Being Overwhelmed, Stops Me From Sleeping

What works for me, may help you.

I don’t like it when I toss and turn and sleep is just not happening for me. In fact it makes me anxious because I need my sleep and very few people can operate on little sleep. So what did I do? I made myself sit and think, why was it not happening? I am busy by day, I have a lot going on, so I should be tired and ready to fall in to bed and hug my duvet, but no, instead I toss and turn. By trying to work why I was struggling, my lightbulb moment sparked. I had so much to achieve by day and each night I didn’t sleep, added to the next night’s no sleeping and I became overtired. I became overwhelmed, with much happening I felt a lack of control over what I could or couldn’t do. So this is what I did, maybe you can apply what worked for me to your non-sleeping or anxious days and it may well help you.

#1 Write a To-do List I sat and grabbed a sheet of paper and wrote on it all I had to do. From my writing goals to running my house, to visiting family and so on. When I saw how long the list was, I asked myself, do I have to do all this today? Can I spread this out over a few days? What will happen if I don’t succeed in getting all the ironing done? What if I iron for an hour only? What if I phone my friend instead of trying to meet for coffee? Creating my to-do list I wrote five headings above five columns. Job – Priority – Can wait until – Weekday, and Checklist.

Under job, I wrote in what I needed to do. Next, was it a priority? If yes, it really needed to be sorted by the end of the day, then I ticked this column. Moving along, well if it is urgent, nothing goes in, Can Wait Until. Weekday, I filled in Today! If it is a non-urgent job, I would write in the latest day I could leave it until in the, can wait, column. Then the final column was for the end of the week, once I got the job done, I checked it off. Find what works for you, a daily To-do list or a weekly one. Experiment and see which works best. For me, I write up a weekly one, fill it in and then as the week progresses, I alter it. Once the priority tasks are completed, I see what on the Can Wait Until list can now be moved up to priority and so start the process again. By the end of the week, my final checklist column should be full bar one or two tasks. These tasks are then brought forward to the next week and automatically go into Priority.

#2 Kick Guilt Out Until I made the above list in #tip1, I thought I was failing if I didn’t complete everything. This was what bugged me more at night than what I had completed. I needed to change my way of thinking. By looking at the tasks I had completed and saying, well done, a good day’s work, I got into bed smiling. Guilt could go take a hike, a long one, on its own, I wasn’t going with it. I may not have achieved everything I hoped to do, but hey, look at what I did do! Today is today, the world isn’t going to stop turning because I wrote only 500 words instead of the 1500 I said I would. Or I cooked sausage and mash for dinner and not a full roast, I still fed the family didn’t I? Try it, try kicking guilt out.

#3 Steal Time This is another thing I applied to my life. We try to rush around and do so much that we forget to sit and drink the cup of tea we made earlier. Stop! Once you finish a task on your list and you check it off, reward yourself. Take five minutes to go look at the sky, watch the clouds, or listen to some music. Then get working on the next job on the list. In other words, pace yourself and be happy with how you are in control. Not letting tasks overwhelm you, brings more peace of mind, less anxiety and a feeling of being organised. By taking short five mins for yourself during the day, gives you time to draw a breath. Or you might prefer to save all those five mins and use them at the end of the day to soak in a bubble bath, or go to bed early and read, or sit and talk with your partner without worry about tomorrow, because you are in control and you know what is on the agenda. Remember guilt has left and appreciating yourself is now happening.

#4 Say Yes to Help Maybe all the above reads idyllic and you think, easily known this writer hasn’t got small kids under her feet, school runs, or grumpy staff to deal with at the office, or a bad tempered boss, or a job she hates, the list can go on and on, yes? Well I have had small kids, school runs etc., I do know what it is like to be run off your feet and grabbing an apple and a banana for lunch can be a good day, sitting to have a cup of tea is luxury. This is where I say, read the title of this tip. Accepting help is a good thing. It is NOT a sign of weakness nor is it cheating.

Your To-do list will be written with what applies to YOUR life. If a friend offers to pick up your child as they collect theirs from school and this offer would free up time for either you to finish a task you started or simply to sit and have that cup of tea while it is still hot, then accept it and say thank you. Yes, you should offer to repay the kindness by maybe collecting their child on another day. If help isn’t offered to you, ask for it! You know a friend goes for a walk each morning, and you need to get to the Post Office to drop a letter off, they are going by it, why not ask could they drop the mail into the post box for you. People are good. People feel good when helping others, and being asked to help, often means a person feels needed, and they have something to give. Always remember to return favours, don’t be the person that just takes all the time, but you know that, right?

#5 Repeat the Above Tips Once I got my thoughts down on paper and in order, I began to relax. I felt better in myself and accepting I can only achieve so much. I am not wonder woman nor do I want to be. Life is to be enjoyed. To enjoy it, most people need a good night’s sleep. I still get overwhelmed, sometimes when I read my To-do list, but I remind myself, I am in control and by assigning a task a time, I know now I will get through it. If you have read this far, my hope for you is that there is something in this article you can take and adapt into your life that will make you smile at the end of your day or week and be happy with all you achieved.

Stay well and safe.


Published by marytbradford

Family is important to Mary and her writing reflects the ups and downs of it all, and what people go through daily. She has been writing short stories for several years and enjoys success with her fiction in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies both in Ireland and abroad, namely Germany, India, and the US. Her stories have been both short/long listed in various competitions. It was because of this success, Mary took the plunge and self-published her first collection of stories titled, A Baker’s Dozen (2012). When one of her stories kept growing she ended up with her first published novel, My Husband's Sin. This novel turned into a trilogy, with book 2, Don't Call Me Mum, and book 3, No More Secrets following it. Her latest novel, To Live With A Stranger, is based on her Grandmother's country cottage and is a firm favourite with readers. Mary continues to write novels, novellas, and short stories, dabbling too in playwrighting. In 2019, Mary attended the University of Limerick and studied for a MA in Creative Writing, receiving First Class Honours. When taking a break from writing and reading Mary loves to crochet. Living in County Cork, Ireland, she is married and is a mother of four children. Having overcome open heart surgery in 2008, Mary made the decision to dedicate more time to her writing. With her children raised and starting to spread their wings, this became possible. Now, Mary is also a Nana, a role that brings her happiness and lots of love.

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