It’s those days when just trying to think a straight thought is hard. I mean, where do you start? There’s so much you could try to tackle that all of your thoughts feel like a stampede charging right at you. You feel paralyzed. Almost like you want to watch the train wreck happen instead of doing anything about it because—what do you even do?
There’s bills and school and jobs and relationships and questions about life and purpose and meaning and food and laundry and chores and errands and car problems and drama and aspirations and unfinished projects and a million different things begging for our time. Douse that flame with gallons of gasoline of guilt of all that we’ve been putting off, and we’ve got a major problem we feel too overwhelmed to solve.
Some days, you almost hope your world would explode because it’d give you an excuse to not have your shit together.
On those days, it feels like you need a huge tub of ice cream, a solid padlock on your door, and a good marathon of movies queued up for you to consume. Shut the world out and shut your mind up.[clickToTweet tweet=”Some days, you hope your world will explode because it’d give you an excuse to not have it together” quote=”Some days, you hope your world will explode because it’d give you an excuse to not have it together”]
But instead of doing that, when shutting the world out would only make things worse, you can use these five steps to save your world and rescue your sanity:
1) Take a Breath.
Most of the times, I over-dramatize the problems in my life. I believe that if I don’t get x, y, and z done, that my life will literally come to an end. And most of the times, that’s just not the case. If you don’t pay your bills this month, you’ll accrue some debt, but you’ll still survive. If you don’t finish your laundry, it’ll suck to wear the same outfit again tomorrow, but your friends will still love you. I mean, all the things we believe are world-ending do-or-dies typically aren’t. That’s not to say we’re not going to do them, but it is to say that we aren’t going to let them paralyze us in fear of what will happen if we don’t. We’re going to realize life will go on—as it always does. And we’ll reclaim sanity in this space. Even though there’s a storm raging around us. We’ll find the eye of it and have a moment of peace before we figure our way out of it. Pausing, realizing that the world will still spin if I don’t get this done, and taking a breath is the most helpful first step.
2) Shift Your Focus.
When the world is crashing down, we usually ask ourselves stupid questions:
- why is this happening to me?
- why am I such an idiot?
- why do I procrastinate all the time?
- why didn’t I finish that yesterday?
- why am I so lazy?
And the problem with asking yourself bad questions is that you give yourself bad answers. Well, I’m so lazy because I grew up that way, and I’ve always been that way, and I’m always going to be lazy, so I guess I should just stop trying to be anything that I’m not. What a horrible answer to give yourself! To doom yourself to being a certain way and to a lifetime of mediocrity. Ugh! That would suck! The natural consequence of asking ourselves a question is that our mind shifts to focus on answering that question.
So, what if we were just to ask ourselves a different question? What if we were to ask ourselves these questions instead:
- how can I make a way out of this mess?
- what can I do right now to make my life easier?
- what’s the most important thing that needs to get done today?
- how can I kick ass through this crazy season?
What if those were the questions you set your mind to tackle? If instead of figuring out why you’re doomed to sucking for the rest of your life, you spent that focus on how you can kick ass, don’t you think you’d be more prone to kicking ass? Me too. So shift your focus to be solution-centered by asking yourself a more empowering question.
3) Put First Things First.
Ever find yourself doing chores instead of working on that really important project? Or being really “productive”, just not at the things you really need to be doing? Sometimes we work ourselves into overwhelm by doing things that don’t really matter. If we prioritize the things that matter most first, then we’ll avoid the exhaustion+guilt combo after we expend all of our energy on the wrong things.
4) Take the First Step.
Once you set your priorities, take the first step immediately. Overthinking it will cripple you.
5) Give Yourself Grace.
Truth is, if you were to drop the ball on everything you’ve got going on, you’re still you at the end of the day. And you’re always enough. You’ll always matter, even when you go through a rough spot. In the end, everything’s going to be OK, so give yourself a little grace.
If we can consciously pivot from panic mode into a place of peace amidst the craziness in our lives, we’ll set ourselves up for some pretty heroic moments.
So today, breathe because human existence doesn’t weigh in the balance of the problems you face. Shift your focus by asking yourself empowering questions about how to overcome your to-do queue. Prioritize the most important things, and take the first step to getting them done. And all the while, give yourself grace because at the end of the day, you’ll always be enough.
The world might feel like it’s going to explode right now, but everything’s going to be ok. You’ve got this.