When I wake up in the morning I literally do not want to do anything. If I could sit on my couch all day and do nothing that would be my ideal day.
Well, not “nothing,” but maybe watch Netflix, read and eat cookies would be better than sitting there and I’d be much more content. But, the thing is that I can’t do nothing, because I have so many things to do!
I have to feed myself and my kids. Being a person is so hard and we all have to be people all the time. Even when we are sleeping, we’re people. So, when I wake up I have a lot to do; so much that I am feeling overwhelmed about the mental list of things that need to get done. I don’t make lists, because I am overwhelmed by the idea of making them. Isn’t that ridiculous? No matter how ridiculous that might be, I don’t want to make lists and I’m not sorry about it either. I’m anxious and that’s what my meds are supposed to helping with anyway.
I want to be able to get the stuff in my head done, but I can’t remember all of it because I’m freaking out internally that there’s no possible way I’ll get it all done. But if I don’t know what it is, how can I get it done? I know this all doesn’t make any sense, but these are the thoughts that are going through my mind. I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am sitting there doing nothing and I’m supposed to be doing something but it’s just too much!
I remember having this feeling as a teenager and telling my mom about it. I explained that I knew that I had to do a lot of things, but there were so many of them that it seemed impossible to get them all done. My mom said something simple, but it was so wise: “just start.”
She followed that up with: “all you have to do is start.” What she meant was that starting anything is the hardest part. Getting yourself to the point where you get up off the couch and sit in front of the computer to do something is an extremely hard process. However, if you can take that first step and get yourself to the point where you start something, you can continue it and eventually you’ll have completed something that you’ve been obsessing over for the entire morning.
It’s incredibly difficult to get yourself to the emotional place where you’re ready to leap and start, but it’s about talking your brain out of that overwhelmed state and breaking the steps down into small bites. First step, get off the couch, second step walk to the kitchen, third step turn the water on, fourth step pick up dish soap, sixth step squeeze dish soap onto a sponge, seventh step start cleaning a bowl.
It’s like the movie from the 90’s What About Bob? Bill Murray plays a patient of Richard Dreyfus (a therapist) and Murray repeats the phrase “baby steps,” to remind himself that he needs to break his behavior down into small steps in order to do pretty much anything, for example leaving the house.
In order to be less overwhelmed, prime your brain to the point where you encourage yourself to start a task. Once you are able to start, you will start to get into groove of washing the dishes, writing an article, working on a boring Excel Spreadsheet, or whatever it is you need to do, all you need to do is start!
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Previously Published on Huffington Post