You know what's annoying? When you do everything possible to get organized — keep a planner, make a schedule, work late, etc. etc. — and it still feels like your life is out of control. Despite plugging away at your long to-do list, everything remains in utter chaos. And despite giving work your all, you never seem to feel caught up.
If that's true for you, then I bet you occasionally throw up your hands and say "well, that's life." And yet, resigning yourself to 24/7 busyness isn't exactly healthy. "This feeling is almost always a bad thing, and it can definitely lead to stress and burn-out for most," says Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle.
So, what can you do to remedy the situation? The best place to start is by taking a bit more time for yourself. "I would start by doing small things each day that make [you] feel good ... and that make [you] feel in control," Martinez says. Maybe that means creating a solo morning routine, or narrowing down that to-do list to the three most important things. That way, the day can become yours again.
Read on for more reasons why your life feels out of control, so you can figure out exactly what needs to be reined back in.
1. You Don't Budget Your Time
If your life feels out of control, take a look at how you budget your time. I bet you start in on work the moment you wake up, and make the day about everyone else until you go to sleep. If that's the case, consider blocking out more time for yourself and your needs. And remember, everyone else can wait.
2. Procrastination Is Your MO
Ah, procrastination. This is one of the main reasons we all feel like our lives are a complete mess. If this is your bad habit, consider taking (small) steps to get things done. "When you do something in small, ‘bite-size’ pieces, it allows you to get a sense of accomplishment and creates positive reinforcements that motivate you to continue," life coach Diane Lang, M.A, told Alexia Severson on Healthline.com. Doing so will help you feel more in control.
3. You Blame Other People When Things Go Wrong
If you feel the need to blame everyone else when things go wrong, it could be why you feel like life is spiraling out of control. "When people feel like choices and decisions have been taken out of their hands, or when they feel like things come from an external locus of control compared to an internal one, they become overwhelmed," Martinez says. So take some responsibility, and you'll see that life feels a lot less chaotic.
4. You Forget To Take Care Of Yourself
Ever notice that when you don't sleep or eat well, even the smallest inconveniences feel life-alteringly terrible? That's because you need to take care of yourself, lest you feel overwhelmed and burnt out. As life coach Stephanie Zamora said on HuffingtonPost.com, "Nurture yourself every step of the way, and you’ll build up more resilience at an incredible pace."
5. The Word "No" Isn't In Your Vocabulary
OK, so let's take a second and analyze how your workday become so overwhelming, or how your to-do got so long. Could it possibly have anything to do with your inability to say no? If so, it's likely time you learn how to politely turn people down. Your packed schedule will thank you.
6. You Tend To Run Late
Nothing causes that "out of control" feeling quite like running late. "This can cause feeling of anger and stress, along with the stress you already have about being late," said Severson. So do yourself a favor and a) better organize your schedule, and b) give yourself more time to get places. Because nobody needs that kind of stress.
7. You Never Ask For Help
Sure, it's admirable to take on a million tasks and have the whole "I got this" attitude. And yet, doing everything yourself can quickly become overwhelming. That's why you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help. "The truth is, we never do anything on our own," said leadership development coach Lori Corcuera on LinkedIn.com. Not at work, and not at home. That's why you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.
8. Social Media Has Taken Over Your Life
While there's nothing wrong with social media, there is something wrong with staring at it all day long. Not only does it cause stress (as you compare your day to other's), but it can affect your self-esteem, according to Lang. It may be worth taking a break, and (again) making your day more about yourself.
9. You're Always Overbooking Yourself
I know the temptation to say yes to every baby shower invitation, every dinner get-together, and every housewarming party. While it feels sweet to show up at every event, it's at the cost of my sanity. That's why it's important to be choosier with what you agree to attend. "Fewer activities mean more downtime," noted lifestyle writer Sally Stich on Woman's Day. Get more protective of that, and life will feel far less demanding.
10. Clutter Is Everywhere
Sometimes, a feeling of overwhelm can come from your environment. And by this, of course, I'm talking about clutter. “Clutter is a representation of how you’re feeling and what’s going on in your own life,” Lang said. Tidying up before you start your day, or clearing off your desk before you work, might give you a stronger sense of control.
11. You Never Have Any Peace And Quiet
If you're running around doing everyone else's bidding, then I doubt you're getting much quiet time. This can make life feel like it's on fast forward, so do try to carve out some "me" time whenever possible. "You don't need huge blocks of quiet time to clear your mind," said Stich. Just a few minutes in the shower, or a radio-free car ride to work, can help.
Do any of these strike a chord? If so, then that's what you need to work on so you can feel a bit more in control of your life.
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