What To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

‘Busy’ is a word many of us employ to describe our state of affairs. Some people complain about being busy, for others it is a source of pride. Between our obligations as either a worker or a student, which in themselves demand copious amounts of attention, we have to balance some form of social life, exercise, errands, the occasional bit of ‘me-time’ to prevent burnout. Life in the modern world is increasingly characterised by never-ending to do lists and a search for how to master productivity while leaving room to unwind and actually enjoy the human experience.

What to do when you're overwhelmed

Granted, I am someone who likes being busy. I like a clear goal, a multidimensional schedule that raises the significance of quieter moments. I think many of us can relate to the restlessness which goes hand in hand with unforeseen boredom. However, ‘overwhelm’ is also a phenomenon most of us are familiar with. It signifies the fine line between a healthy level of bustle, and our life coming apart into infinitesimal pieces, making us wish for the power to be in two places at once. You find yourself working 24/7, fuelled by four hours of sleep and oceans of coffee. You question: ‘why does nothing get done despite all of this effort?‘ Perhaps, you have a few projects scattered about, each half way to completion, and you spiral into the trap of trying to do them all at once. In the meantime, empty boxes desperate for a tick loom next to each item on your to-do list and your workload keeps piling up and up and up. Nothing you do delivers a sense of accomplishment or enjoyment. You lie awake at night, cursing the constraints of a 24-hour day and weeks that seem to conclude before they’ve even started.

How to not feel overwhelmed

At such moments, the risk of you burning out or voluntarily giving up is at its highest. Overwhelm is a common trigger of anxiety, insomnia, scenarios of failure and unmet deadlines rushing through your mind. Thus, I would recommend laying down a clear strategy of not only recognising spikes in your daily activity, but also preventing a normal level of stress transforming into something malicious and damaging. As I discuss later in the post, we must also acknowledge that we are susceptible to unnecessary pressure both from ourselves and society at large, learning to distinguish what genuinely requires a sense of urgency within a puddle of things the futility of which you may only recognise with the power of hindsight.

Overwhelmed what to do

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So, yours truly is here to share some of her wisdom, and a few honest tips that may help you plough through a period of overwhelm. Stress, while impossible to eliminate in its entirety (and, trying to do so is counterproductive), does not have to reach unprecedented proportions.  View Full Post

Why and How I Became a Morning Person

Before you run away screaming, I am not here to regurgitate the same sentences weaved into the net of health-conscious media, waiting to catch anyone with even a slight appetite for self improvement. Countless articles promote an identical vision of what a morning looks like in the life of a successful human being: waking up at 4:00am, drinking green smoothies (sorry, but I am more of an oatmeal/toast kinda gal), meditating as the sun rises above the horizon…

How to be a morning person

Waking up earlier

If this applies to you, fantastic. But if you are someone who is more productive at night, or simply has a work schedule that renders early mornings impossible, you keep doing you. There isn’t an objectively right or wrong way to live, and if your current routine works in your favour there may be no reason to change it. However, I am here with no purpose other than to tell you my personal story, of how I turned from a night owl into an early bird (meanwhile turning negative intentions into something positive), outline the benefits I’ve derived from this change and offer some helpful tips to anyone who wishes to start waking up earlier for whatever reason.

Morning person tips

My whole family has a propensity towards rising at what some may consider to be ungodly hours. My dad is usually up at 05:00 and mum struggles to sleep in past 06:30. At one point in my life, however – I believe between the ages of twelve and fourteen – I wholeheartedly embraced the night owl lifestyle as a means of emulating the habits of my peers. During the school term, I would sleep in as much as my schedule would allow, and during the holidays – threw tantrums over having to wake up earlier than nine in the morning. As foreign as it may seem to me now, going to sleep at 06:00 and waking up at three in the afternoon was a common occurrence in my life back in the day.

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So, why did I drastically change my lifestyle and sleeping pattern? Well, it often makes people laugh that the main reason as to why I started forcing myself to wake up at the same ungodly hours as my parents was a newfound ‘love’ for makeup. At the start of year ten I used social media on a on a regular basis, I learned about contouring and highlighting, liquid eyeliner, clip-in hair extensions. At times, my ‘getting ready’ process would take a staggering two hours and a desire, shared by many at that age, to be the ‘pretty girl’ sidelined my love for staying up until ridiculous hours to watch TV series. Gradually, I woke up earlier on weekends due to my unprecedented commitment to an extensive beauty routine. View Full Post

My January Bullet Journal Setup

I approach any trend with a degree of scepticism. I question whether it is right for me, just because it has worked for a seemingly large portion of the population (to give an example, I totally learnt the hard way that I do not suit Instagram eyebrows). That’s why, despite months of gawking at pages of calligraphy and daily tasks organised into immaculately drawn boxes, I procrastinated on starting a bullet journal.

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I feared regular journaling would become a waste of time without delivering any tangle benefits – after all, I am not too bad at organisation, and didn’t want to fix something that isn’t broken. I thought my Instagram was enough of an artistic outlet, and my blog – an ideal place to share my thoughts. So, what made me ask for my first bullet journal for Christmas and jump abroad the band wagon? Turns out, as with all occurrences throughout history (yes, I am convinced that Maria getting a bullet journal will be scrutinised by future academics and I am simply trying to facilitate their job), there are several reasons:

a) I want to spend less time on technology: at the moment, I rely on everything from Google Docs to various calendar apps to organise my life. While this gets the job done, I personally benefit from spending less time on digital devices, and find that physically writing stuff down helps cement tasks and intentions in my mind much more than typing.

b) I want to keep things in one place: to explain what I mean, at the moment I track the different aspects of my life in different documents and notebooks. The books I’ve read, the articles I wish to write, how much money I’ve spent… While I will keep this system because it allows me to explore these things in greater detain than an A5 spread, my bullet journal will provide an overview of my life at a glance, a place to jot down things before they escape my head. Plus, we all benefit from being concise on occasion, from focusing on the bigger picture as opposed to the finer details.

c) I want to overcome my fear of tracking thoughts, feelings and emotions: we all know that writing is therapeutic. But up until now, I have been writing as a form of distraction, not acceptance of how I actually feel. For example, if I am angry or upset, I will start doing an outline for an upcoming blog post or write a poem about a completely unrelated topic. I don’t think I have ever kept a diary for more than a couple of days. Honestly, my inhibition is a fear of saying something cheesy, and not having much to write because sometimes I struggle with articulating my emotions in the first place. However, in the absence of deeper sentiments to express, it doesn’t hurt to write an outline of my day before bed, and if being cheesy anywhere is acceptable, it is in a private journal firmly hidden from the public’s eyeshot.

d) Many moments in life are elusive, and with time seeming to move exceptionally fast as of recent, it is easy to forget the little things that happen on a day-to-day basis, the ones which make you smile before dissolving into the monotony of our daily routines. Sometimes, it’s difficult to remember anything beyond the most significant of events. In December 2018, however, I want to be able to recall what made each month special and relive the moments I have managed to capture from each day/week.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic to discover this beautiful bullet journal from Leuchtturm 1917 among my Christmas presents and used it to pass the time while my delicious lentil and mushroom pie was baking away. And since then, I have been obsessed, creating a new board on my Pinterest to collect all of the wonderful ideas I want to implement into my pages throughout the year. What I adore the most is just how much you can personalise your journal. We all live vastly different lives, have vastly different aesthetic tastes, and we can tailor our bullet journal spreads to our preferences as much as we like. Thus, if you are new to this as I am, I encourage you to ponder deeply about what exactly you want to derive from journaling: is it organisation, a therapeutic effect, a place to keep track of thoughts and memories? What are the significant components of your life: your fitness journey, your blog, your career? Be flexible, and keep in mind that these may change in accordance with the constant meander of life.

(Just to give an example: I know I am a sensible spender, reserving not much more than a minute corner to track my expenditure, yet if you are someone who wishes to tighten their spending habits, setting up a detailed expense tracker may be beneficial.)

To save me from further rambling, let’s have a look at my bullet journal:

January Bullet Journal

Monthly bullet journal spread

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How to Work Out When You Don’t Have Time

I think we can all agree that December is a hectic time for many of us. On top of work and/or education, we have the added pressure of buying Christmas presents, attending Christmas parties, and if you are brave enough, sticking to a Blogmas schedule (I seriously applaud anyone who is brave enough to attempt it, you are the real MVP).

I’m in quite a fortunate position because the vast majority of my family members live in Russia and do not celebrate Christmas. I can focus on the enjoyable side of the holidays a bit more while taking it easy on my bank account. However, there have certainly been periods in my life – for example, when I was preparing for exams in May earlier this year – when I could not focus on anything other than a particular objective and ended up neglecting my exercise routine, which for me happens to be a vital form of self care.

Working out when busy

And by ‘neglecting my exercise routine’, I do not mean I went to the gym five times a week as opposed to six. I literally did not move from my chair for a wholesome twenty days except for walking to and from the train station, which is a decision that I lived to regret: finding some spare moments each day to get in physical activity would have only boosted my productivity, without being the dreaded waste of time I feared it would become. Moreover, when I eventually returned to the gym, my strength and endurance had decreased by at least a third, and I could not perform even the most basic exercises without a pain in my joints. View Full Post

What I Eat in a Day (Vegan and Healthy)

I don’t know about you, but there is something fascinating about what I eat in a day type content – I always enjoy these videos on YouTube, and blog posts detailing what a given person has consumed on a given day. Maybe I am just super nosy, but the enjoyment these bring me signalled that its time to make a little food diary of my own.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the abundance of people sharing what they eat on the Internet makes it very easy to compare what we eat to the diets of other people, and forget that every body is fundamentally different – we have different metabolisms, activity levels, genetics, just to name a few factors which determine what and how much we should eat. I am sharing this simply for informative purposes. People are often curious about what vegans eat on a typical day, and I aim to prove that it certainly isn’t ‘grass’/salad/rabbit food – as you will see later, my protein consumption is probably higher than your typical omnivore’s. Hence, you should take posts like these with a grain of salt. There is a big different between using them for inspiration, while eating in such a way that makes you feel great, and copying exactly what someone else is doing on social media as a means of achieving the same results.

I like to switch up my meals on a regular basis and unless I have cooked it in advance, will not have the same dish two days in a row. There are people who eat pretty much the same thing every day, and I am not one of them. Nonetheless, this day is pretty typical in terms of amount and the types of dishes I consume – abundant, high in protein and carbs, very colourful. Because life is too short not to eat all the carbs and colourful food (and it’s also too short for small portion sizes).

Breakfast: Acai Bowl with Peanut Butter, Medjool Dates and Raspberries. 

Vegan smoothie bowl

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