Adulting is hard. Anxiety makes it harder. It almost feels like no matter how many obstacles you conquer, another mountain immediately arrives. Your to-do list feels endless. However, you know you can’t back down if you want to accomplish your goals.
Completing this never-ending list of adult tasks isn’t easy. When I was first experiencing adulting anxiety in full swing after college, the strategy I was using to completing my goals wasn’t working. I needed to find a solution to conquering the anxiety and stress.
I developed a few habits that were extremely effective. Of course, these tactics don’t completely alleviate stress and anxiety forever, but they certainly help keep my emotions under better control, allowing myself a clearer head for making decisions and taking action.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to share some of these techniques and strategies for conquering stress and anxiety from adulthood that can help you accomplish your goals and feel less overwhelmed.
Create One Huge Long Term To-Do List
If you’re like me and have numerous long-term goals and tasks that you need to complete and can barely keep track, first just write everything down. Throw all of it on the table and get it out of your head. It’s overwhelming at first, but keep in mind that you don’t need to conquer everything now. This will only be used as a reference and a way to organize your thoughts. You can write your master list on paper or in a traditional notebook, or you can use an online project manager such as Trello or Asana. Both are great ways to jump-start your organization and lower your stress levels for keeping track of everything going on in your life.
Plan to Accomplish Two Small Goals a Day
Right before you fall asleep, write down two tasks you plan on completing the next day that contribute to the goals on your master to-do list. These activities will be as big or small as you desire. Simply plan for two things you know you can accomplish the next day without feeling overwhelmed.
I used to write lengthy to-do lists for each of my days off, but felt terrified of the amount of work I promised myself to do and often would end up accomplishing absolutely nothing. Breaking everything down to as little as two or three tasks a day is less daunting than a long list of chores. If you finish your two smaller goals and want to continue, by all means, do as much as you want! Just don’t burn yourself out to the point where you don’t want to do ANYTHING the next day.
Find a Breathing Technique to Calm Sudden Anxiety
One of the most common pieces of advice you’ll find in any anxiety article is to focus on breathing. Whether it’s deep, steady breaths or counting to five, finding a breathing pattern that works best for you can come in handy for unexpected anxiety attacks. I’ve used this specific technique in the past when I’ve felt like I was going to suddenly break down in public. It definitely helped!
Know Everything is Going to Work Out
With so much on your plate, you may sometimes forget what you’re working towards. Friends and family can remind you that even though now is tough, it really will work out. Whether the result is what you expected or something entirely different, I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. You would not be where you are in life now if it weren’t for the challenges you’ve faced in the past.
If you don’t have someone to remind you, I’ll be your reminder. Everything will be okay. Repeat it to yourself. Breathe. You are okay. You are going to come out of this stronger than ever. If you ever need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to me through email (firstname.lastname@example.org), on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Us twenty-somethings are in this together, figuring out one day at a time. We can do this. I know we can.