It takes an incredible amount of hard work to be a human.
We’re doing great considering how much energy it takes to do everything we need to do in one day, let alone everything we want to do.
But sometimes no matter how hard we try, life is too damn overwhelming and there’s too much to do and it all comes crumbling down.
Do this when that happens.
It’s a lot of hard work to be a human
It’s incredible that as humans, we do as well as we do. Simply taking care of a human body is a lot of hard work, let alone trying to live a useful and fulfilling life full of love, connection, growth, work, and freedom.
You have to feed yourself, multiple times a day. Bathe and groom yourself. Exercise every day, don’t forget to stretch. Time to get ready for work. Commute to work, and then work all day. Sometimes work 8 hours, sometimes 10, sometimes more.
Spend time with friends, and time in your romantic relationship if you have one. If you don’t, spend time trying to get one. You can’t be successful in life unless you have a partner, or so society likes to tell us.
Keep your house clean. Go food shopping. Scrub the tub. Spring cleaning. Mow the lawn. Are those leaves in your gutter? What will the neighbors think?
Dentist, taxes, DMV, and dry cleaning. There’s more to the list I’m not thinking of.
And that’s the hard work needed to simply maintain. Let alone grow.
What about that growth?
It’s so much hard work to merely survive, let alone find time to squeeze in personal growth, personal projects, and to take that trip you’ve always been wanting to take.
What about that book you want to write or the workshop you want to take? What about that instrument you’ve been meaning to learn, or that indoor soccer league you’ve been meaning to join?
Are you also wanting to grow professionally? Are you wanting to join that networking group to help grown your business or take that public speaking workshop to help you become a more effective leader?
Oh you have KIDS?! They need to be fed, shipped off to school, picked up from school, helped with their homework, ferried off to soccer practice, and the hundred other activities kids like to do.
It’s amazing we don’t give up more often
Living life takes an incredible amount of energy and hard work. Some people are wired for it. They’re go getters, they were built for this. Look at them go.
Others deal with low energy or mental illness. Doing a few tasks is enough to fatigue them for the rest of the day.
I fall somewhere in between. I don’t deal with depression or mental illness, but I do suffer from a deep urge to melt into my couch on a daily basis. I’m terrified of turning into a sloth so I overcompensate by being extra active and getting lots done every day. I feel better when I do.
But sometimes, I do too much. I put too much on my plate, and I start to feel overwhelmed. Dealing with life can be overwhelming as it is, let alone striving for excellence and growth in everything we do.
It’s not about doing the most
It’s not about pilling stuff on my plate to be as productive as possible. It’s about doing what I can today to live a happy healthy life without burning myself out. It’s about finding that happy balance.
I often forget that slow and steady wins the race.
Life can overwhelming overwhelming quickly if we let it. It becomes hard to see the beauty in life when we’re so behind on everything.
When I’m overwhelmed, my ability to see life objectively goes out the window. It all becomes the worse case scenario. I stop recognizing all the progress I’ve made and can only see everything I need to do to become the person I want to be.
That’s a lot of pressure. Time to release some pressure.
What to do when life feels overwhelming and you feel like quitting
1. Unplug from the world
Go outside. Get some sun and some fresh air. Leave your phone behind for a few hours and spend some time alone outside. It’ll do you good.
2. Remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint
This applies to almost everything in life. Losing weight. Building strength. Building your business. Writing your book. Learning to play an instrument. Building relationships. Changing habits. Raising children.
Slow and steady wins the race. Doing a little every day will yield amazing results over the long run.
3. For every negative thought you have about yourself, tell yourself something positive
I’m my own biggest critic. Sometime I tell myself that I’m not doing enough or the work I did isn’t good enough. When that happens, I counter that thought with internal praise of something that I’ve done well recently.
I cooked a healthy dinner, I helped a friend who needed help, I wrote an email I’ve been dreading writing, I took my dog out for an extra long walk. Treat yourself with the same kindness that your loved ones do.
4. Accept that you’ll never ‘arrive’
We’re often not where we want to do be. There’s so much more we could be doing in life and with life. That’s OK. We’ll never ‘arrive’. If we ever ‘arrive’ we’re surely dead. There’s nothing left after ‘arriving’.
Fully accept where you are life as being exactly where you need to be right now. Do the best you can today. And accept that sometimes the very best is that not great at all. And that’s OK.
5. Take a rest day or rest week
It’s OK to pull the blankets over your head sometimes. If you’ve been going hard for weeks or months without some real time off, take some time off. Pushing yourself past your limits won’t help you grow, it’ll hurt your progress in the long run.
Take your to do list and put it away for a day or two, you deserve it.
It’s OK to not be working on yourself 100%
Sometimes you need to pull the blankets over your head for a day or two and recharge. That’s normal. We can’t go %110 all the time, it’s not sustainable.
It’s OK to have goals and aspirations, and it’s also OK to not be continuously striving for those aspirations.
Sometimes the best we can do is to keep our heads above water. After all, we’re all humans and we’re all doing the best we can.
Shaun Galanos is The Love Drive. He lives and write in Montreal.
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