I started The Warm Milk Journal because I have suffered from anxiety and insomnia much of my life. It is my passion and purpose in continuing with this site to help anybody out there who are challenged with these issues too and simply want: peace of mind and a good night sleep!
One thing that I can definitely pinpoint to much of my anxiety is having too many choices. I am not sure if it is my libra personality(I like to have many options and to weigh them of course) or if I am a product of the society that I have grown up in…
Please let me know if any of you can relate to this:
1. I have several windows open in my computer’s browser.
2. At any given time, I have several books, magazines, journals near me (coffee table, bed stand, back patio table, or in beach bag while out at the beach) because I like to have a variety of things to choose from to read…
3. I had a difficult time choosing a major while in college. I switched my major a couple of times. I was interested in so many things!
4. When I have days off from work I am sometimes overwhelmed with the choices I have to spend my time: alone time on the beach, trip to the gym or yoga class, time with family, going out or staying home? etc. etc.
5. When my kids were small, I sent them to different types of schools: Montesorri, Waldorf, Sudbury,homeschooling was considered too…. all of these theories in education sounded so great (I wanted my children to experience them all).
6. I’ve “shopped around” at various religious organizations. I am open minded and my spirituality is an eclectic mix of my traditional Jewish childhood and my exploration into eastern philosophy and new thought religions such as Unity, Religious Science, and Unitarian Universalism….(I see wonderful things in all of these religions)!
7. I always have several projects going: writing, business ideas, blogs and websites, travel plans, new hobbies, etc.
Now, I don’t want you to think that I am always lost and overwhelmed. I actually enjoy my adventures and all of my various interests (keeps things interesting)! I can even be quite decisive when I want to be.
However, just knowing about all of these choices available to me…knowing they are out there… can cause me much distress and anxiety. It can just plain give me a headache too!
I know that if I could just simply focus on one thing at a time, streamline things in my life, if you will, I would be a lot less anxious and more at peace.
What are we to do in this modern day world of ours? We are offered so many choices. It’s one huge candy store all of the time! Surely many of you experience this condition too? (it’s not just us libras? ha! lol)…
Tonight I offer some ideas to get us from feeling overwhelmed, anxious and sleepless… to
streamlined, living simply, and sleeping well.
Ready to make this transition?
1. Open one browser at a time on your computer. Checking emails? Fantastic. Do just that! Then move on to checking in with friends on Facebook or Twitter…One task at a time (multi-tasking may cause the anxiety monster to appear)!
2. Learn to say no. You really can so no. Take things, commitments, obligations off your plate. You will be glad you did.
3. When you go shopping, go with a purpose. Do your homework ahead of time and know what you want to buy before you are offered a plethora of choices in the store. If you are grocery shopping, have a list and stick with it. Don’t waste too much time comparing different brands. If you like something, get it.
4. Experiment with pulling one book off your bookshelf at a time. Savor that one book for a while… when finished, put it away and get another.
5. It’s okay to have a lot of projects and interests. Just do them one at a time. If you have to, schedule your time. For example, I have learned to set aside special days to post for The Warm Milk Journal, do my marketing, write for my other freelance projects, days to unplug, etc. I am working on not doing things all at once!
6. If you have a smartphone, set your notification settings so that things aren’t flashing on your phone screen every second (for when they do at the very least you are going to look at them, your attention will be diverted from whatever it was you were doing.. you may also be tempted to reply). We don’t need to know every time somebody has posted on Facebook or sent a tweet! Your attention, energy, and focus are precious to you… don’t squander them by permitting them to scatter your brain into an overly plugged-in zombie!
* this is a big one. Since I changed my notification settings on my iPhone, I am so much more balanced and at peace. Trust me.
7. If you are overwhelmed with so many things to do, do the most important things first… let the rest go if need be.
8. Have faith and confidence in yourself. If you make a decision, stick with it. Go with it. Feel good about. In this new way of living, buyer’s remorse, stewing and fretting about making the right choice are complete albatrosses. Get rid of them. Don’t need them! Enough said.
9. Set some time in your day to get still and meditate. This really helps. Plug into the spaces between your thoughts. The strength of being centered and clarity will greatly lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed and powerless.
10. Finally, laugh and not take any of this too seriously! We live in an age of 24/7 cable channels, limitless internet, and apps…
Streamline where you can. Enjoy simplicity and peace when you do. When it’s not happening and you are stressed and overwhelmed and doing a hundred million things all at once… perhaps your modern brain will be gently tapped by the reptilian brain that remembers a time when the main focus of the day was making sure there was enough food to eat.
Vegetarians out there: please pardon this metaphor- but truly, how would you eat an elephant? One little bite at a time. Often we take on way more than we can chew. We get overwhelmed. Stressed. Our brains shut down. The answer? One small bite at a time.
It goes back to those baby steps we have talked about. I figure, so long as I am moving forward and taking some kind of action on my goals, I am going to achieve success. Action is important. If our ideas and goals are solely in our heads, we are dreamers and that’s about it.We don’t, however, want to take on too much at once- put too much pressure on ourselves- and then have it all backfire because we get overwhelmed, discouraged, and quit.
Like all things in life- there needs to be balance. Small steps or bites, if you will.
I am continually reminding myself of this. The Warm Milk Journal, for instance, is a big project. Starting a new endeavor like this is a lot of work. There is a huge learning curve. There are parts of this project that come easier for me than others. I find the creative side a lot of fun and easier: the writing of the posts, reaching out and helping others, coming up with ideas for the Warm Milk Journal (because this is something I care and feel so passionately about). The more challenging areas for me are more the technical and business end of things that come with writing a blog. There is so much for me to learn and really I have just started. So I tell myself: baby steps, Debra. Small elephant bites.
I think if we enjoy the journey we will be happy with where we end up!
Debra : )