I’ve been putting off writing lately, mostly because I’ve been too busy chipping away at a to-do list of things that never seems to get any shorter.
I’ve felt quite overwhelmed of late, which is a sure sign that I’m not setting priorities properly; too many have-tos and not enough want-tos.
No big deal, though, I can rectify this state of affairs. It just requires looking at how I’m filling my time, and making sure I build in choices that fulfill me, while paring down activities that are draining, but not necessary. Ultimately, it’s about declaring priorities and being realistic about my belief that “all things need to be done right, right away.”
This got me thinking about everyone else; most people don’t react to being overwhelmed the way I do. Instead, they take for granted that life will be hectic and stressful, as if being overwhelmed were an acceptable way of living.
Tired ≠ Overwhelmed
It is concerning, that we live in a time and place where many believe it is not only acceptable, but laudable to be overwhelmed on a daily basis. Tired and overwhelmed are not synonymous. It is not normal to live feeling like you have too much on your plate, so much that you can’t possibly handle it. It’s not just that people are busy, they are feeling frazzled, overbooked and anxious, potentially paralyzed, and drowning under the weight of their obligations.
Being overwhelmed is not cool, and it shouldn’t be used a badge of honor! We shouldn’t be walking around eager to share how poorly our boundaries between different demands, and how much we struggle to set clear and appropriate priorities.
“How’s it going?” one friend asks. “Oh, Man, I am so overwhelmed!” replies the other. “That sucks, I know exactly how you feel… [friend one goes on to share how overwhelmed they are too].”
In a healthier world, we would expect this to result in some kind of outrage – “Dammit, this isn’t right! This is not living, it’s treading water at best!” Or a least some kind of call to action, “We should do something about this! Let’s look at what we can change.” But more often than not, both people go back to their hectic schedules, poor boundaries and mis-prioritized focus, bemoaning this state of affairs, yet accepting it nonetheless.
A kick in the nuts!
I realize it is not very lady-like or “professional” of me to say, but allowing yourself to remain overwhelmed is like waking up every morning and telling life it’s okay to punch you in the nuts* (not too hard, and just once a day or so, nothing too damaging).
I don’t actually have “nuts” of my own, but I have been kicked in the groin while playing soccer and that was painful enough. I’ve seen grown men made speechless and brought to the ground with only minor groin injuries, so I can only imagine the actual thing is quite painful. A daily kick in the nuts is certainly not something you wish on anyone you cared about, yet you might be allowing it to happen to you.
As you can see, I view being overwhelmed as a serious insult to your body and your life. It mystifies me that you might be willing to allow life to figuratively “kick you in the nuts” on a regular basis, when certainly you would never allow another person to do so literally,and if your did you probably wouldn’t wear it as a badge of honor. This begs the question, of why you then would accept this to happen to you.
Here are my theories:
1. Society views being overwhelmed as a normal cost of being productive.
Everybody’s nuts are busted, at least everyone who seems hardworking and successful, so it only seems natural we should allow it to happen to us too.
2. You don’t realize you have a choice.
We are bombarded by information, requests, demands and expectations from all sides, and have come to believe that the only way of dealing with these requests is acquiescing to all. Saying no, setting limits, seems rude; so bring on the kick!
3. It’s hard to stand up for your needs and your nuts if you don’t know what you’re fighting for, and you have no combat training.
This is a HUGE factor in why people remain overwhelmed. In order to stand-up for your needs, you must first know what you’re fighting for.
You have to understand what your needs look like. Then you have to actually know how to set appropriate boundaries, and create working goals. It’s only once that is done that you can actually move into action. Both parts of this process are incredibly demanding, and require, time, courage, space and reflection to strategize properly. As you know those things can be hard to come by, especially the latter two.
Want help understanding your needs? CLICK HERE to grab your Free 30-day pass to the LīF HUB and get started on the INSIGHT course! It’s time to get over being overwhelmed.
Blocking the blow
I don’t honestly believe anyone actually wants to allow life to kick them in the nuts or ovaries. Most likely, they just don’t realize what’s causing all that pain, or that they can do something about it. So here’s my advice, next time you feel overwhelmed your first course of action has to be to take a two-minute break (few things in life will fall apart if you move away from them for that period of time).
While on your break, breathe and consider what choices, actions, or events are contributing to feeling overwhelmed. Acknowledge that this state of affairs is neither normal, nor acceptable – just say no! Then, as soon as possible, try to evaluate what you have too much of, and what is missing.
Understand that you have a choice. You have some control, if you care to exercise it. You can say “no” or “yes” to certain demands or desires. You can slow down, decompress, and choose a path that doesn’t take you down that dark alley where overwhelmed is waiting to get you!