What to Do When You Feel Like You’re All Over the Place
Athletes lead a hectic lifestyle. Stress, anxiety, non-stop schedules; sometimes you’re left feeling like you’re spinning with no sense of direction, going through the motions, and just all over the place. Maybe you have a lot coming at you at once or you’re on a travel team or you have big decisions to make or you’re prone to anxiety. Regardless of the reasons, you’re not thinking as clearly as possible, which can lead to poor decisions in addition to just not enjoying your life and being happy. So, what can you do?
Ask yourself, what’s really going on?
First and foremost understand that mental health and wellness is something that takes effort. Every individual on this planet has emotions and goes through challenging times. As an athlete, you’re taught to be mentally tough, but that attitude has a time and a place. If you’re saying to yourself, “I have to be tough and ignore anything else to the contrary,” yet you feel like you’re spinning, have racing thoughts, or are just all over the place, there’s obviously something off balance. The first step is to recognize and admit when you’re having a hard time and what it is that you’re struggling with (i.e., feeling like life is out of your control) so you can take the steps to regain mental balance.
Talk to someone.
Have you ever noticed how sometimes when you just talk to someone your thoughts become clearer? If you can communicate what you’re thinking about through an outlet like a mental health coaching session, therapy session, or venting to someone you trust, it can be a significant first step to gaining clarity and feeling balanced. You may even want to try a journaling session. Writing can be very beneficial for gaining clarity. I recommend both because human connection is important while writing can help you get a greater sense of yourself and your thoughts.
Become seated in the moment.
Lots of times when we’re all over the place, it’s because we’re distracted by lots of tiny details that we want to glide through to get to the end result. Or maybe you’re keeping yourself busy to distract yourself from the real issue. You can’t control anything but your action, emotion, and thoughts in any given moment. If you feel your thoughts starting to spin all over the place, give yourself five minutes to take a break and do some deep breathing. Let go of everything just for a few minutes. This will allow you to exit fight or flight mode, which is not only beneficial to your mind and emotions, but it’s also beneficial to your body, which responds negatively to long-term stress.
Release control of others and the outcome.
As an athlete, you have pressure coming at you from all directions, which can make anyone dizzy. If you’re a people pleaser, it’s really easy to get caught up in a million directions trying to satisfy others. If you have trust issues, maybe you feel that if don’t do it yourself, it won’t get done right or you’ll lose. Balancing yourself when you feel scattered and pulled in a million directions requires that you let go of controlling the outcome. There’s a ton of freedom that resides in letting go of the need to be responsible for everyone and everything. You can only do your best at any given moment. Trust that you are making the best decisions and take it one thing at a time.
Whose goals are you really stressing about?
Another piece of releasing control of the outcome is to consider whom you’re making yourself crazy for. It could be that you’re being too hard on yourself or staying extra busy to distract from what you really need to deal with, but sometimes people make decisions and stress over things that really have nothing to do with themselves. If you’re putting pressure on yourself to achieve a goal for someone else, ask yourself this question, do I want that for myself too? It could very well be that the source of your tension is that you’re trying to achieve something for someone else when it’s not something you really want.
Choose one mini-goal and focus on that.
I understand that life is multifaceted and comes at your fast, but in the moment, give yourself a manageable goal like getting through practice. Once you complete one goal, you can move on to the next and be fully present in that task. It’s important that you know what your big goal is (e.g., being the fastest runner on your team), but it’s even more important that you break that goal down into mini-goals that you can focus exclusively on in the moment. Those mini goals might include tasks like reviewing a business plan or doing homework or training a specific muscle group in the gym. The end result then becomes achievable, which may relieve your spinning thoughts.
Take a timeout.
Another way you can help yourself balance out when you feel like you’re all over the place is to take a timeout by yourself. That may seem impossible if you have people who depend on you, but assure yourself that those same people want you to be healthy. Take a little bit of time to yourself. Whether it’s a personal day, an afternoon, or even just a couple of hours to get a massage, give yourself permission to take a timeout and reset. Secondly, try planning an hour or two into your week every week on the same day and time where you will work on your mental health. You can do anything in that time frame that will help bring you peace such as reading, going for a walk, meditating, writing, creating art, or speaking to a mental health professional. The point is to fill that time with what is good for your soul so that you feel like you can breathe.
Feeling completely scattered and spread thin is really not that uncommon these days. From technology to mounting pressure to always do more and be more, it’s easy to get caught on a merry-go-round of stuff that makes you crazy. Life is meant to be enjoyed so go a little easier on yourself and put your mental health and wellbeing first. As always, I invite you to contact me if you want to chat more about your specific situation. You don’t have to figure it out on your own. Everyone needs a little help from someone now and then.