Life is busy; much busier than 40 years ago. We used to have four or five TV channels if you counted UHF and VHF. It was necessary to get up from the couch in order to change the channel on the TV and you had to actually pick up the receiver to know who was calling you on the telephone.
Back then business hours stopped at prescribed times and getting bullied by schoolmates pretty much stopped once you got home. Now business is conducted without regard to time of day, day of year, or need for respite. Today children are ending their lives because social media provides unending exposure to the torture chamber.
Humans need rest. We need recuperation. No matter how high our tolerance is there will come a time when we run out of steam and get worn out. Eventually our bodies will exert their control over us and make us sick—thereby forcing us to rest.
You might be like me and think that you can keep piling serving after serving of stress in the guise of projects (or fires) that need to be addressed. But your plate is only so big. It may be bigger or smaller than your mother’s, father’s, child’s or significant other’s plate but it is yours and it can overflow or even break.
The signs may be subtle; your sleep may start to be interrupted or incessant. You may start stuffing your mouth with all manner of food in search of comfort…or you may realize all your clothes are becoming quite loose. Your body might be screaming silently to you by making you tired or being unable to fight that bug that is going around.
Take note when this happens. Take a beat and look at what is draining you. Look at what is unimportant fluff that can be culled. Yes, often the mire is riddled with fires of varying intensity and you may think to yourself “I have to be able to handle all of this.” But you don’t. Focus on the most important thing. The most pressing issue, once that thing is managed move on to the next thing.
This means that sometimes it is necessary to ignore a smoldering ember; to put on blinders. It will be hard. But taking one thing at a time will almost always work to solve the problem. Talking to people reinforces your plate—maybe your support group can even help you devour what’s on it.
Take a look at the mountain of items that are troubling you; what one or two aspects are at the foundation? Work on those things. Often some of the other issues will fall into place after you start working on the crux of the puzzle.
Sometimes it is necessary to ignore the constant stream of input in order to take care of you.