Most of us feel stressed when a lot of things happen at the same time in our lives. We feel lost as things seem to spiral out of control. Our mind feels saturated with too much work and focusing to get things done seems to be an uphill climb. It becomes hard to process things and it feels as though you’re in the middle of a brain freeze with a strong desire to simply quit.
Obviously, the emotional stress we experience is no help during such a time. You may feel like crying, or you may be waiting for an opportunity to lash out just to give your frustration an outlet, or you may just shut yourself away from the outside world& give everyone around you the silent treatment. However, the real question as you experience these emotions is, how does acting cranky, frustrated, or closed off make you feel in the end? It surely can’t feel therapeutic. Instead, you feel like on top of everything that was going wrong on this day, you now have to handle the guilt of hurting the people around you.
It is important to understand that the feeling of stress does not build up in a day. Rather, it’s a continuous pile up of the tension that you have been accumulating to the point that it becomes unbearable. This feeling of gathered stress begins to affect your regular behavior and it starts to mount up in your head. All this - the stress, the pile-up, the strong range of emotions – are an indicator that if you don’t change something soon, you’re risking a serious breakdown.
Have you ever noticed that when a very young child gets hurt, the moment that they see their parents rushing towards them to dust them off, they would start crying even if they were not crying before? Why do you think that happens? For all of us, it all started right at that age, and it still continues to manifest in some areas of our life to this day.
You may be wondering, how any of this relates to feeling overwhelmed during stressful situations? Whether or not you choose to accept it, somewhere in our heart, we experience a silent enjoyment in getting attention from others. When you share your feelings with others, you might expect others to comment back in sympathy or concern. In the absence of such a response, it may seem to you that the other person doesn’t care. We worry too much about what other people say or do to us. At a point in life when there is too much to be done and we begin showing extreme emotions of anger, grief or a desire to quit – all you need is a CHANGE.
Things are not in place around you. You have taken to reacting to life instead of responding to it. You are addressing issues in the moment and doing so mostly at the last minute. You are starting each day with no idea as to what to get done. Ultimately, the lack of proper planning causes you to get stressed.
“A new day does not start on the morning of but on the night before.”
You must plan and set priorities for a new day.
Even if you are organized, committing too much of yourself to others can throw you off-balance. When you over-commit yourself and fail to deliver, you end up breaking a promise you made because you did not think it through. Maybe you didn’t want to say no for the fear of looking bad. If that’s the case, here’s one thing you need to remember:
Be the master of your word and become pro-active. If you commit yourself, make sure to honor that commitment, because your word defines who you are.
You put things off for tomorrow. You tend to take all of the load on yourself in one day, and that day is the night before the deadline. And this ends up becoming a major cause of stress for you.
You may feel like you were merely responding to whatever life throws at you. But the truth is that the nights that you find yourself jam-packed with loads of work are ultimately, a result of your procrastination and not due to some external factors. To drown in work, as hard as it might be to accept, is actually a personal choice.
There is no need to work very hard, all that you need to do is work smart. This technique will not only help you de-clutter, but also ensure that you focus better, learn better, have a better recall value & sharpen your senses.
The ‘Pomodoro’ (Italian for tomato) technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo to best manage & efficiently create value out of your time. This technique gets its name from the tomato shaped timer that Cirillo first used to time his study session.
Gone are the days when multi-taskers were seen as superheroes. Pick up just one task to work on. Taking up too many tasks all at once reduces your productivity & output by a significantly huge margin.
Make sure that you diligently dedicate 25 minutes of complete focus to the task at hand. At times when you are working from home/studying, the people around you may result in distractions. Share with those around you that during the 25 minutes when you are working, you will not be able to attend to them. Dedicate those 25 minutes just to the task at hand and nothing else. Focus on ending the said task within the allotted 25 minutes.
Write down what distracted you during those 25 minutes. Write down the thoughts or distractions which were compelling you to leave the task at hand and deal with those distractions in an appropriate manner. For example, if your phone was a major contributor, leave it in the airplane mode, so that you can respond to any messages later.
After every 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break. Use this break to hydrate, go to the washroom, stretch yourself, do deep breathing, go for a short walk or anything else that may refresh you for the next burst. Refrain from checking your phone in this break. After 5 minutes, sit back down and work for another 25 minutes. Repeat this process thrice.
After three cycles of the 25:5-minute work-break ratio, take a 45-minute-long break. Utilize this break for whatever you want to do. However, remember to not reward yourself this break if you failed to follow the three cycles of the 25:5-minute work-break ratio.
Repeat the above steps once more. This technique works wonders. You would immediately see yourself achieve tasks in a far lesser time. If diligently followed, this technique would sharpen your intuition & increase efficiency.
You have a choice. You can either choose to be the victim with unbearable levels of stress causing you emotional imbalance. Or you can make a conscious choice to be done with the victim mindset and say to yourself,
Let go of the victim inside. There are better ways to express yourself than lashing out, crying or shutting yourself away when you feel saturated. Remember to let go of the clutter. It is important to keep in mind that however organized or disorganized you are in your daily routine is a direct reflection of how your life is going.
Own up responsibility for the state of your life. Keep a journal and declare your intention to start anew. Many a times, we get stressed because we worry a lot. That worry is going to consume you & drain you of all your energy. When you begin to feel like you can’t take it anymore, walk it off & talk it out. Find something positive about the situation because there are many people out there who wished they were in your place.
If you want to turn a new leaf in your life, you need to reset. Start your new journey with a winner’s mindset. Chaos is not the way to keep busy or show others that you are busy. If you feel that you lack time, then something is going wrong, and it requires your attention. Go clear the clutter, organize yourself, re-establish a routine for yourself. Redefine your time and prioritize the things that really matter. Feel the life around you, value the relationships that you have and let the Pomodoro technique work wonders for you.