Fingers crossed that you are in the same great place I am as I write this. My family is healthy. My business is successful. My home is warm and stocked with food and my husband is the best.
That’s all well and good, but it sure doesn’t keep me from worrying. I worry about my body, my family, and my job. The work at home is never done. And then, of course, there’s the news. Doesn’t matter your opinion on the topic, I think we can all agree the news is heavy. This has been true forever, but you can’t hide from it anymore. And who wants to? I mean, we’re supposed to be aware of our surroundings and “woke” and speaking out for injustice and raising money for cancer and…and…and….Sometimes it all seems too much.
Bad things can happen every day. In the grand scheme of things, what does it really matter if you eat a candy bar tonight or let the toddlers watch one extra Sesame Street? Who cares??
That’s where I am right now. How can I care about these minor things while the rest of the world is on fire? Well, we’ll get to the “how” here in a second, but first know that you have to. Wasting a good life worrying about the next shoe to drop is not a life well-lived. Live life with gusto and if/when a bad day comes, so be it. At the very least you’ll have those good old days to look back on.
But if my fluffy “just do it” attitude isn’t enough, here are some thoughts from the Milwaukee Mom contributor team as to how to keep on keeping on when it all seems too much.
Move Your Body
Run, do yoga, wrestle with your kids, wrestle with your spouse (wink, wink). Whatever gets your heart pumping, do that. I’ve tried to fight this old adage as long as I could, but it’s true. You really do feel better about everything after a good sweat session.
When It Seems Too Much, Turn It Off
One of the reasons we can’t escape the angst is because it is literally following us everywhere! Thanks to our phones, we can get breaking news, work emails, and unhappy social media announcements no matter where we are. Ah!
So, turn it off from time to time. Try putting your phone on airplane mode for a couple hours a day. Delete all the notification options. Definitely don’t bring your phone into the bedroom. (Old school alarm clock and paper books FTW!) If you’re feeling adventurous, try leaving your phone at home when you go out in the world. I know, I know. This is bonkers talk, but just a short fifteen-years-ago, you did it all the time. You’ll be fine.
Find the Fluff
Speaking of paper books – read a book, grab a magazine, or turn on Netflix. Whatever allows you to check out of life for a few minutes a day is what we are looking for here. So again, if you can NOT do it on your phone (because you are going to check Instagram or Facebook, too, I just know it!), try that option.
Don’t think you have time? You’ll be amazed at how much free time you have once you stop looking at your phone.
Do the Work
One of the reasons I spend so much time in a free fall of worry is because I feel like I can’t do anything about it. Or I can, but it’s such an overwhelming mountain to climb.
Well, take a deep breath and just do the thing. You could have called the politician by now (no matter what you think about the person, the staff is usually perfectly polite!). You just need five minutes to hop on a charity’s website and give a donation. Next time you’re making dinner, double it and give the extra to your friend. Just do the thing and put it behind you. Worrying about it takes a lot more energy than actually getting it done.
Self-Care Does NOT Mean Self-Sabotage
Look, if there were Olympics for stress eating, obviously I would win. Do as I say and not as I do and have a cookie, but not the whole box. Drink a glass of wine vs. the bottle. Buy a new nail polish vs. a full new outfit from the fancy boutique. I want you to take care of yourself and yes, sometimes that means indulging, but doing the bad thing over and over again is only going to make you feel worse.
If It Seems Too Much, Go to Therapy
Speaking of feelings, many folks suggested therapy. I agree! If you feel like you could benefit from talking out your issues to an impartial ear, then make an appointment now.
On the other hand, if you feel like you don’t have anything to talk about (or the $75 a pop is out of reach), try other forms of therapy. Write in a journal. Take a walk in a quiet place outside. Pop on a yoga video or meditation app and just breathe.
Let the Music Move You
When NPR gets to be too hard or the Dax Shepard podcast too repetitive, turn to good old-fashioned music. My friends suggested everything from heavy death metal to NSFW rap to spa-like raindrop noise to gospel to classical. Something is bound to speak to your soul and move you through this wave of emotion. Let it crest and move on, friend. There’s a good life out here waiting for you.
So that’s us. What do you do when you’re feeling like the ride is just too much?