I currently have 47 podcasts saved to my Google Play. 47! That’s less than I thought I had on there, but still a ridiculous amount. Especially when I look at the amount of episodes many have recorded. Hundreds!
This realization has left me feeling overwhelmed. I’ll never listen to all of those. I don’t have the time. I don’t even think that much time exists. Especially because they keep recording new episodes. And I can’t listen to podcasts for the rest of my life. I also have audiobooks to listen to. And good ol’ fashioned music. Plus I like to read and do other things in which listening to something else would really get in the way.
Then, I start to look at all the books I want to read. And music I want to listen to. And movies I want to watch. And places I want to go. And things I want to do… I’m on the verge of nervous breakdown, Is a “nervous breakdown” even a thing anymore? We probably have a clinical diagnosis for that now, which I should know, since I clinically diagnose, but there’s too much there to even keep up on!
Okay, I’m taking a deep breath.
The amount of information and options out there these days, and access to it, is astronomical. There’s actually a term for this now “choice overload.” Access to too many choices can lead to anxiety and depression.
I’m already someone who wants to know and experience everything that exists. I probably have FOMO to a dangerous degree. The more access I have to “everything,” the more difficult it can become for me to choose. I don’t want to choose only one type of food for dinner; I want tapas, a buffet, or potluck every single night. I don’t want to pick only one location for vacation: I want to traverse the entire world. I don’t want a capsule wardrobe; I want Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s magic closet (Totally dating myself here.).
I’m also a researcher so I can get sucked in for hours trying to figure out the best plan, price, or way to get everything I want, which leaves me with even less time to experience “everything.”
Since I don’t want to miss out and I want to be mentally healthy, I’ve had to set up some guidelines to reign me in when I approach the brink of overwhelm:
I Practice Mindfulness
I notice how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking, what’s around me. I get as present as I can, fully experiencing the moment. When I’m able to be completely present, I more easily make a choice, accept that choice, and happily move on.
I Remind Myself of “Truths”
Sometimes I have to give myself pep talks. “There aren’t any bad choices.” “I can always try that another time.” “Just pick something, anything!” “Maybe reincarnation exists and I have more lifetimes than I realize.”
I Flip a Coin
Throw a dart. Choose from a jar. Or some other version of letting the powers that be decide. I figure out a neutral way to make a choice and just go with it. This saves me time, energy, and usually money, even if I have to pay a little more to begin with. I can always make a different choice later if I want to.
I’ve really been making this a priority lately. Owning less stuff creates more space, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And leads to easier decision making. It isn’t just stuff either. I try to let go of anything that doesn’t feed my soul. People. Experiences. Work projects. When I realize a podcast sucks, I delete it from my list. I don’t care who says it’s amazing. If I’m not into a book within the first couple chapters, sayanora.
I Do What I Have To
I do believe that everything in life is ultimately a choice, but I also recognize that not all choices are created equally. There are just some things in life that aren’t much of a good time. Sometimes we have to do things that are boring or uncomfortable. I’m mindful that most things that are worthwhile still have parts we aren’t super into. I have zero desire to wash dishes or sweep the floor, but I want a clean and comfortable home. I find most of the administrative tasks in my business snooze worthy, but I have to do them to keep doing what I love. So I choose to do them with as much enthusiasm as I can muster. This is where the podcasts come in handy. Or Dateline. I can’t remember the last time I did the dishes without watching Dateline. I can also choose to outsource tasks to someone else.
Of course, all of this is a process. I still get overwhelmed. I still don’t want to let go of things I know I need to. I still don’t want to make the wrong choice. I still want to do, have, and be everything. But it’s becoming easier and my life is far richer than it was when I was overwhelmed by the choices.