I knew I was in trouble when my husband sweetly asked what time I would be home from Spin class, and I burst into tears because the mental math required to answer his question seemed cruel and unjust. Suffice to say, I was feeling very overwhelmed, and it was taking a lot less than normal to weigh me down.
For the past few years, I’ve taken unreasonable pride in how difficult it is for me to feel overwhelmed. I actually thought I had outsmarted this sorry state of being for good, and scoffed at the suggestion it could catch up with me. I was taken by surprise when I fell into a deep funk – especially because I couldn’t identify any justifiable reason to feel overwhelmed. I considered blaming the position of the moon and good old Venus for being in retrograde, but regardless of these cosmic factors, it was my job to “deal with it.”
This is a list of 10 things I did that helped me claw my way out of my funk and get back to feeling like myself:
- I focused on connecting with home. I called my parents a bunch and arranged to have nice long chats with my close friends who live in Canada.
- I threw some money at the problem and booked a 90 minute deep tissue massage.
- My husband helped me see shortcuts I was blind to. He looked at my to-do list and made reasonable suggestions. What if I were to buy almond milk this week instead of making it from scratch? What if we simply ordered Indian food for dinner instead of making a multi-step time-intensive complex recipe from my new cookbook?
- I gave myself permission to slow down and spend an entire Saturday watching my most favorite and comfortable tv shows – Sex and the City and Friends.
- I thought about music I associate with a happy time and started listening to it again (yes, I’m obviously talking about Taylor Swift’s 1989).
- I find running to be a great stress-reducer, but during this time, LA was experiencing a heat wave. Since I’m a wimp when it comes to exercising in the heat, I focused on taking Spin classes so I could get a similar endorphin rush.
- I read and was inspired by The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
- I made my mom’s banana chocolate chip muffin recipe – my ultimate childhood comfort food.
- I downloaded the app “Breathe” and did a guided meditation every night before bed.
- Fortunately, one of my best friends from Canada was visiting and I was able to take a 4-day weekend. (P.S. If you are someone who can take vacation or personal days from work, I highly recommend extending your weekend every once in a while).
I am finally back to feeling like myself. Having fallen off my very high horse, I will now be more empathetic for others who feel overwhelmed. It was a good reminder that all things are temporary, because during my funk, I felt like a dark cloud had moved into my brain and wouldn’t leave.
It’s reassuring to know that if the cosmic forces start interfering with my emotions in the future (or, you know, if “life” happens), I can refer to this list. Hopefully, it will do the trick.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?