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January Overwhelm

Decorative ImageHello Internet!

Yes, I’m still here. No, I haven’t been great about posting for the past year or so. But! I’m trying to be better, now that the wedding stress is (almost) over, and I have my new job figured out. (Actually, that reminds me: I still need to send our “Thank You”- cards to the printer… later.) Plus, the past year has been super eventful, and extremely challenging, so I feel like I might actually have learned a lesson or two, that might be interesting for other people, too.

But for now, there’s something that I’m actually dealing with right now, that I want to adress: Janurary Overwhelm. You know, when the new year starts, and you ADHD brain is all hyped up for all The New Stuff, and wants to do it all… only to fizzle out and get bored and overwhelmed and exhausted in the middle of everything? Because that is very much me this year.

Usually, I do quite well around the holidays and new year’s. I set up my bullet journal for the new year (usually well in advance, this past year… well… between Christmas and January 2nd… which is really embarassing to admit, but oh well, that’s just my life right now), I do some decluttering, I clean the entire house, so it’s sparkly clean for the new year… Well. Not this year.

With all the stress of wedding planning, plus my trying to figure out what percentage of my time I can actually spend working, and realizing that I very seriously need a steady schedule, instead of being on call and not knowing when and where I’ll be working for two days a week (that’s kind of a long sentence, so to sum up that part: With all the self-induced chaos I had last year…), I just couldn’t think or plan any further than our honeymoon in November. And after that, surprise!, there was Christmas, which I hadn’t done any planning or gift shopping for yet. And, just to illustrate how very much I overwhelmed my brain these past few months, I actually enden up hosting Christmas dinner at our place, on the same day that we had coffee at my grandparents’ and a day after I finally managed to decorate our tree, around five in the afternoon. It was insanity (which in my case, means “planning” way too much sh*t for way too little time and ending up exhausted). And then we hosted some friends for New Year’s Eve, so I’ve only really been able to rest and maybe get back to thinking straight for the past few days.

And that’s when th overwhelm really set in. You see, I have made some plans for 2020. I have a list of things I want to do before my birthday. I intend to read lots and lots of books. But I forgot, in all the chaos, that I should have checked the balance of my bank account. Because you know what happens in January, that I totally forgot about? That’t correct, all the insurances and subscription services want their money for the year. So now I have to move around some money. Also, due to constant over-business (as in: to be busy… no idea how to spell that version), I didn’t get around to cleaning the house. Which means that now, I feel like that is something I really, really, really need to do, because it’s one of the things that make me feel super secure every year. Also, there are all these things I’ve been planning to do.

So, to sum it up: I’m stuck being completely overwhelmed by all the stuff I should be doing (or that I’m telling myself I should be doing), to the point where I just don’t do anything and watch Netflix instead. Because, hello, executive function isn’t necessarily my strong suit, and it gets especially tricky when I have no idea where to start.

Now of course the question is this: How do I deal with this? Glad you asked. I have very little idea, but I’m happy to share what little I have with you.

  1. Ignore! This may sound counter-intuitive, but honestly, the best way out of this mess, for me, is ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away. Or something like it. Basically, I currently ignore the stuff I can’t really do much about, or that just isn’t all that high in my list of priorities. For example, I really need to clean the entire house. Not just because it’s a new year, but because it has been ages and this place is semi-filthy by now. But I’m not going to attempt to deep clean it all within a week. Why? Because it’s not that important, because I have work, and because I don’t feel like exhausting all my spoons for this. Instead, I just pretend I’m on my regular schedule, and will clean the house bit by bit.
  2. Watch how you spend your time! This is really important for me right now, because the “I have so much to do I might aswell go to bed” thing is funny, and okay sometimes, but disastrous if you keep it up for too long. So I’m seriously trying to reduce my screen time on my phone (actually downloaded a monitoring app for this last year… it’s not working terribly well), and try to consciously make decisions about whether or not I turn on the TV, read a book, or do some work, and to be aware of how much time I spend with these things. I’ve fallen into the habit of just spending most of my time on the couch this past week (which, honestly, isn’t that big of a deal, because I was mentally exhausted and needed the downtime), and I need to get my brain back on track. Which is hard, because with the weather being winter-y and the mornings being dark, I don’t exactely wake up feeling refreshed. But if I manage to limit my “pointless scrolling”-time in the mornings, I can usually get some stuff done before lunch time.
  3. Be reasonable! I know, this is a bit of an obvious point. What I mean is: Be reasonable about your expectations. If you, like me, made some list(s) of things you want to do this year, or made new years resolutions, take a look at those and check if they’re reasonable. Do these things depend on factors you have no control over? Then drop them. Do they require that you change your entire life/personality? Then drop them. Do they take a lot of time and money that you don’t have and can’t get? Drop it. You see what I mean, right? Adjust your expectations for yourself, so you set yourself up for success, instead of failure. You don’t need to change your entire being just because it’s a new year. Pick one goal, or some goals, that you can reasonably expect yourself to meet, and work on those. Oh, and also: Start right away. If you make a list of things you want to do this year, but keep pushing them off, they won’t get done.

I hope this is a little bit helpful. As I said, I’m not entirely sure of what I’m doing right now either. But I believe that I’m doing my best, and that’s enough for me. I mean, if you don’t believe me, this is what’s going on with me right this moment: I just realized that it’s already pretty late in the day, and I had a lot more stuff planned, that I wanted to do. I’m not feeling like I have lots of spoons left, but there are some things I really want to get done today, like building a new piece of furniture that was delivered here this afternoon. And putting our Christmas decorations in the basement. And vaccuuming various areas of the house, especially the bathrooms. These are all things that are high on my list of priorities. But I can already tell that I won’t be able to do them all in the time and with the spoons I have left. So, even though I’m not happy with this, I will have to let some of these things go, and hope that I’ll get around to them tomorrow. That’s just the way it is.

But, since I want to get at least some more stuff done, I’ll get back to it. Hopefully everyone is having a great new year so far!