Recently I've been trying to find ways to boost myself out of feeling overwhelmed. For example, I'll remind myself of the many times I've had to learn that it can be so much easier to remove the source of overwhelmitude than to continue to be overwhelmed by it. Like when a pile of Christmas card supplies (admittedly a daunting pile of things that needed to be put away in places all over the house) got knocked off the table onto the dining room floor by a child (admittedly an annoying and unfair situation), and I let it sit there for literally MONTHS before spending (again literally) less than five minutes to clean it up. And then I sat there thinking about how that messy heap had oppressed me almost every day. What a bargain that was: probably hours and hours of oppression to save myself five minutes! which eventually had to be spent anyway!
So. Today I felt all motivated, ready to start TACKLING things instead of letting them fester. And I thought, "I have some time! I'll clean the bathroom! It oppresses me many times a day!" So I started cleaning it, and I am continuing to be literal when I say that in the first five minutes of unpleasant cleaning (it was hot and stuffy in the bathroom, and of course I hate/resent cleaning it or else I wouldn't be putting it off), FOUR CHILDREN knocked on the door saying they needed to go to the bathroom.
I gave patient "I'm cleaning in here---use the downstairs bathroom" replies to the first two children, but then made the classic error of dealing with a SERIES of individuals as if they are all the SAME individual (an example of this is when a clerk treats a customer as if that single customer needs something explained to them for the thousandth time, rather than being the thousandth person to need it explained), and I snapped at the third child and yelled at the fourth.
Later, the fourth child asked me if I was still crabby, and I said yes, but added that at this point I was more crabby about having been crabby: I'd had time to come up with and feel bad about the clerk analogy. But I was ALSO still PLAIN crabby: my goal was so reasonable, and the interruptions were so reasonable (though FOUR children needing to go to the bathroom in the same five-minute interval is not QUITE in need of the word "so" before the word "reasonable"), and yet together those two reasonable things caused a situation that felt completely unreasonable and impossible to handle, which is another way to say OVERWHELMING.
Although I've learned again and again from examples like the one where it was so relatively easy to pick up and put away the Christmas card stuff, I've ALSO learned again and again from examples like today's attempt to clean the bathroom: it really WASN'T worth it.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...