How Urgency Can Help You Counteract the Toll of Emotional Overwhelm

In the last two years, all of us have dealt with emotional overwhelm, whether it stemmed from the pandemic, financial concerns, the political climate, the actual climate, or some combination of these. Overwhelm breeds an unconscious (or conscious) need to unplug that can easily turn into a bit of mental laziness, which ultimately means we’re not tapping into our full potential to confront issues and solve problems. 

I can’t help but wonder if overwhelm and the toll it can take is impacting our willingness to dig into the hard choices, tasks, and conversations we all know we need to tackle, but seem to be avoiding. 

Strategize to Refocus Energy

This isn’t to say that you don’t need downtime; however, if you’ve taken the time to recharge and still notice that you’ve been experiencing mental weariness or are avoiding tackling difficult challenges, deep thinking, or hard conversations, you may be experiencing something deeper. 

Ultimately, this kind of lethargy can become a crutch that relates to our desire for a simple solution in a world and time when nothing is ever simple. It causes us to slip into a mentality that defers to the path of least resistance. True excellence, however, comes from deep thought, concerted effort, clear choice, and a willingness to disrupt and/or reorganize. Remember, if you choose everything, you choose nothing. 

If you’ve gathered evidence of mental laziness or weariness in your life, it’s time to strategize to refocus your energy. Be willing to experiment with how you spend your thoughts and consider your priorities. But act with urgency — if your house was on fire, you wouldn’t not have time to call 9-1-1. Assign a similar level of urgency to address and improve your wellness by actively recharging your mental batteries. 

5 Ways to Reduce Mental Weariness

Here are five ways to recharge and reduce mental weariness: 

  1. Take care of your body: Unhealthy habits like eating junk food, having poor hygiene, getting little sleep, and living a sedentary lifestyle contribute to mental laziness. Start incorporating exercise into your daily life in small ways, getting more sleep whenever possible, and eating fewer processed foods. 
  2. Determine your formula for inspirationBeing inspired requires us to tap into a personal formula and find what reacts with us, our goals, and our values. Some people need to go on a bit of a journey of discovery first. For those who already have a sense of what inspires them, it’s time to recommit and reinforce. 
  3. Avoid multitasking: We’re inclined to believe that multitasking saves time, but it’s often the result of mental laziness or an unwillingness to commit fully to the task at hand. It promotes a kind of intellectual auto-pilot. Instead, try to fully activate your brain on one topic or responsibility at a time. Time blocking, for example, is a great way to create focus. 
  4. Build momentum: Start building momentum by making and crossing off smaller goals. Like a domino effect, as you achieve each goal, the brain releases chemicals like oxytocin that help the brain focus on the next task. Another way to generate momentum is to find 20-30 minutes a day to commit to the thing that requires your deepest attention; allow the power of your progress to snowball. Tap into what works for you by thinking back to other times you’ve been able to gather momentum. 
  5. Talk it out: Mental laziness can begin as the kind of sluggish thinking that comes hand-in-hand with depression. It also stems from fear — most notably, a fear of tapping back into the overwhelm, panic, or burnout that led you here in the first place. If you’re not comfortable talking with a professional therapist, reach out to a trusted friend, mentor, or family member. 

Counteract the Toll of Emotional Overwhelm

The chaos of these last two years has triggered a lot of unexpected consequences. On top of emotional overwhelm and burnout — and in some cases because of them — mental weariness or laziness is running rampant. Realistically, we’ve all been through some level of trauma, or at least an upheaval of how we viewed the world, and with that comes shock. But if we continue to live inside the daze, allowing mental laziness to get the better of our goals, plans, and resolutions, we’ll never reach our truest potential. It’s right there waiting for us, we just need to put in the steps.