Why you’re overwhelmed

According to Facebook and Pinterest, life is splendid, inspirational and good-looking. According to anyone you ask, yourself included, life is busy and overwhelming. But why the overwhelm? Why are we constantly busy and tired?

If we skip the big picture (e.g. simply having so much more things we can do than our ancestors) and focus on the picture in the mirror, we can find answers which matter to us personally – and these are the things we can change if we decide to.

Think for a moment about your everyday life. Do you attend school? Do you have a job? Or even several jobs? Do you have kids? Do you have any living creatures depending on you for their well-being? Do you have a home, a car, or any other possessions which require maintenance and care?

Any of these things would be enough to make you busy. But you probably have more than one of them on your plate. And that’s enough to make that plate pretty full!

Now, add to that plate our rising standard of life, which means that we have more appliances, bigger homes, more stuff, nicer stuff, but it also makes it no longer quite acceptable socially to have dingy clothes, run-down homes and boring lives, and that plate is starting to get very hard to keep balanced. (Do you know why there’s so much housework even with all the modern appliances? Because the standards of cleanliness keep going up whenever a new appliance goes mainstream!)

And of course, let’s not forget FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out on anything interesting going on – books you haven’t read, movies you haven’t seen, music you haven’t heard, events you haven’t been to…

So you try to keep up, you try to do it all and do it well – so you can brag about it to your friends and on social media. But no matter what we do, we can’t change the number of hours available to us on any given day. And we can’t cram everything into those hours.

The answer is: stop. Stop keeping up, stop doing so many things, give up on “someday I’ll…” projects, simplify at least some parts of your life.

And then enjoy doing nothing, at least for a moment or two.

Today’s action: Think of one thing to simplify, give up on, stop doing.

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