What To Do When You're Feeling Overwhelmed
A ficticious personal conversation to help someone who is feeling overwhelmed with a few action items to reduce anxiety and go back to being calm.
We've all been there. Maybe you're there right now.
You feel like you can't lift a finger. Everything seems to take insurmountable effort. You may feel like curling yourself up in a ball and ignoring all your problems. And you might even do that, while having the lingering thought that it is driving you into even deeper problems. Still, you can't bring yourself to do anything meaningful.
Maybe the solution isn't writing down a list of everything that you must do. Maybe you've already done that, and list seems even longer and the burden feels even taller right now. You feel completely paralized and any and every effort feels completely futile.
Everything is going to be fine: You just need to step back to the basics.
- Are you well rested? Have you been keeping a consistent sleep schedule?
- Are you drinking enough water? When have you last had a meal?
- Is your body feeling confortable while you're working? Is your equipment setup confortably? Is your work area somewhat tidy?
Still with me? Great! Now that we've got the basics down, lets tackle the present issues.
- Can you write down what you are trying to do --or what the issue is-- as if explaining to someone else? Is there something missing or unclear about how you are supposed to go about doing this?
- What is a minimal step you can do to make any progress on this? Can you build and run the project you are working on? Are you able to reproduce the issue or trigger a related behavior?
- Can you break down your task further? Don't be shy of going to seemingly insignificant steps, such as “opening the project on the editor”. Can you commit to sit down and work just 5 minutes on this?
I hope that you're feeling better in more in control now. Remember that doing something, no matter how small, is infinitely better than doing nothing. A single pushup a day is better than no push up for a year. Brushing your teeth at all is better than not doing it before sleeping every day.
Take care. It's going to be alright.