At least once a week, someone will say to me something about being overwhelmed. They are not sleeping or they are sleeping restlessly. They have less patience. They are frustrated, maybe even acting more aggressive than usual. I hear this from all walks of life: Friends, family, child and adolescent clients, adult clients. We are all living a world of to-do lists and not-enough-time.
I’ve found myself using the words “empty your head” when strategizing how to feel better. Sometimes we do that simply by making a list… and crossing things off of it. Other times we may talk to each other, our significant others, our friends. And other times we just hold onto it until our next therapy session where we release it and leave it behind.
Even middle schoolers will say they feel worried; not yet used to the “anxiety” jargon. Full of “what ifs” that they just can’t seem to quiet, especially at night. I’ve jokingly explained to my clients that there are two types of people in the world: Those that can sit and watch a television show and do nothing else but watch, and those that appear to be watching but are at the same time thinking about something other than the show, possibly something trivial, but still not fully focused.
Has this become more common in our fast-paced world where multi-tasking is expected? Or are we just now able to put it more clearly into words? My guess is a combination of both. So think about how you empty your head. What works? For how long? Does a quick run outside help, or perhaps making time for a cup of coffee with a friend? However you do it, congratulations.