One of the things I promised myself when I quit my full-time job was that I'd invest more time into self-care. I mean, really, I quit the job because it was making me sick. It's only right that I give back to myself. Find some inner peace and improve my health if we're going to sacrifice the income and benefits associated with that employment.
As such, I've been much more attentive to myself. My needs. My strengths and struggles.
I am a person who thrives on being busy.
- Three part-time teaching jobs (adding a fourth in August)
- Two freelance writing jobs
- Compulsive blogger
- Readathon co-organizer
Part of that compulsion is a way to stave off depression. I've known for years that staying busy is the best way for me to avoid the desire to pull the covers over my head and disappear.
I've also started to note the tipping point in that arrangement. Having SO many things going on has shown me the flip side of happy-busy, and it's information overload.
A while back I did Note to Self's #Infomagical challenge--which is still available with one clickety click--and I chose to focus on being more creative. I streamlined a lot of my digital life during that challenge but also earlier in the year when I started reading up on Getting Things Done productivity methods.
I don't stumble into information overload territory as much as I did when I was working my PR job, but it happens occasionally, and just yesterday was a perfect example. It was rainy and dreary outside. I couldn't go walk-run as much as I usually do. I was stuck indoors. I figured I might as well do some blog planning, so I got a list of topics squared away, worked on drafting, Tweeted for awhile, got some Instagram ideas together, and generally did stuff that needs doing.
And then I wanted to rip someone...anyone's...head off. Thinking ahead was like looking down a tunnel. Even when I was done with my planning, I checked social media obsessively. No, Andi, there are no new messages in the three seconds since you last checked Twitter.
That's what information overload, and being completely overwhelmed, feels like for me. Like my brain is on fire and I'm stuck in an endless loop of checking, rechecking, and obsessively looking. All the while feeling too overwhelmed to move on to the next obvious task on my to-do list. In this case, I really could've used that next block of time to work on a Book Riot post or a reference letter that's hanging out there unfinished.
Information overload is like a hamster wheel for me....spinning, spinning but not going anywhere.
I realized in that moment, that I had to do something else. Anything else. Reboot.
I did a 10-minute guided meditation, bitched on Twitter (counterproductive), relaxed for a bit away from the computer and my phone. I got up and tidied our medicine corner of the kitchen (a place where we pile up antacids, pain relievers, and other frequent flyer meds that quickly gets cluttered).
Then I was able to sit down and think about what to do next.
We have so much information at our disposal...so many ways to engage with it, create it, disseminate it. It really is overwhelming sometimes, and there's nothing worse for me than that brain-on-fire feeling of being stuck in the information loop. Exercise has certainly shown itself to be it's own kind of meditation practice before the day gets going, but with a week of rainy weather ahead I need to plumb the depths for more.
How do you quite your brain when you're feeling overloaded?