I am stressed out.

Establishing a career and learning to pay bills and take care of my most basic human needs (like eating at least one vegetable every six or seven days) is extremely overwhelming. I don’t know how any gal can be expected to be responsible for all the things required of a grown up and manage to put together a fashionable outfit or even show up anywhere with washed hair. That seems like too much to me. There comes a point each week when I take a second and realize just how much stress I’m experiencing, AND that I have created all of it with my own dumb brain.

It’s not good. Worrying about doing things does not equal doing them. Contrary to popular belief, stress is not a replacement for purpose. Being overwhelmed by tasks that need finishing does nothing for your mind or spirit except make you very tired. Productivity, when not managed correctly, can come at a huge mental, emotional, and physical price. The problem with stress is that by the time you realize that it has crept up on you once again, you’re already infected! Then it’s basically a race against your own brain to avoid becoming trapped in an endless loop of stress about how stressed you are, which in turn makes you stressed, which you then stress about, which… you get it.

One of the greatest lessons I have to learn in life is finding ways to manage my own anxiety about getting things accomplished. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Step One: Slow Down and Take A Breath
JUST BREATHE!!!! Take one breath, and then take another breath. You’re doing it anyway, without even thinking. Take the time to concentrate on what your body is doing for itself to stay alive; It’s so calming to know that my body is doing all the heavy lifting of keeping me alive, and I don’t have to tell it how to do anything.

Step Two: Say FUCK IT and shake your fists at the sky.
A two-fisted shake indicates an almost insurmountable level of stress. Primal screaming encouraged.

Step Three: Have A Cry
When feeling overwhelmed, it is A-OK and even encouraged to let a few tears tumble down your cheeks onto whatever project you’re working on (I’m crying onto my keyboard RIGHT NOW!). Letting out your frustration through crying can help you move on.

Step Four: Come to the conclusion that none of this really matters
We’re all trying to find interesting ways to fill the time between now and death (I just got really stressed out about mortality…). Basically, THE END IS NIGH, so why place so much stock in the number of things you’re able to accomplish in a day? Wouldn’t you rather be rested, happy, and proud of the things you’re putting into the world? You’re going to need to recognize what is and is not important and delegate the right tasks to yourself in order to appreciate what you’ve got and what you’re working towards. Bail HARD on everything else.

Step Five: Take A Sexy Break
Drape yourself in some soft, translucent fabrics and float around your apartment, whisper-singing your best approximation of Bon Iver’s ethereal timbre. To get your mind off of life’s troubles, indulge in an exploration of your own glorious figure by giving yourself an orgasm or five (six will give you a headache) (BRB).

Step Six: Don’t Whine, Drink Wine
Who can be overwhelmed with a glass of wine in her hand? Not you! Unless you’re at some sort of snooty art gallery opening or book club meeting where you haven’t even cracked open the book you’re discussing (A Prayer To Owen Meany is about robots, right?), just put mother nature’s sweet sweet lifeblood straight down your gullet and let it take care of everything (for a bit) (we’re not talking about hangovers, they are stressful).

Step Seven: Read The News
Open up your NY Times app and peruse the articles for 20-30 minutes. There are so many things going on in this world that are far more important than the things you’re juggling. After you reset your self-centred compass, refer back to step one because like, it’s stressful to read the news! Do you KNOW what is going on in this world??! Mostly bad stuff, guys. Mostly bad stuff.

The most productive people are those who are able to use the tasks they’re performing or pieces they’re creating as a means to move forward. If you’re piling on so many things that you aren’t able to give each task the time and focus it deserves, then you aren’t doing anything that will make much of a difference in the long run. The most valuable endeavours to attach yourself to are the ones that require your undivided attention because the challenge they present offers you the opportunity to learn and grow. There is no challenge too small when it comes to this.