10 Things to Do When There Is Too Much on You

Posted in Balanced Lifestyle, Balanced Mind and Soul | May 12, 2010 |

relax in life

Image by eliot.

Do you sometimes feel that you are running round like a squirrel in a cage? Once you are finished with one project there is already another one waiting for you. You get through one deadline but the next one is already knocking on the door. When you think that you can finally relax you realize that there is some other emergency that you just have to take care of. And it never stops. I’ve had that feeling lately.

There is nothing wrong with being busy but if you overdo it then you feel completely out of balance. Being busy does not mean only working hard. It means taking care of the family, helping friends or relatives, working on new projects and even getting absorbed into your hobbies. I know that each of you has his/her responsibilities that can keep you busy all the time.

When you feel overwhelmed with everything around you it is time to stop and think. Is everything in your schedule really that important?
I know your first answer, “Yes, it is.” Most of us would agree at first glance that most everything we keep in our schedules is extremely important but more than often making our schedules lighter is the answer we really need. I guess Leo Babauta with his Power of Less was right after all :-)

So when you feel that you are just too busy and have no time for yourself then it is time to stop and think. Here are some simple thoughts that will hopefully bring a little balance back into your life.

  1. Live according to your life priorities. When you decide to eliminate some things from your schedule it is important to look at your life priorities first. What will affect you more: not getting a job promotion this year or not spending enough time with your kids? If you give up one of your hobbies, will you still be able to enjoy your life and be yourself? There is a lot to consider but once you get your priorities straight it will be easier for you to make the right choices.
  2. There is always a good reason why your plans do not work out. Maybe it is not the right time, maybe there is a better opportunity waiting just around the corner, or maybe it is just time for you to take a break from everything. There is no point in beating yourself up because something didn’t go the way you planned. Just accept the result and go on with your life.
  3. Don’t spread yourself too thin. You have probably heard the advice to live each day of your life like it’s the last one and take everything from life that you can get. It is not possible to live like that in the real world without serious consequences. Look at the most important things in your life (turn to your priorities for this) and try to give most of your attention to them.
    It is important to have hobbies and interests, it is great to build a career (if this is your goal) and try new things in life but if these activities drain you then you should consider eliminating some of them or devoting less time to them. You don’t have to play football, train for a triathlon and join a basketball league all at the same time. Just focus on the one that brings you the most pleasure (or money if we are talking about work.)
  4. Keep your dreams and goals in check. Having goals and dreams in life is something that we all need because it keeps us focused as well as gives us determination to get through the hard times. However, the old saying that “moderation is the key to life” can definitely be used in this example especially. Too many times our lives are thrown out of balance because we set unrealistic goals for ourselves. Do you really think that you can cut the grass, wash the car and have time to make it to your child’s sporting event in an hour? If you can then that’s awesome but most of us will just have to settle with driving a dirty car or let the grass grow for another few days. Make sure your dreams and goals are realistic for you and not somebody else.
  5. Just take a break. Sometimes all you need is just a little break. Avoid any activities that are not important and let yourself relax a little bit. You don’t have to fix super healthy meals all the time or follow a strict regimen of workouts. Relax about keeping your house clean all the time and let your kids enjoy some extra cartoons now and then in the evening while you are doing what you love. Avoid watching or reading news if possible and minimize your media exposure. Just one week of this “easy” life will help you get back on track.
  6. Spend some time outside. Nature has an amazing power to calm even the most unsettled mind down and set anyone in the mood of serenity. According to research at the University of Essex even five minutes of any green activity (walking outside, gardening, playing sports etc.) can boost your mood and self esteem. Why not let the nature show you the way to a balanced life?
  7. Ask for support. A lot of times we do not want to admit to the people around us that we need help. Of course, people are different but in my experience most people like helping others. Especially if these people are close to you. There is no need to be a superman or superwoman all the time (even if you want to be one then you can still take a small break from being super).
    Today my husband went grocery shopping for me and got a lot of interesting things. He said that he is going to take care of supper this week. Just the thought of it made me so happy inside (his beanie weenies turned out great!)
  8. Stop procrastinating. Some tasks just create an illusion that they are difficult and time consuming. You put them on your to-do list but every time you look at those tasks you shift your attention to something else (phone calls about bills, little home-improvement projects or some boring tasks at work). These tasks will keep bugging you and making you feel stressed out for no reason. Just finish any tasks that you’ve been procrastinating and you will feel that you can breathe freely again.
  9. Have a spiritual break. If you are a religious person then praying will definitely help. If you are not religious then meditating or just practicing any mindful activity will help you clear your mind and shake off the stress you’ve been under.
  10. Have a positive experience. When I am tired I tend to look at everything with a touch of gray. This not-so-positive attitude does not make the situation look any easier at all. It is vitally important to have some positive activity to shift your vision from a gray mode into colored mode. Watching a comedy, hanging out with friends, playing with your pets, reading something funny or trying a new activity – anything that can make you laugh will do. Find time for this experience no matter how busy you are.

Now there is just one more tip I can give you. Take a deep breath in, listen to yourself and have a good night sleep. Everything will look better in the morning.

Keep it balanced!

Smart Thoughts (23)

  1. Beautiful post. I am in much need of following some of these tips. Thank you.

  2. Jean Sarauer says:

    I grew up on a dairy farm where the cows needed to be milked twice a day, and this prepared me for what I call the “treadmill effect,” of life. It can feel overwhelming to face the same tasks day after day, especially when so many extras end up getting piled on top of the basics. The key for me is to focus on one step at a time and, as Leo points out in his book, figure out what the essential things are and put energy in those places. A simple life really is the most joyful for me.

    • Anastasiya says:

      It must have been quite an experience (and a lot of work!) growing up on a dairy farm. I am sure that you have a lot of lessons to share with the rest of us.
      You are right that taking everything one step at a time is the best strategy to keep schedule and tasks under control. Thank you for sharing your experience with me, Jean.

  3. Your list is right on. One of the harder points for me is to stay firm in believing that when plans don’t work out — it is ALWAYS for a reason…and most importantly a good and purposeful reason.

    In the midst of disappointment it is hard to keep a hold on the belief, but ultimately I know it is true– and the quicker we rest in that the sooner we will see the next step in our path light before us.

    • Anastasiya says:

      I think it’s hard for anybody to see that reason at first. I often try to look at all positive things that might rise out of my ruined plans. Of course, most of the time I can’t guess the exact reason but I still feel better about the situation.

  4. Justin Dixon says:

    Thank you Anastasiya, I needed this post this morning. I have been spreading myself too thin, and these are some great ways I can see to start getting me back on track. This is one of the best posts I’ve seen you write yet.

  5. Anastasiya, This is a great reminder about how to cope when you feel over-whelmed. All your sugggestions are good, but what you say about procrastinating is super helpful.

    “These tasks will keep bugging you and making you feel stressed out for no reason. Just finish any tasks that you’ve been procrastinating and you will feel that you can breathe freely again.” Even just starting such a task is a big step because then you’re no longer prorastinating. I have noticed this time and again, and yet I still need to be reminded. I have a particular task in mind, and I’m absolutely going to start on it tonight (after dinner that is)!

    • Anastasiya says:

      Good luck with your task, Madeleine!
      I am guilty of procrastinating too sometimes and I know that I should be better at this. I guess I need to print a big sign and hang it above my computer “No More Procrastinating!” Maybe after that I won’t have issues with daunting tasks anymore.

  6. Aileen says:

    What a great way to approach the chaos. Many of us have the habit of spreading ourselves too thin and it just keeps us frazzled. It is good to acknowledge that some things can be cut out or can wait. And a giant YES, to doing the thing we procrastinate on – it causes more stress to not do it.
    I love the “Have a positive experience” it’s such a great way to shift the mind from the stressed/chaotic pattern.

    You have such a wonderful site! It breathes Balance. It gives solutions to the madness.

    • Anastasiya says:

      Thank you Aileen for your warm words. I hope that reading my blog can be one of the positive experiences for you when you need them :-)

  7. Tom says:

    Could I suggest a number 11?: Disconnect Yourself. We’re so easily contactable these days that it’s easy for more and more to be put on our plate. Turn off your mobile, unplug your phone and log-off the internet. It’ll help achieve some of the other suggestions on this list.

  8. Anastasiya, looks like I just followed your advice and took a break. Haven’t been blogging or reading blogs for some time, but I am happy to be back. It was a long needed break and I am glad I allowed myself to take it. Great list and advice as always!

  9. Andi says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. I feel better after reading this already, thanks!!!

  10. Anastayisa –

    I really dig this post because it is so practical. Everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes and just needs to hop of the hamster wheel. I tend to go with taking a break, getting outside and asking for help when I’m losing the plot. I also think number 9 – taking a spiritual break works beautifully as it puts everything back in perspective. I would add number 11 – do some exercise. There is nothing that clears my mind more than a trot around my local park. Very nice.


  11. To the point and need of hours
    will surely gona to suggest my friends who really need these tips..

  12. Cheryl Paris says:

    Hi Anastaysia,

    Sometimes life gets so busy that we forget what we are doing – right or wrong.
    Your list will help to target all the correct bad effects which ruin the tasks and why.

    Bye for Now
    Cheryl Paris
    The Acorn Coach Blog

    N.B. The Acorn Coach Blog is a link url to: http://www.cherylparis.com

  13. Interesting points that are somehow related to my own life as well. I used to try to become a super guy who would become very hard working and even work during the weekends.

    I was working 10-14 hours 7 days. Then I noticed that my relationship with my girlfriend was getting damaged. We were spending less time together and I was always trying to explain her that I needed to work hard to earn and save some cash for our future. But anyway I felt that we were getting isolated from each other day by day. We were together but there was not a feeling of togetherness between us. And that would kill me all the way. I also noticed that I was so much obsessed with my work that I stopped listening to her. Well I mean that I was physically listening to her but was not getting her in-between-line messages that she was trying to convey.

    Then I began reflecting on what she was saying to me most of the time. And it was ”be with me”. Silly me!!! We were becoming so distant from each other just because we were not spending time together. So I canceled everything that I used to do on my Sundays.

    I admitted that we should allocate some free time for our personal life as well. Time when we think about nothing and fully concentrate on our personal life and closest people.

    Just take a break and let your mind and body fully relax!!! Great article!!! :–))))

    • Anastasiya says:

      Akmal, thank you so much for sharing your experience because your story illustrates perfectly what it means to have too much on you. I know that it is difficult for some people (like me or you) to stop sometimes and relax. It goes against the spirit of productivity and achievement that keeps us going through life. I am glad that you have realized that you need to balance your relationship and work a little bit better. After all, if there is no one to spend your future with then what’s the point in saving for that future?
      Good luck in your work and in your relationship!

  14. janet engel says:

    Thank you for this post– lovely! I have begun hitting the pause button more frequently to ask myself if the activity that I think is just SO important to do:
    a. is really that important, ie at the end of my life is it REALLY going to matter?
    b. can it possibly be delegated to someone else who could assist me in getting it done.
    c. is it really what I want to be doing.

    Stopping to ask these things can help me re-prioritize and live more “intentionally.”

  15. I wanted to leave a comment on your five ways to lose the weight and say healthy for good. (paraphrasing) Thank you for just a simple, yet common sense post. The advice to focus on the goal being to be healthy, not be slimmer is good advice and something that I think I need to shift to in my mind. I am at the point where I feel good, I look okay, but those last 5 or 10 pounds could gladly be gone. Thank you for the motivation.

  16. Elly says:

    so true… amazing how differnt people may come yo same conclusions from different experiences :)

  17. Kate says:

    These are all really good suggestions. There are so many opportunities in life that sometimes it’s hard to accept that you have to prioritize and then stick to those priorities rather than trying to do everything and ending up not doing things well.