Swept-Up-In-Life Syndrome: When You Feel You Can’t Do Anything
As I came to write an article today, as planned after some absence, I reflected upon the made-up phenomenon of what I like to call Swept-up-in-life Syndrome: the very thing which had been keeping me from doing the things that I love (like writing!). After some discussion, I came to find that I am not the only person to experience this bizarre state in which one doesn’t really have all that much to do at all, yet becomes so ‘swept up’ by their own thoughts and preoccupations that everything seems impossible.
Now, I’m know, from experience, that the so-called-by-me Swept-up-in-life Syndrome can be a result of depression and anxiety – there’s the vicious cycle of lack of motivation, followed by fear of not being able to do something, leading to avoidance of doing that thing, and so on. Nevertheless, I have also realised that there are things that I can do about it, and so can you.
1. Identify the problem
Are you generally experiencing a lack of motivation? Are you having an irrational fear of not being able to do what you are perfectly capable of doing? Is there a genuine worry stopping you from doing the thing? Identifying the problem is the only way it can be tackled. On to the next step.
2. Figure out how to tackle that problem
Chances are, you’re already feeling overwhelmed by, well, nothing in particular at this point, but overwhelmed all the same. A good way to tackle your identified problem is to organise it into very small, manageable steps. For example, if concentration is an issue, first be sure to set up an efficient working environment, reading environment etc. before trying to get on with your task or hobby. Or, if there’s something that you’re unsure of in your studies, take a deep breath and decide how to word an email to your tutor asking for help. These things are so simple, yet easily forgotten when Swept-up-in-life Syndrome strikes.
3. Plan to stop it happening again
Once you have successfully completed what you set out to do, it would be great if you could keep up the good work! There are a number of methods for establishing a routine for doing both the things that you need to do and the things that you do for enjoyment. You could decide to set aside an hour to paint. write, draw, *insert hobby here* after dinner, getting home from work etc. You may want to set reminders on your phone or create a poster of the things that you could do to be productive and fulfilled from day-to-day. Setting yourself goals so as to ‘level up’ can also be a way of motivating yourself. Find out what works for you.
Feeling this way is frustrating, but with the right planning and organisation, things can get back to how you’d like them to be.