Even though I pride myself in having a quite orderly life, I have never really been able to stop myself from feeling overwhelmed by everything ever so often. I call it “overwhelment syndrome” (came up with it myself) because it happens regularly. I often find the tasks I am to complete very daunting and arduous. And in the end, I am too overwhelmed by the prospect of even attempting to get them done. I think that’s a normal thing for a lot of us, no?
A trick I have learnt over the past couple of months for whenever I feel this way is to turn to the minute things, to complete the smallest of tasks, tasks I have been putting off as unimportant: be it trying a new recipe or doing the laundry or rearranging my closet or having that long overdue workout session or calling a friend or taking a walk- anything minuscule just to remind myself that I am capable of getting the little things done.
And it more often than not succeeds in getting me to at least start trying to do what I ought to do. Recently, I figured that it probably works because, see, even though life or school or work, or whatever else we find too complicated and daunting is indeed quite complex, it is no more than a sum of its intricacies, a sum of its many parts. And you can get through it all by treating it as such. When we… when I do feel overwhelmed by it all, it is often because I am apt to focusing on things as complexities as opposed to the fact that the individual parts that constitute them are in themselves quite simple, that it would all be much easier had I focused on getting the small things done one at a time, rather than all at one go.
The point is you aren’t doing a horrible job at navigating life just because you often feel overwhelmed. It is completely normal to feel that way. I often do. It’s a human thing. So the next time you do feel that way, stop. Breathe. Remember that everything is a sum of many parts, that there is no whole without its intricacies. And what that means is that you do not have to get it all done at a goal, that you can break down whatever it is you ought to do into tiny bits and do what you can at the time… then you can do another tiny bit tomorrow… and another the next day. And before you know it, you’d have done it all.
You do not have to build the entire wall at once. You can lay one brick today the best way you know how, the best way you could possibly lay a brick. Do that often enough, you will still have built your wall at the end of the day. Yes, the bigger picture is good. But sometimes it is better to focus on figuring out, today, what color stroke fits best next to the one you drew yesterday as opposed to trying to fill the whole canvas immediately. It’s okay that you are envisioning completing the whole puzzle, but perhaps it will come together better if you focused on finding the next piece and paid no mind to what you do not even have on the board yet. That mile you were told you have to run? You will still get there if you took a step at a time, if you slowly threw one foot in front of the other. Shall I go on? I have a thousand of these analogies…
I get overwhelmed because I convince myself that I have get it all done RIGHT NOW. You probably do too. So, stop. Breathe. And do whatever you are capable of doing right now, however little it may be. Those tiny bits make up the whole. It all comes together in the end. And even if it doesn’t, you’d have done everything you possibly could at the time. And that’s more than enough.