Avoiding stress in a busy world
Hi, my name is Ulysses. I’m twenty three years old, a full-time student, working, and was recently married in May. With other family and church responsibilities, on any given day you can say my schedule is pretty full. When we have busy schedules it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s not a fun feeling. It feels like we’re drowning and we tend to feel pretty low about ourselves. With that in mind I wanted to share an experience I had a few months ago and perhaps offer some counsel for anyone who may be feeling like they’re being stretched too far. I hope it helps.
The events leading up to my experience really started at the beginning of the year when I received a promotion at work. I was excited because I would be learning more and making more money, which was wonderful because I was getting married soon. With my upcoming wedding I was committed to doing my best in my new position. I soon began receiving more responsibilities and projects and was working a few more hours a week. At school and work I was doing well and getting projects and homework done on time. However, soon my homework load started to increase and began conflicting with my work time. I didn’t want to let down the company in my new position and rationalized that I could always do my homework later or catch up if needed. I did need the money after all. This would end up being a mistake.
After a few weeks of putting off homework or doing the minimal my grades were starting to take a hit. I began to panic and tried to catch up as best I could while still keeping my same work habits. Not only did this require more time, but it began to stress me out. While I was somewhat catching up on homework, I was now losing time for other responsibilities, including wedding preparations. Another problem is that when I was at work I was constantly remembering the homework and tasks I still had to do. As a result, I had a hard time focusing on my projects. This lead to projects being turned in late, meaning I had to spend more time working and had even less time for my other tasks. This of course, led to more stress.
During this time my brother recommended I use Phytotherapi’s Stress oil. I was a bit skeptical at first because, like many people who are overwhelmed, I didn’t realize I was so stressed, but decided I might as well see if it would help out a bit. The first few days didn’t seem to make much of an impact, but I did begin to sense that I could think clearer. I began to realize that something was wrong. My life was not what it should be. I knew that something had to change.
Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Well, I was driving myself insane. I decided to take some time to myself one Sunday morning and evaluate what I was doing wrong. As I reflected on what I was doing and why I was feeling so overwhelmed and dissatisfied with my life I had several impressions come to me. I wrote them down and have done my best to follow them. While they may not be fool proof, they have worked well for me.
Your attitude- a game changer
I realized one of my problems was how I was viewing the situation. Although fictional, Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean said, “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” There is a lot of wisdom in that. I saw my circumstance as something that wouldn’t get better or that I would be trapped in forever. I was spending my time worrying about my problem instead of figuring out how to fix it. This attitude was leading to lots of unnecessary stress and, from personal experience, when we’re under stress we have a hard time seeing things as they really are. I had to change my attitude and realize that I could change my circumstance. As my attitude changed I also realized my situation wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. If we change our attitude the tables will begin to turn in our favor.
Priorities and managing time
The next impression I received was on my priorities. One of the reasons I was feeling so overwhelmed was because I had other things that were important to me that I wasn’t getting to. Wedding planning, school work, time with family, and other things were getting pushed behind work. Work had become my first priority when, in reality it wasn’t what I wanted as my first priority. I decided to write down my priorities in order. Work ended up at number four on the list.
I don’t want anyone to misunderstand. I am not saying that work isn’t important. Nor am I saying that work should get the leftover minutes or hours of your day. What I’m saying is that when something of a lower priority (like work for me) keeps you from getting to higher priorities (for me, family or school), then we can become overwhelmed and dissatisfied with our lives. This is where time management comes into play.
We all have 24 hours in a day and how we spend them is up to us. As I was saying, when we spend most of our time doing the lower priority things, we tend to become dissatisfied. I fully understand some of us need to spend more time working or at school than others. That’s why it’s important to set aside time each week for what’s most important to us. Planning time to spend with family, to exercise, or going out with friends can help make sure we don’t let those things pass us by. Time management is a skill that requires patience and practice, however, it’s worth the effort. I’ll also add that we may need to set aside time to effectively plan.
Focus on the task at hand
As I shared earlier, when we’re feeling overwhelmed it is usually due to us thinking about the long list of things we still need to do; while we are working or doing a homework assignment we are thinking about the next things on our list, whether that be cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, getting ready for a date, or whatever it might be. Our minds are not fully focused on the thing we are doing. This makes us anxious and makes it more difficult to put our best effort into what we’re doing. I found this also spilling into my social life. When I was out with my fiancée I would also think about the things I needed to do later or the next day.
When we focus on the task at hand (and that includes focusing on family or friends when we’re with them) we can put more of our creativity and best effort into everything that we do. I have also seen, both in myself and others, that when we focus on what we’re doing we complete them faster and with more enthusiasm. It actually helps us get through our to-do list more efficiently.
Take care of your mind and body
This is something I was also neglecting because of how busy I felt. Fast food was a quick meal and exercise got in the way of my to-do list. However, I began making simple habit changes like eating a healthier diet, getting enough sleep, and taking time to exercise (even if it’s a couple times a week) and it did wonders for my stress levels. I started playing basketball (something I love) and packing my own lunch to avoid getting fast food.
Doing something we enjoy is beneficial for both the mind and body. Something as simple as taking 30 minutes to read book you enjoy or watching a TV show can help. Do something you love to break the routine. However, make sure that this doesn’t get in the way of other important things or you will feel more stressed. I’ve found that doing these things with family or friends adds an extra enjoyment to the activity.
Look for the good and be grateful
This is similar to having a good attitude, but it takes more effort. When I feel overwhelmed it seems that nothing in life is going my way; like it’s out to get me. However, there is so much good and beauty around us. I had so much good in my life; I was marrying my very best friend, I had a wonderful family, I had a good job, there was much to be grateful for.
Even if our situation is much direr than work or school matters, there is always something good to be grateful for. If work is stressing us out, we should remember to be grateful for a job. If children are hard to handle, let’s be grateful for a family. Instead of complaining about school work, be grateful for the privilege of receiving an education; something not everyone has the opportunity to do. Looking for the good and being grateful for what we have helps us overcome stress and brightens our attitudes
Life is a handful at times, and in the world we live it’s likely that we all have busy schedules. But I know we are capable of making any necessary changes in order to be in control of our lives. While I can’t guarantee how effective these suggestions will be for everyone, I can say they will at least help you get on the path needed to overcome feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed. I truly hope you try them and remember to be patient and take it one day at a time. In addition to what I’ve said, remember to follow any impressions that come to mind of any changes that need to be done. My own life has improved by following the impressions I’ve received.
To recap from my experience (in no particular order)
Use Phytotherapi Stress
Take time to meditate on your situation (if religious, couple this with prayer)
Improve your attitude
Know your priorities
Manage your time
Focus on the task at hand
Take care of the mind and body
Look for the good and be grateful
Follow any additional impressions you receive