You know those moments when you just have to take a step back and breathe so you don’t absolutely lose your MARBLES because you have so many things to worry about? That’s where I’m at right now. Growing up, I was always the type of person who thrived in chaos. My senior year of high school, I was taking 3 AP courses along with 2 other difficult courses (my only “blow-off” was choir—but I didn’t even treat that like a blow-off), playing two lead roles in musicals an hour away from each other, getting ready for college, and totally, 100% killin’ it.
Now, I’m taking 2 online courses (neither of which are even that difficult), going to an internship once a week, starting a part-time job to rake in extra cash on the weekends, and totally, 100% losing it. What gives? It seems like this schedule should be way easier to deal with than the one I had 5 years ago or even 6 months ago. The difference, though, is all in my state of mind.
Little tasks become significantly harder to balance when you let anxiety take the reins. Over the past year and a half, my anxiety has become more generalized, making everyday, mundane situations seem enormously stressful. In high school, I only had panic disorder, meaning that, while a panic attack could happen at any given moment, I was typically pretty even-keeled. Now, the prospect of leaving my house in the morning seems overwhelming. I’ve been spending more time attending to self-care (read: cooking, writing, and not talking to anyone) than anything else.
I’ve found that the key to managing this feeling—without becoming a shut-in or backing out of every obligation—is to remember a bit of advice that my younger, but often wiser, best friend gave to me.
“How do you eat an elephant?” she’ll ask. She waits with an expectant look until you sigh and ask, “How?” Her response: “One bite at a time.”
I refer back to this almost every single day, and while it hasn’t rid me of my anxiety entirely, it certainly helps me breathe a bit easier. Looking at the big picture, my life is pretty overwhelming. I’m two weeks from graduating, I have thousands of dollars in impending loan debt, I’m burned out on inconsequential part-time jobs but have to retain one in order to support myself, and I have no idea what my life is going to look like 3 months from now. Not a damn clue.
But part of the art of balance is learning to embrace that uncertainty. Learning to let go, even just a little bit, and letting life play out in front of you. Learning to be an audience member rather than a director, if you will. And if there are moments where you still feel out of control and terrified and overwhelmed, then allow those moments to happen. Allow yourself that fear. It’s all part of growing up, and when you come out on the other side, you will remember that fear and anxiety, and feel so grateful that you ended up where you are. Just trust the process.
On this Wellness Wednesday (the best day!) I’m giving you a recipe for those moments when you start to let self-care fall by the wayside. You can quadruple this recipe and have breakfast all week. Having a meal to look forward to is such a small but crucial component of feeling normal when everything feels like it’s falling apart. If you want, you can just use the base recipe and switch up the toppings so you have something different every day. The options are endless, really. I’ll include some suggestions at the end of the recipe if you’re fresh out of ideas. How do you manage when you feel overwhelmed?
Blueberry, Apricot & Almond Overnight Oats
Prep Time: 5 mins + 4 hours inactive | Serves: 1
- 1/3 cup rolled oats (not quick or steel-cut)
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I usually use plain, but vanilla would also work)
- 1/3 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened coconut)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup blueberries
- 1 small apricot, chopped
- 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
- Combine oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, pinch of salt, yogurt, milk, maple syrup/honey, and vanilla extract in a medium jar or small bowl. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Top with blueberries, apricot, and almonds. Stir together and enjoy!
- Strawberries, banana slices, and chocolate chips
- Lemon zest and a little spoonful of cream cheese (this will not be healthy but it’ll taste like lemon cheesecake. Trust.)
- Cocoa powder, banana slices, and peanut butter
- PB&J (any kind of J works, really)
- Pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and nutmeg (pairs well with giant sweaters)
- Pineapple, mango, and shredded coconut
- Espresso powder, chocolate chips, and extra sweetener
- Grated carrots, grated apples, raisins, and walnuts (carrot cake!)
- Dark chocolate and pomegranate
- Apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg