On Feeling Positively Overwhelmed

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And when I say ‘positively’ I mean the opposite to negatively. Overwhelmed in a good way. Let’s begin.

It’s Monday evening as I write this (although I likely won’t post until tomorrow) and I’ve had ‘one of those days’. I think it’s hormonal or lunar or astrological, who knows? But every little thing seemed to go haywire today. I got up later than I wanted to, thanks to the dark and dreary Yorkshire morning making it nigh on impossible for my bed to let go of me, then it just went downhill from there, including my car making weird sounds when I’m half an hour from a garage, forgetting my lunch, and then giving in and buying a mountain of chocolate and undoing all my hard work at the weekend.

So now I’m sitting drinking cold coffee because my legs ache too much from yesterday’s spin class to get up and walk the twenty feet to the kitchen to make a fresh one. Have I sufficiently depressed you all yet with my moaning? No? Well, continuing would be self-indulgent and I have a point to get to.

The last seven days have been a bizarre mixture of intense rushing about and empty lulls with not much to do, and achieving a balance seems to be out of reach at the moment. I’m naturally an energetic, busy person, both physically and mentally, and adjusting to having more down-time than usual is tricky. So far, it’s led to planning things to the extend that I’ve now bypassed excitement and energised, and gone straight to overwhelmed.

Let me explain my situation then you’ll understand a bit more: last Monday my husband and I sold our two-bedroom house in a North Yorkshire town to move in with the in-laws for an undefined period (circa one month, if luck is on our side) while our new house, a three-bed detatched in a pretty English village, completes. As someone who has had their own place for years now, suddenly having nothing to do around the house is new and underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong – it’s incredibly kind of JH’s family to let us stay and to do everything for us (washing, ironing, cooking, you name it), but it’s left me with a lot of time on my hands which I’m really not used to. That’s part of the reason I thought I’d set up a blog before embarking on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) since I have time to dedicate to it and the time to get into a good routine.

I’ve decided to use my time to plan, to organise, and to get myself rebooted into a new routine ready to move into our new house with a fresh zest for life (despite the gloomy skies outside). But I have a habit of taking on too much, of signing myself up to do too much, then not allowing myself the time to actually do the things I want to do. I have a busy, 9-5 job with a commute attached, so arranging my life around that can be complex to begin with. Then comes the fact that I want to do too much. Would you like a current list of all the things I’m dreaming up?

I’ve just joined a new gym (post about that in the works) so I want to establish a regular routine. I want to build my blog up and keep it as a safe space to talk and vent and connect. I want to design and decorate our new place so it’s country-cottage-style heaven. I want to host Christmas and make it one to remember. I want to complete my 50k-word novel during November. I want to finish the edits on Part 1 of my 110k-word novel and send it off to publishers. I want to adopt another dog to keep Logan company. I want to book our honeymoon and see ten places at once. I want to see more of my friends, more of my family, make the effort to go and see overseas friends. I want to do all of that whilst saving up enough of a nest egg to make the decision to have a family viable.

You get my drift.

So learning to turn that list into something workable in my free time is, to put it mildly, overwhelming. I already know the things I need to do, and the things I would recommend to anyone struggling with an expanding want-to-do list and a jam-packed schedule:

  • Prioritise. We all want to do as much as we can and be the best we can be. But trying to do it all at once is setting ourselves up for a fall. Choosing what is the most important and what means the most to us is key, and the rest will follow.
  • Schedule. You cannot do it all at once, and neither can I. That’s where point 1 comes in. Once you’ve decided what is at the top of your pile, you can work on how and when you’re going to fit it in.
  • Make lists. More lists, you say? Yes, especially if, like me, writing and blogging and creating is somewhere in there. Fill them with inspiration, posts to write, dates you plan to do things, and little incentives to get the job done. And remember to tick things off as you go. Nothing looks nicer than a to-do list with everything crossed off.
  • Keep it positive! Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t go to plan. Life gets in the way, we just have to roll with it. Don’t be too hard on yourself, because that will have a domino effect and nothing kills motivation and excitement like a good dose of self-doubt.

Those plans I mentioned? They’re fluid, so they can change and adjust as your life does. But keep your focus and your goals in mind and there’s no reason why those ‘want to dos‘ won’t turn into ‘have dones‘.

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