Dealing When You’re Overwhelmed

I think I’m basically writing this post as a reminder to myself, but I figured it was something that might be useful for you guys, too. These next few weeks are going to be a little bit crazy for me – a paper and a group project still stands between me and the end of the semester, there are lots of deadlines looming at work, and I have fun things going on, too! It’s a lot, and when I start to think about it all, it starts to feel really overwhelming really quickly.

And when things get so overwhelming, it can get really hard to even know where to start. There’s too much, and it can be really easy to not do anything at all instead. It’s a vicious cycle – the more you don’t do, the more you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start!

I think I got better about dealing with this level of stress from my time at CMU – I basically felt like that all the time. So I’ve devised a sort of (very simple) system for moments like these. I make lists, and then I do my very best to not think about the bigger picture. I focus on each things on the list, one at a time. Doing one thing always seems doable… and then cross off the next, and the next, and the next. It sounds obvious, and I guess it kind of is, but it really helps me. Things start to feel a little bit less overwhelming when you can feel yourself making progress; chipping away little by little at the things that you need to get done.

The other important thing is to schedule in breaks, too, or you’ll get burned out, really quickly. None of these things will get rid of stress entirely, but it does help me not get overwhelmed when I’m dealing with it. Which means this weekend, I may or may not have finished all of season two of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It’s all about balance, right?!

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