Overwhelmed

Yesterday, I started to cry because I felt so overwhelmed. It's not the first time I've felt overwhelmed, nor the first time I've cried because of it. When you're the sort of person who is a self-proclaimed people-pleaser, who hates disappointing anyone or letting people down, who constantly forgets how few hours are actually in a day, and who wants to be all things to all people who ask, it happens quite a bit.

Last year I finally learned that when this feeling hits, it's time to start letting things go. Passion projects are great while they add value, but when they become energy vampires, they're not great anymore. Even paying projects aren't always worth the actual cost to the participant. And beyond work and similar projects, everywhere I turn I see something I'm half-assing or totally neglecting: relationships, healthy habits, books that offer me a time-out from the real world, my mindfulness practices, exercise, social presence, voicemails, meal-planning and cooking, blogging, reading/commenting, and anything that makes me feel like I'm putting myself first, second, last, or on the list of priorities at all.

I make lists to help me better manage my time, and even though everything that has to get done in a day ends up done, I still don't feel like I'm coming out ahead. I'm still not winding down until a half hour before I want to be sleeping. I'm still not making time to run. I'm still cancelling yoga classes. My nails still aren't done. I still had carrots and dip for dinner the other day.

I've always had trouble knowing where to cut back, what fat to trim. It feels like everything on my plate is there for a reason, and to take one thing off would be to throw off the balance and feel surely some consequence, right? My side income isn't as high that month, or I'm not happy.

I haven't been happy in a long time, not fully. I've had happy moments, I've done exciting things, I've made memories to cherish, and I've felt loved and supported in times. But generally speaking, I'm disappointed in myself for how I'm moving through life lately, and despite sitting down and telling my journal day after day all the ways I'm going to fix it, I can't. I don't make the time. I don't really have the time, because editing work has a deadline. Running and yoga class and face masks and manicures and coffee dates and phone calls don't.

But running and yoga class and face masks and manicures and coffee dates and phone calls deserve me, and I deserve them. And other than what I absolutely have to do, as of now, I'm putting all the rest to the side. Starting with the blog. I want to update it, I want to write, I want to have conversations here. But at the end of the day when everything else is done and I still don't have time, I stare hopefully at the screen wishing the words in my head were already down in a draft. And when they're not, the thought of manually putting them there exhausts me. And when they still don't make it there after another day or another week, I feel guilty. Not because I'm failing you, I know you guys are forgiving. I'm failing me, yet again, in yet another way, because I simply can't do another thing I told myself I was going to do.

The obvious answer to me, for now, is to stop telling myself things I'm going to do. I have to slow down. I have to be choosy. I have to make time and zero excuses for the things that make me feel whole, the things that always get pushed to the back burner because I've agreed to some other responsibility that now has to come first. And even though I haven't been blogging much for a long time, it's still a thing that hangs over me, that my free time feels owed to.

With all this noise, I'm not listening enough to myself or my body. I'm even talking (or usually typing) too loudly to hear what I need to hear. So I'm going to be quiet for a little while. I hope not too long; things in my life are all climbing to the surface and I can see some resolution soon. But until then, I can only control what I can control. I'm starting by giving myself a break from some of the noise, some of the guilt I inflict on myself. I want to give myself back to me.

Comments

  1. I totally get how you feel . . . being stretched too thin and putting yourself, or things that bring you joy, last. It seems to be universal and non-discriminatory . . . it doesn't matter your age, career, kids or no kids, mate or no mate. Take care of you . . . and you're right, blog friends are very forgiving and I've been blessed to know.

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  2. I completely get you. This is how I've been feeling too. I had chips/crackers for supper on both Monday & Tuesday. I don't meal plan/prep like I used to. I am half-assing grad school. Etc. Etc. You gotta do what you gotta do. Take care of yourself first.

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  3. It is really hard to give yourself a break the first few times. If you make it a practice, it gets easier. You deserve the time to do nothing or anything. When something is a burden, it's time to turn it off for a while.

    Peace and love and time and manicures to you.

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  4. Oh my goodness. I am so there with you. I have seriously overcommitted myself lately, but I just don't know what to say "no" to!

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  5. I hope your life becomes a bit more balanced soon, Alyssa! I think acknowledging that you need to focus on yourself more is the first step to achieving it. Take care of yourself!! xoxo

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  6. It's okay to feel this way! We all go through seasons of life, and sometimes you thrive and other times you just survive. Pick whats most important and focus on that! Hugs!
    -Kristen
    www.pugsandpearls.com

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  7. I totally relate to this and have so been there... I agree with Kristen's comments above that it's a season of life and it will pass (viewing life in just that, seasons, makes it seem more manageable).
    Take a deep breath, baby steps, and give yourself piles and piles of grace. xoxo

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  8. I'm sorry to hear you feeling this way, but on the other hand, it only means I'm not alone in this "doing-everything-but-not-really-accomplishing-anything" whirlpool. I've been feeling like a failure a lot lately; and I know my friends would be utterly surprised if they knew, because in the eyes of the public, and yes, even those who know the struggles I'm facing, I'm this bright individual who's reaching for nothing less than success. Only there's no success and who says there ever will be?
    I'm proud of you for saying these things out loud (or typing them out, whatever). You might not be aware of it, but this is of more value to people than all those "how to organize your day and life, look, I'm doing perfect, so can you" posts. Well, I wish I could send you a photo of my chipped nailpolish I did five days ago!
    I can only hope, as some of the women agreed above, that this is just a phase, a season. Take care, Alyssa.

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  9. This is so relatable; hoping you realize how many people go through this. When life gets stressful and overwhelming we tend to be our own worst enemies; applying more pressure and guilt and all the things we do NOT need. Take this time to take care of you, do what makes you happy, and avoid the stresses of things like the blog/writing (although I know that's hard). We'll all be waiting for you when you come back!

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  10. I wrote a huge comment, but it felt too self pitying, so I'll just say I can sympathize. I feel like business and baby things are going well and everything else in my life is going to shit. I'm not currently willing to spend less time on those 2 main priorities so I'll continue to deal with it. But I am definitely working on automating, increasing efficiency and stripping out anything pseudo-productive, because I do think I'm going to drive myself to burnout if I don't figure something out.

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    Replies
    1. Oh! Also new blog design. I noticed - I like it.

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  11. i am super behind on blog reading so forgive the late comment.

    i used to say yes to all the things or expect so much from myself and then i would be so disappointed when i didn't succeed or meet my expectations, not to mention drained from all the responsibilities i didn't want to be responsible for. work is one thing, but commitments to people for things i don't feel strongly about or want to waste my time on? yes, supporting friends and family is important, but never at the expense of yourself. can't pour from an empty cup and all that.

    i am seriously amazing at saying no to things now. haha. it took a long time to get here, and even when i thought i was there, i wasn't really. it's like that year of yes book, you learn how to say yes to other people and also when it's okay to say no. but most importantly you learn how to say yes and no to yourself. just remember when you say no to someone who wants something from you, you are saying yes to yourself. yes to reading, sleeping in, getting a pedicure, whatever you want. so don't think of it has saying no, hurting or letting other people down - it's time to say yes and stop hurting yourself. i mean, i know you know this. just trying to be supportive and encouraging.

    you go girl! go spend some time on you.

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