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ON OVERWHELM.

December 18, 2013

annaaden

It’s probably been pretty clear in recent posts that there’s been a strong current of overwhelm running through my life for the past few weeks, although actually it probably started this summer with my brother’s wedding (which, although lovely and in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, was pretty stressful for me and my family). Things were fine until my grandmother passed away in November, and then all of the sudden life seemed to explode again with the holidays, ACS’ new job and his move to Sarasota, having to find a new place to live, and everything that comes with moving (setting up utilities, transferring existing services, etc.). I’m not any more busy than anyone else (nor am I trying to say that I am), but all of the sudden my stress level is through the roof.

I’m not even sure why it’s so high, because everything that’s going on is good stuff. I mean, it’s Christmas! I love Christmas. And ACS got a job here, which is something we’d been talking about/hoping for for almost a year. Our house is going to be awesome. I’m basically 90 percent packed, which is huge for me. And my friends and family are being 100 percent supportive and loving and helpful–particularly the two who helped me pack all day on Sunday. So, as my therapist and I were discussing yesterday*, all of this is completely self-imposed. But why? I’m naturally high-strung by nature, sure–I jokingly likened myself to a cocker spaniel the other day–but this is a bit ridiculous. I don’t want to feel this crazed.

So I guess what I’m asking you all is how you deal with life when it feels completely overwhelming, and how you take some of the pressure off yourselves? For me, deep breaths and writing down my worries help a lot (when I take the time to do it). Making lists of tasks does, too. And on nights when I don’t have after-work events, I’ve been trying to relax at home with the cats. But what do you guys do? I’m totally confident that once the move is over and we’re settled in our new house, I’ll be back to my normal self. Until then, though, tips welcome!

*Yes, I see a therapist, and it’s some of the best money I spend all month. Happy to talk more about my decision to start and why it’s so helpful in another post if you guys would like.

Photo by the amazing Anna Aden 

  • Reply
    Jenn@NearandFarMontana
    December 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Okay, so first, you have got this.

    Now for tips. A few months ago I’m pretty sure I came near my breaking point. I report on the local city government and it was election time and people were making me nuts. I was snappy, irritated, frustrated, sad and just all around a mess. Boyfriend would tell me not to let it get to me…one of those always easier said than done things, especially when you’re not the one taking all the crazy everyday. I drank too much wine every night after work. I was aware of my frustrations and the sources of it, for the most part, but there was little I could do to change the situation.

    To get some of that out of my system, I went running, looonnnggg runs when I’m pretty sure I was talking to myself to just work through some of the irritations on my own and say those things I wanted to say to the crazies, but couldn’t really say in real life.

    I ate pizza and too much candy from the office candy jar I stock on my desk (not recommended solutions). Drank way too much coffee.

    I cried a few times. We’re talking full on, irrational blubbering when boyfriend was just beside himself trying to understand and fix the problems. Really, he couldn’t fix the problems, I just needed to let it out instead of trying to keep it together all the time.

    I blogged about it once and a good friend from the office recommended journaling and starting with “I’m grateful for…” I used to journal all the time but had seriously fallen off the wagon, but that particular weekend, I grabbed my journal and scribbled away and sure enough it helped. Writing has always been a kind of release for me and a journal is a safe place to put those thoughts. It’s me and a piece of paper so it doesn’t matter how irrational, frustrated, mean, sad or whatever nonsense I write. It helps me work through my thoughts before having to say anything out loud or attempt a grown up conversation about what’s bugging me.

    In all honesty, it was a rough patch. And I don’t think there was anything I did that particularly made it easier for me to handle it all. But then the election was over and the crazy started to melt away. I didn’t have to follow the candidates on facebook and twitter and keep up with all their drama because it was now exactly that, stupid drama. I have noticed that I’m better able to see the crazy for exactly what it is now that the election is over and I’m already working on steeling myself for the next round of crazy, but thankfully it will be awhile. I know I didn’t handle it that great the first time, but we’re really only capable of handling so much nonsense before we near our breaking point and when we professionally can’t let on that we’re nearing the breaking point, I think that makes it worse.

    Well, this got very long and I don’t think I’m making much sense anymore, but I’ll say this. I’ve been there and it’s hard and feels so incredibly overwhelming, but I think each time we’re in that place, we get stronger, we know ourselves just a little bit better and we develop our ways to cope without really realizing it so we can better handle the next wave of chaos. And, always here if you need a blogger friend to vent about it!

    • Reply
      Megan @ Pink O'Clock
      December 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      OMG, Jenn, I love you for this amazing comment!

      Thank you so much for these tips. I mean, seriously, are we kindred spirits or something? I’m so sorry you had to go through such a stressful time, but I’m so glad you got through it and are feeling better. And you’re so right: After making it through the crazy, we do know ourselves better. That’s such a good point.

      I’m so with you on the journal thing, too. Even when there’s not a lot of stress in my life, I’m pretty wound up, so my therapist recommended writing down the things I’m worried about in a journal at the end of every night and just trying to leave those worries there, on the pages. It really works when I do it regularly. I’m glad to hear it does for you, too! (And again, we’re on the same page with the writing-as-release thing.)

      So glad we found each other, blogger friend! xoxo

  • Reply
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