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  • Writer's pictureJanice Otremba

Overload: The Silent Epidemic That's Screwing With Your Life (And How to Give It the Boot)

Welcome to the age of overload, a time when our brains are fried, our spirits are squashed, and our to-do lists have birthed monstrous to-do lists of their own. It's as if life looked at us one day and said, "You think you're juggling just fine? Here, hold my beer." And boy, did we get served.

Admit It, You're Not a Robot, say it with me I.AM.NOT.A.ROBOT.

First off, let's bust a myth: You're not a robot. Shocking, I know. Despite what your boss, your social media feed, or that overachieving parent at the school meeting might imply, you're flesh and blood, complete with a need for things like sleep, food, and—dare I mention it—fun!

Operating on the assumption that you can do it all is the first step towards a spectacular meltdown. Here's a radical thought: STOP. Just stop. It's time to get real about what's humanly possible and frankly, what’s not. And further to this point, what is humanly possible for YOU—in this moment of your life.

The Art of Saying "No" (Without Apologizing)

First rule of fighting overload? Master the art of saying "No." And no, that doesn't mean mumbling "No, sorry, I just can't because [insert a long-winded excuse here]." It means, "No." Full stop. No apologies, no guilt. It's a complete sentence and a powerful one at that. Think of "No" as your personal shield against the slings and arrows of outrageous demands. It's not about being negative; it's about being selective. Your time isn't up for grabs. It’s finite and it’s yours to allocate, and guess what? You're the boss of it.

Digital Detox: Because You're Not a Cyborg Either

Remember the days when phones were dumb, and people were smart? Good times. Now, we're tethered to our devices like they're our lifelines. Spoiler alert: They're not. It's time to untangle yourself from the digital web and remember what life is like without the screen.

Implement a digital curfew. Give your devices a bedtime, preferably one that allows you to have a real, uninterrupted conversation or read a book made out of paper. Yes, I know… the planet. Your brain will thank you. It is okay to turn your phone off. It is okay to leave it in another room while you sleep (I can hear the collective gasp!). Trust me, there is a lot of research to support this idea and at the very least it will break the habit of grabbing it before your feet hit the floor in the morning.

Prioritize or Perish

Okay, maybe "perish" is a bit dramatic, but you get the point. Not everything that screams for attention deserves it. It's time to become a ruthless prioritizer. What aligns with your goals, values, and sanity? Do that. What doesn't? Drop it like it's hot. This is where clients hear me say (over and over… ahem ad nauseum) trust your gut, listen to your intuition, follow your heart and use your head to get you where you want to go.

This might mean disappointing people. This might mean you’re uncomfortable. GOOD. It means you're doing it right. You're not here to live up to everyone's expectations—just your own, and maybe not even all of those. Give yourself the permission to focus on what genuinely matters—to YOU, and, if you’re in one of those times in life where you don’t know what genuinely matters to you anymore – focus inward. Sit in the void. Make space to figure it out rather than filling your time with more (which we all know is a great technique to avoid ourselves).

Embrace the Joy of "Good Enough"

Perfectionism is a trap—a shiny, seductive trap that promises satisfaction but delivers endless stress. Aim for "good enough" because sometimes, it really is. Your homemade cookies don't need to look like Martha Stewart's. Your report doesn't need to win a Pulitzer. It just needs to get done correctly.

Finding joy in "good enough" is liberating. It's the antithesis of overload. It says, "I'm doing my best, I am doing a good job and that's plenty." And if anyone has a problem with that, refer them to your newly mastered skill of saying "No." Don’t get me wrong. You have to make sure the work you do is correct.

Laugh in the Face of Overload

Finally, remember to laugh—especially at the absurdity of overload. It's ridiculous, when you think about it, how much we try to pile on our plates. Find humour in the chaos. Laughing in the face of overload doesn't just make it bearable; it puts you back in control.

You're not here to be overwhelmed. You're here to live, love, laugh, and occasionally tell the world to take a hike when it gets too demanding. Overload? Pfft.

You’ve GOT this!

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