I’m at the point in the semester where every week is a busy week. It’s not a question of if it will be busy, but how busy it will be. It’s the point in the semester when everything is due. Absolutely everything: tests, projects, papers, assignments, etc.
Did I mention that I hate busyness?
Last week, I had an exceptionally busy day. It was course registration day, so I had to get up early for that. I had my normal classes, plus a dress rehearsal for a choir concert, and then a choir concert later that evening. In between all of that, I had to complete as much studying as possible.
To say that I was overwhelmed was an understatement.
By the middle of my first class, I could feel my anxiety rising. I could feel a knot in my stomach, my breathing was getting shallow, and my face was getting the pins-and-needles feeling. The last thing I wanted was to have a panic attack in class, so I took some deep breaths.
Once I calmed down a bit, a thought passed through my head: concentrate on getting through the next five minutes.
So I did.
And let me tell you, things felt a lot less overwhelming after that! Focusing on getting through the next five minutes helped me to get through my insanely busy day without having a panic attack.
Believe me, I know taking it five minutes at a time easier said than done. This was the first time I’ve been able to handle such a busy day without having a panic attack. I know firsthand how much work it takes to get to this point.
When you have an anxiety disorder, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. The fact is, you will always be busier than most people; you have to handle all of the normal things, like work, school, chores, etc., as well as your self-care routine (therapy/psychiatrist appointments, filling prescriptions, and doing the things that help you relax). This is something that most people fail to understand. In fact, between school and my anxiety, there have been many times where I’ve felt like I’m juggling two full-time jobs.
Today, I would like to share my tips and tricks for dealing with anxiety disorders and overwhelm:
- Make a to-do list of everything that needs to be done. This will help you remember everything. It will also help to reassure you that you haven’t forgotten anything.
- Make a plan for what you’re going to do when. I like to prioritize my tasks by date. If I have an assignment due tomorrow, I finish that first. If I have a paper that’s due in a month, I’ll focus less attention on it now. As the due date gets closer, I’ll devote more and more time to it.
- Once you’ve solidified your plan, focus on one thing at a time. This will help you to not feel so overwhelmed.
- If all else fails, concentrate on getting through the next five minutes. You can survive busyness for five minutes, even if your anxiety says otherwise.
- Once you get through the crazy day, reward yourself. You deserve it.
I know it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when there’s a ton to do and not a lot of time to do it. This busy day/season won’t last forever. Focus on getting through the next five minutes, and it’ll be over before you know it.
You got this!