard that writing is cheap therapy. Everything that’s on my mind goes on paper. If you’ve never tried this, it’s incredibly cathartic. No judgment, just get it out (write honestly, no one has to see it, ever.) When I see how small the words are the “problems” seem to shrink too. After I write all the many concerns vying for my attention, I’m often pretty surprised at how short the list is. Maybe you need to re-prioritize. Maybe some things in your life need to stop. Or start. Or change.
Reward good behavior. If a task is particularly challenging, I sweeten the pot with an enticement. A reward worthy of the endeavor. Taxes are a perfect example. The afterglow of completing that task can sometimes be worth it on its own (unless you’re paying.) Regardless, I promise myself a well-deserved lunch at my favorite restaurant when the paperwork is filed. Other ideas for rewards are a specialty coffee drink, a concert or music CD, an afternoon movie with the works. The idea is to move past the obstacle overwhelming you and look forward to the reward.
How do you deal with overwhelming disappointment?
Have you made room for something in your life and then it fell through? Or you didn’t make room for a thing you didn’t think would come—and it happened anyway?
This sometimes happens in the freelance world with clients, work or projects. The people you most want to work with are not always the ones who become clients, or the project that seemed perfect for you went to someone else or gets shelved until further notice.
Someone may give us a diagnosis we didn’t expect or a medical report that changed everything.
We can trust that better days are ahead. If you’re a person of faith, you may choose to believe in Yehovah, or a power greater than yourself. Despite outcomes and the way it looks at the moment, it’s comforting to trust that the Being who placed all the stars in the heavens and keeps the planets in orbit, is also at work in your life. You can grieve disappointments, and it’s healthy to do so. How long it takes is different for everyone. Some events are worth a few minutes and others, like the loss of loved ones, are worthy of a year or longer.
Rough seasons don’t last forever, and if we’re able to hang onto the important things, faith, family, and love with a good attitude, we can end up even better than we started. Having a positive attitude isn’t about smiling and saying “it’s all good” when it isn’t. It’s about admitting where we are and reaching out for what we need until we get it. It’s also about enduring. It’s about getting up when we’ve been knocked on our tuchus. And it’s about seeing this moment for what it is, accepting it and finding our way forward. But never ever give up. No matter what’s happening in your life, press into it. You’re almost there.