By Gaye Levy
Guest writer for Wake Up World
Has it ever happened to you? You put your hands to your head, press hard, and think “it is all too much!”
I mention this today because truly, right now most of the people I know are cramming their already busy days with more chores and more tasks in a never-ending effort to stay ahead of the game. Add prepping and the pursuit of survival skills to our busy lives and, well, there is not much time left for eating and sleeping let alone leisure activities.
Work, household chores, family responsibilities, preparedness tasks, walking the dog, paying the bills, shopping for groceries . . . when does it end? Now I can only speak for myself but periodically yes, I go into drama queen mode and start slamming doors and grouching at people further calling attention to the fact I have reached my functional limit.
So you see, like you, like your spouse, like your neighbors, and like everyone else, from time to time I take on more than I can handle. So how do I cope? Quite honestly, sometimes I don’t. But even so, I do my best and move forward, one tiny step at a time, to get through the rough spots.
So how do I cope? Listen up for some tips on coping during stressful times.
Eight Tips for Coping When it is All Too Much
1. Listen to your Inner Self. When you feel you are at the breaking point, stop and ask yourself why. Is is the work? Are you tired? Did something upset you. You need to answer these questions before you can take action to restore your balance
2. Make a List. Make a list of what you need to accomplish then pick three things and do them. Some people with pick the most difficult items and others will pick the easiest. It does not matter. What does matter is that sense of accomplishment once you are done. So instead of working on a lot of things at once and getting none done, finish those three things then rejoice in knowing that you achieved a modicum of success.
3. Shout less. Shouting (or yelling) is a natural reaction to stress. We all do it. The thing about shouting, however, is that it creates even more stress. Case in point; try raising your voice – okay yell – and watch what happens to little kids or even dogs when that happens. You can almost see them withdraw visually within themselves or in some cases, go hide. So take a breath, count to 3 and lower your voice.
4. Care About Something. If life is a mess and you feel out of control, find something to care about that you can control. This will not eliminate the crisis or any stress or fear you may be feeling, but it will help distract you from the instigating circumstances and allow you to divert your focus to something positive.
5. Stop and Savor the Small Things. There is reason people enjoy chocolate and other treats. The addictive qualities of caffeine not withstanding, stepping away for even ten minutes and enjoying a cup of raspberry tea or a piece of yummy chocolate. Even a phone call with a close friend or a short nap may give you enough of a break to compose yourself and set you on a path to get things done rather than stress about the never ending list of to-do’s. These are small things but being small does not diminish their importance in helping you feel balanced.
6. Pick your battles. Let’s face it – some battles are not worth fighting. You would think that it would be easy to fight it out and then be done with it. But scraping and fighting are tiresome – whether it involves nagging your spouse or your kids to do their chores or whether it is a battle with yourself to get just one more thing done at the end of the day.
7. Unplug from your Digital Life. Turn off the computer, the iPad, the cell phone and the TV. The digital world seems to be everywhere but that particular flavor of “everywhere” is not always a good place to be. Make friends with yourself again by stepping away and learning the merits of enjoying time and space in it’s own right without the flash and dash of a screen. And while you are unplugged, why not try a bit of one-to-one interaction with another human or a pet?
8. Be Silly and Go Play. Act like a kid. Giggle. When everything around you is serious, laugh. Remember the childhood game ”kick the can”? Well get an old can and kick it. That is what I mean by silly. Do something no sane grownup will do and you just might re-discover the inner kid again – the happy, less stressed-out little kid.
The Final Word
Having too much stuff goes far beyond the physical properties of having stuff. Too much can also relate to too much to do and the spiral of defeat that “toomuchness” brings. If you are afflicted with so much to do that your head hurts, try some of these tips and remember, your feelings are normal, you are not mentally off balance, your symptoms are not uncommon and most of all, being overwhelmed when it is all too much is not incurable and with time it will pass.
So how about you? Do you have some coping tips to add to the list?
About the Author
Gaye Levy lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable, self-reliant and stylish lifestyle through emergency preparation and disaster planning. She does this through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com, an online preparedness blog that provides lifestyle tools, tips, and thoughts to guide you through the back door of life in the 21st century. With an emphasis on prepping and survival, she writes about and shares practical, thoughtful, and inspirational tools for survival in uncertain times.
Backdoor Survival is currently listed on the Survival Top 50. In addition, Gaye is a frequent guest on the Preparedness Radio Network and the soon to be author of a book on 21st century preparedness. Also known as SuvivalWoman, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message with optimism and grace, regardless of mayhem swirling around us.