The Irrational Mind

4 Steps To Break Your Day Into Bite-Sized Pieces When You’re Overwhelmed

My husband and I bought a house this week, and most of my energy has been put into the move. Of course, I still have other responsibilities as well.

Unfortunately, my depression is having a flare-up this week.

I’m sure many of you have had to deal with pressing commitments while your mental health was not at peak capacity. I’ve found that breaking my duties into bite-sized pieces is very helpful to ensure that I still accomplish things while not completely overwhelming myself.

1. Write your to-do list

I know, the very idea of a to-do list can be overwhelming when you are already overwhelmed. Just get it down on paper right now. Currently, my list looks like this:

  • Update auto policy address
  • Update tax forms with work
  • Call radon inspector to come out
  • Go to notary to update bank account
  • Update address for the MVA
  • Renew passport
  • Finish unpacking
  • Household chores

2. Prioritize your list

Yup, I’m overwhelmed looking at my list. It could be worse (at least I don’t have children yet!), but it’s still enough for me right now.

You don’t have to do everything at once. Some things can wait or be delegated. My passport doesn’t expire until June, and, with the purchase of the house, we’re unlikely to leave the country any time soon anyway. Many things can be taken care of via email, like updating my tax forms with work and even updating my address with the Maryland department of motor vehicles.

The dishes piled in my sink, however, need to be washed. The laundry needs to be done. We need food for dinner tonight.

3. Delegate

Delegating can be to future you or to your significant other. I’m probably going to delegate (ha, more like “politely request”) my husband to take care of calling the radon inspector and updating our auto insurance policy. He may come back with a longer list than I have though, and then I’ll figure out which future me (Friday me? Monday me?) will be in charge of those tasks.

4. Make your “To-Day” list

If I try to tackle my entire list today, I will fail. I know this. My brain and body can’t handle it right now. Not ¬†only will I fail, but I will avoid doing anything at all because my all-or-nothing mentality is currently fighting against my rational brain. So I’m choosing “household chores” as my primary goal for the day. That’s entirely too vague, however, so I’ve broken it down into even more palatable pieces:

  • Make bed
  • Sweep
  • Do dishes
  • Do laundry (and figure out how new washer and dryer work….)
  • Buy coffee (from roaster, so separate from groceries)
  • Buy groceries

After I’m finished writing this post, I will probably do those things in the order I wrote them above. Your mileage may vary, but it gives me a solid list to stick to.

How do you tackle mundane things when you are stressed, anxious, or depressed?

overwhelmed

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