Each of us has our own level of tolerance for stress. Some people thrive under pressure. I’m not one of them. One of my top triggers for anxiety and depression, is feeling overwhelmed by having too much to do. A full but manageable plate is one thing, but when the plate suddenly becomes too small, I know I have to take action before it cracks and everything falls to pieces. Every so often, usually when I’m over-tired, I feel overloaded by my responsibilities. My thoughts turn to doubting my abilities and I’m convinced I can’t handle even ONE MORE THING.
The best way for me to manage the situation, so that I don’t get riddled with pop-up panic attacks or pangs of depression, is to prioritize my to-do list. I start by doing the easiest things first. That way I get an immediate sense of accomplishment and I’m encouraged to move on to the next item. For example, the beginning of March is when I start the dreaded task of tax preparation. If I made that chore my number one priority, I’d avoid my list of obligations entirely, like a carton of sour milk humming in the fridge, wishing it would disappear on its own. Instead of making any progress, even on a tiny scale, nothing would get done. The list would keep growing and my anxiety would skyrocket exponentially each day leading up to April 15th.
So, if I can check off the easier jobs, like paying bills or scheduling business meetings, I obtain that instant gratification needed to keep my confidence strong and build momentum towards organizing my tax info. I’ve learned that it’s critical for me to be aware of my threshold for the daunting responsibilities that come with being an adult. The method I’ve created to maintaining my sanity may not work for others, but it’s kept my anxiety levels in-check. My personal goals in life are not about being perfect, but continuing to make self-improvements – that’s something that will always be at the top of my agenda.