Decluttering Life and Slowing Down the World

Have you ever felt like the world was just spinning too fast?  You had too many things to do and not enough hours to do them?  You’re running just to keep up?  I have had that kind of week: busy at school, busy at work, requests for my time from my boyfriend, friends, and family… not to mention the laundry, the dishes, the need to clean the house (which are all being ignored).  Oh, and there’s a birthday party and a wedding to go to this weekend – did I remember to get gifts?  Of course I haven’t exercised all week – how could I possibly have made time for that?

So here it is, Friday afternoon, and I’m left with this question: How will it all get done?!  

Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed too.  What does that look like for you?  Do you shut down and get even less done?  Do you have to throw a fit, get the emotion out, and then you can get something done?  Do you just live day-to-day with a constant level of stress that means one little thing will cause you to break down in tears or yelling at someone who just asked if you knew what time it was?  What does it feel like for you?  Do you worry that everything will fall apart if you don’t vaccuum the floor, get an A on that paper?  Do you worry that the friends won’t like you anymore if you can’t go to their party?  Here comes the anxiety!

Here’s a question.  Is the world actually going to fall apart if you don’t vaccuum the floor?  Is it actually going to fall apart if you don’t get an A on that paper?  Are your friends actually going to hate you if you can’t spend time with them?  I understand, it FEELS like the world might end.  But will it actually?

Last night my professor pointed out that on November 22nd, 1963 John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  He was one of the very most important people in the world at that point.  And he was gone suddenly, without warning.  Did November 23rd come?  Yes, it did.  Did November 24th come?  Yes, it did.  And the United States continued to be.  Huh.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t try to do things.  It is important that we be responsible; important that we do our best; important that we get things done.  What we need to do is not blow things out of proportion.  Question ourselves – is this actually worth worrying about?  Some things are that important.  Those are the things we need to prioritize.  That means not worrying about the rest.

Today I have a choice.  I can keep thinking about all the things that somehow need to get done between now and next Thursday and let my stress level go higher and higher, likely leading to me not getting anything done, feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, and either skipping time with friends tonight to grumpily get work done or being with friends but thinking about work the whole time…  OR I can challenge these worries and make choices about what is actually important to me.  I can prioritize.  I can remind myself that the world isn’t going to end.  I don’t have to do everything.

I’m looking forward to getting home today.  I’m feeling positive about what I can do.  Step 1 is going to be cleaning up the clutter.  I’m going to open the mail that has piled up on the table, gather all the clothes into the laundry basket, and put the shoes that are all over the floor away.  Why is that step 1?  Because that cluttered life is a reflection of my cluttered mind – constantly jumping from one thing to another to deal with what’s most urgent – what’s directly in front of me.  Once I put my environment in order, it will be much easier to have my mind in order – and to be productive with the time I have.  And when I start to get stressed out about how I’ll possibly get it all done while keeping everyone else happy this weekend, well, maybe I’ll stop and ask myself: What is important to me?  What is my priority?  And then maybe I’ll decide that I will calmly spend Sunday morning working and that my boyfriend’s family won’t hate me if I say I can’t make time for lunch before we go to the wedding.  When my brain keeps hopping to different things I MUST DO RIGHT NOW while I’m trying to do something else, I’ll calmly choose to write them on a nearby to do list, instead of derailing my work.

This is a choice for me.  This is a choice that slows down the world.  This is a choice that says “I don’t have to do everything, just the things that are important to me.”

I hope you can make these choices for yourself too.  If you’re thinking that you could use some help making these choices, give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando at 407-355-7378. Our experienced counselors and life coaches are here to guide you and give you the support you need on your journey.

Take care this weekend! ~Krista (LSRG’s new counselor-in-training)