An Open Letter to my Everyday Overwhelmed Self

To the mom who reads this and is in a sea of overwhelming chaos.
To the high school teacher who feels like they have one too many things to do.
To the young girl who stresses about the smallest details.
To the college-aged student who has disjointed priorities.
To the athlete who lacks sleep and has a loaded calendar.
To the middle school guy who feels they will never live up to expectations, and feels that they fall short of success.

I write to you.

And I write to myself…

To My Everyday Overwhelmed Self:

Family. Friends. Church. School. Grades. Activities. Service. Sleep…and everything in between.

You often feel like you have to choose only a fraction of the laundry list of things you love. I promise the stress you cause yourself from the chaos is often more than you make it out to be.
… In case you forget, you have learned some valuable lessons when it comes to overwhelming feelings.

1. Know your limits; sometimes you have to say no

You are often over-booked; with practices and back-to-back plans everyday, and you attempt to squeeze homework into the smallest of windows. After over-scheduling takes ahold, you panic and stress takes over. But maybe you could try to avoid that stress to begin with. While you can not cancel practice or reschedule a family event, you CAN control the controllables, by choosing what activities will benefit you as a whole. When your to-do list becomes too long and another event pops up, maybe truly evaluate what you need in that moment. If a friend is in desperate need for help, yes it is necessary to be by their side, but if it is another activity you could do any other time, maybe it is best to put it on the back-burner for the time being.

And I understand, priorities and choosing are never easy. Often the hardest part of planning is when something comes up and you really desire to participate but it is not feasible with the other million things you are doing or need to do. I encourage you to truly evaluate the situation before jumping into complete and utter destruction of your well being. And by no means am I telling you that everything on your to do list comes first; because sometimes I mean the opposite. Often, we do need to step away from our “stuff” in life and be in companionship with those around us.

I am trusting you. Look at your mental stability, what truly matters to you. Understand how much you can really handle, and then make that difficult decision that could change your upcoming week and other days to come. Know when your boundaries are being pushed and how to counteract them and understand it is ok to say no sometimes.

2. You can not please everyone.

I wish it was that easy, to make a decision and everyone in your life agrees.
I wish that every action you completed always made your closest friends happy.
I wish that every word that has ever left your mouth sent every individual in the room home smiling.

I wish. I wish. I wish. I wish.

But you have to remember that you will NEVER even come close to pleasing everyone in your life.
In the midst of an overwhelming life, sometimes you allow the littlest opinions to rattle your day, or shake your week. But your heart should only long for the opinions of a handful of individuals in your life. Whether that is a parent, a mentor, a sibling, a friend, or another trusted person; let those wiser than you have the only opinion you value in your walk through life.

Others will disagree and question your smallest actions. But, choose to fully and completely value the opinions of those who have wisdom rather than irrelevant opinions that only wreck your mentality. Press into a small circle of individuals who will give you positive feedback, help you make the right choices, and affirm your actions. Choose people that know your heart, your goals, your desires, dreams, morals, and ambitions; their opinions are valuable. However, outside of that circle do not let hurtful opinions cause you to feel overwhelmed. Because if you're being honest, only a handful of the opinions you consider throughout your days hold true value.  

3. Get organized.

With tasks piling up, a million places to be, people to meet, and every minute feeling busy; the best thing you can do is get yourself organized. You often feel cluttered, maybe a homework assignment is tossed everywhere in your bedroom, or papers covering the kitchen table. Maybe you do not know where to start on a big project, where to begin on a never ending list of to-dos, or how to approach a broken friendship. Maybe you have a circumstance eating away at you and there seems to be no way out. Get yourself organized. Make a list, prioritize the most important items on your plate and start conquering. You can not accomplish everything at once, but you can do one thing at a time and eventually it all gets completed at some point, right?

4. Let yourself rest.

When catching up with someone you have not seen in a long time, the usual awkward conversation begins with, “How are you doing?,” and you listen nonchalantly to the response, “I am pretty busy,” or something along those lines.

Because the truth is, you're pretty busy, and so are the people you see everyday at practice, in the workplace, at home, in the grocery store, and every other location. You’re not alone in the race to get things done.

So if we are all busy, why don’t we give ourselves better opportunities for alone time or to catch up on sleep. Because if we’re being honest we all need a break, a time to be still, and a time of rest from the business of life.

5. It is just a bad day, not a bad life.

You can probably think of a few terrible days you’ve had in the past. Days you might have had a mental breakdown and everything seems to be going wrong. But I’m here to remind you that you may have had a bad day, but think of all the good. The good days, or the good moments, change your outlook when times get tough. It is a difficult conscious decision to change your perspective, but it is necessary if we want to remove the frustration caused from the bad, harder days in life.

6. Breathe.

In the midst of a hectic season in life, you get overwhelmed quick; your priorities jumble up quickly and your to-do list seems never ending.
Take a breath.

You often find yourself in the middle of choosing what is most important, amidst the struggle of saying no, and in the depths of a schedule overload.
Take a breath.

Sometimes you come home, too tired to function and with one too many things to do.
Take a breath.

You're often spazzed out about your big test, or how you will ever get anything done. You get worried about plans and where you’re supposed to be at any given time.
Take a breath.

Life is too important to let it become consumed with stress and chaos.  


So, to my everyday, overwhelmed self and to You, the reader who may be feeling overwhelmed too, let’s make today the day that we start to live a life that is enjoyable.  

A life that is simpler.

A life that is powerful and impactful.  

Today let’s take a breath and truly live the life that we were meant to live.

WRITTEN BY Drezdan Ginder