Today was a rough day mentally. It was not a day of big presentations or major deadlines. There were no patients for me to see in the hospital or in clinic. There were open hours on my schedule to work on incomplete projects, to brainstorm solutions, to be effective and efficient. Today should have been a fantastic, productive day.
But, it wasn't.
Instead, my mind was racing so fast it felt like a race car moving too fast to make the curve. Feeling the forces pull you straightforward as you fight to turn the wheel and correct the course. Veering slightly up onto two wheels, sensing the impending doom of the crash that hasn't yet happened yet. The race of feeling overwhelmed.
There are so many emails to send, papers to complete, research protocols to write, posts to draft, meetings to schedule. And that's just part of the list. Add in the mountains of laundry exploding after a week with a broken washing machine, the grocery shopping needed to fill the empty fridge, the....yes, the list in my mind just goes on, round and round. Veering dangerously close to a crash.
I felt overwhelmed by the list and paralyzed my the distractions within my mind. Except, amidst this, a vague reminder whirs through of reading something about overwhelm not too long ago. The idea that feeling overwhelmed was a choice.
I can choose to feel overwhelmed, or I can choose to manage the list in my mind to allow my brain to calm down so I can tackle some of the work I need to do. I WANT to do.
This is where the mental dump comes in. For me, a mental dump is going old-school with a paper and pen to create a list of EVERYTHING in my mind without trying to organize it or judge it. Tasks, ideas, thoughts, memories. I might write something twice because it entered my mind twice during the process. Writing every thought until the race slows to the pace of leisurely Sunday drive and then ultimately rolls to a slow stop a few mere minutes after I have started.
When I set the pen down, my mind is quiet. I can look at the list and the decide how to manage the tasks because my mind no longer has to worry about forgetting those thoughts, it is all recorded. There is no overwhelm left, simply a list. The result of making a choice to say no to existing in a state of overwhelm.
Overwhelm serves no beneficial purpose. It is an enemy of both joy and productivity. Choose something else. Try a mental dump or find a different strategy that works for you, so when you start to think you are feeling overwhelmed, you have a plan of attack.
Life is short, dreams are big. There is no time to waste within overwhelm.
Write it ALL Down