Most of my life I have struggled with overwhelm. There is always too much to do and too little time. Yet this is usually a lot of things I choose to do and responsibilities I put on myself. Lately, I have heard the resolution is not being afraid to say no; that we often say yes too much to others and bite off more we can chew in our desire for approval from others or to make other people happy. What about ourselves though? There has to be more to it than that. I can feel it. This issue of overwhelm has something to do with my response to it. There is something going on inside me. Inside you.

This morning I woke up, as usual, with this daunting feeling of “where do I begin? How will I get it all done?” Ugh, that is an awful and counterproductive feeling for sure. Yet I usually can’t shake it and it rides along with me through my day. Looking at some people that inspire me, I just know they do not feel this negative weight bearing on them in the way that I do. What am I missing? How are they able to stay so positive and energetic and motivated and accomplish so much with such joy and ease? How are they able to manage several children, full-time jobs, and much more without feeling this burden?

In all fairness, I think almost all of us struggle with overwhelm nowadays. Those that inspire me probably do struggle as well with this issue. Yet I know the burdensome feeling of overwhelm is not productive. It is not necessary. I have spent years trying to minimize my responsibilities and narrow my field of focus to address overwhelm, and yet at every turn I voluntarily take on something new because I just cannot help myself. I want to do the things I do so it is out of great motivation and joy for life and these experiences. I am ready to accept that I will probably always continue to live this way and I embrace that. I am incredibly blessed to get the chance to take on the things that I am. It is a source of daily gratitude and joy.

There is that saying that “my eyes are bigger than my stomach.” That is so true. Sometimes I think I have stars in my eyes. My eyes know not the limitations of my hours. This morning it hit me…the amount of time I spend thinking about what I have to do. It is this thinking time where I feel the burden of overwhelm. So perhaps the solution lies there: less thought, more action. I was recently discussing the idea of why it is that when something we are passionate about becomes our work, it becomes less joyful than when it was simply a hobby. The person responded, “the stress.” Yes!

Once something becomes our work, it becomes a responsibility which serves another purpose. We do not just do it because we enjoy it, but because we have to do it. Oh man, that’s awful. So how do those people that “love what they do and never work a day in their life” do it? The answer is in the stress. I think they have found a way not to stress about it. Less thought, more action. It is like facing a fear. The worry and stress all come before you face the fear and are completely overwhelming, but the moment you are actually in it facing it, you are too busy with it to feel the fear. Likewise, the more I “just do it” and stop thinking about having to do it, the less time my mind will have to feel the burden. My goal today: spend the next 15 minutes planning my day and goals and then just do it. No thought, just action.

Wishing you less overwhelm and more peace,

Nikola Rosa