Sometimes You Just Get Overwhelmed

Y’all, I may have finally over-committed myself. I always love to have a very full life, but I’m starting to feel a bit of the anxiety that always comes along with too much fullness. I’ve become fairly good at recognizing this feeling quickly, but there’s not a lot I can do to reduce my commitments over the next few weeks. A few of them will fall off in mid-June and then I’ll be ready for some fun and also for some regular writing… which is fun!

But in the meantime, yesterday I accidentally put one of my earrings in my second piercing hole which I haven’t used since 2007 and I didn’t notice that I was uneven until the end of the day.

So, I can’t change the number of commitments I have, but I can stop trying to cram in any more stuff… I can also use my limited free time to engage in a little self-care and limit the anxiety.

Ways to Deal With Being Overwhelmed

Cleaning
girl cleaning
Stock Image belongs to an Atlanta cleaning company and was the least sexy cleaning picture I could find. Troubling.
This idea probably seems counter-intuitive – cleaning is work! Work is stressful! Aren’t we trying to reduce stress!?
Well, yes, but… I don’t know about you, but when I’m busy, cleaning is always the first thing to go. Not the daily stuff like dishes, but I develop a really bad habit of just dropping and going, and the regular maintenance stuff like vacuuming and dusting just disappears. Right now, my room looks like a tornado went through it and it is incredibly stressful every time I go into it. For me at least, if I could spend half an hour setting things right, that would crazy enhance my mental state. I’m thinking sometime on Saturday…

Meal Planning
meal prep
Image of meal prep belongs to Fit Mommy via Pinterest
Nothing is worse than knowing you have an hour to dash home, eat dinner, then get back out the door again for another commitment… and you have no idea what to eat. Either you have no food at home or stuff that takes actual preparation which then leads to the added stress of wasting food/money. The amount of times I’ve either spent $20 picking up sushi like the rich person I am not (SkiptheDishes is dangerous!) or just had Mr. Noodle with peanut butter for dinner…
Right now, I’m doing Fit Girl’s Guide 28 Day Jumpstart and it is a godsend. I don’t have to think at all, they lay out the shopping and prep, and the meals are quick and tasty.
Let someone else do the hard part for you and focus your mental energy on the rest of your life.

Treat Yo’ Self
treat yo self
Image is obvious, isn’t it? Please!
Like, at least a little bit. Find something in your week that you can do just for you.
Love “Game of Thrones”? Carve yourself out an hour per week so you don’t fall behind on your show. (You know you’ll get spoiled if you do!)
Cherish your solo podcast time? Multi-task it… listen while you’re driving, take a walk in the sun with headphones, lock everyone out of the kitchen and listen while you cook.
Want some wine? Well… yeah, why not?

Vitamin D
walking Actually, regardless of if you like podcasts or not, get out to take a little walk and a little sun (or fresh air at least) daily. Even 15 minutes will do a world of good… and if I can find 15 minutes in my day to get outside, you can too.

Instant Forgiveness This is something we practice in theatre but it’s good advice when you are overwhelmed too. Sometimes you’ll do what you consider to be “screwing up”. You may pick up McDonald’s instead of following your meal plan. You may forget to leave time for a run. You may have to cancel plans because you just need a night at home. Don’t beat yourself up about any of these things. It’s not a screw up, it’s just human and so are we.

Even though I’m using a lot of “you”s in this post, this is a just a sampling of the things that work for me when I’m overwhelmed. What are your best tips for dealing with the times where you’re just a little (or just a lot) overwhelmed?

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

desdemona
Sometimes you see a show that takes you completely by surprise. For me, Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) was that show.

I read it in university. I’m certain I read it in university – it’s a Canadian play. It was written by Ann-Marie MacDonald (yes, the author of Fall on Your Knees) in 1988 long before Fall On Your Knees. As director Kate Newby remarks in her Director’s Note, it explores a seemingly endless list of important historical, cultural and political themes. I apparently own two copies of this play. I absolutely read this play in university… and I don’t remember doing so at all, except a vague recollection that “this play seems kind of odd”.

My vague recollection is completely wrong.

This production of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) (a co-production between The Shakespeare Company, Hit & Myth and the newly re-branded Handsome Alice Theatre) absolutely proves the common refrain that plays are meant to be seen and not read. The show is equal turns clever, thought-provoking and downright hilarious.

The production also lands on so many levels. Though Shakespeare fans will have a million “Oh! I get it! I’m so clever!” moments (much of the show is written in iambic pentameter and MacDonald skillfully weaves actual Shakespearean dialogue into her own), the absolutely clear intentions and communication on the part of the five actresses in the show coupled with adept physical comedy allows audience members of any background to enjoy the show.

Oh yes, did I mention? The cast of Goodnight Desdemona is five powerhouse female actors – a virtual “who’s who” of young lady actors in Calgary – who play everything from a Henry V style “Chorus” (Julie Orton) to a swaggering Tybalt (Mabelle Carvajal) to Juliet (Genevieve Pare) and Desdemona (Allison Lynch) themselves. (Each of the aforementioned actors plays at least three different characters and it is never any doubt at all who they are. Stunning.) At the centre of it all, is Ayla Stephen as Constance Ledbelly, an academic who falls into the worlds of two of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies as she tries to sort out the truth of the plays and the truth of herself. Ayla and I attended university together, so I’ve seen her play a dizzying array of different roles, but she really does shine when she gets to play a fish-out-of-water and lean into her comedic side. She, and, actually, all the ladies in this show, can communicate more with a facial expression than the average person can with a whole speech.

I generally wait until shows close to write about them, but in this case, I couldn’t wait. Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) runs until May 21, 2016 and absolutely everyone should go see it. I’ve done my best not to spoil any plot elements, but I genuinely think I could go see the show again tonight and enjoy it just as much as I did the first time even knowing how it ends. Tell your friends, get a girl (or guy) squad together, grab your lover or guilt your mom into hanging out with you and take in this show before it closes. Tickets can be purchased by visiting The Shakespeare Company’s website.

(Note: I was not compensated in any way for writing this blog post. I just really really liked the play and want everyone I know to go see it so I can talk to them about it.)

April Wrap-Up

British Museum
Y’all, it feels like it’s been months and months since I wrote a monthly wrap up post. There have been so many different things to happen in the month of April that I cannot believe it’s only been 30 days. Also, they are painting the offices at my work and it is making my allergies act up like whoa, so my mind isn’t exactly all here either. I’m a little worried about the day after they paint my physical office. #firstworldproblems, am I right?

Overall Month Rating
A. It has been absolutely beautiful week and today there was free pizza at work, but I swear I’m not blinded by that. This month I went to London with my baby brother, I maybe sourced a fun little way to make some extra money during the summer, I started rehearsals for an incredibly fun play… and I found a roommate for the summer. Yes, it’s only for four months, but I think it will be so much easier trying to find a roommate for September than for February and it warms my heart to help out an endearing little college student for the summer.

Highlight of the Month
Can I just say all of London? If I have to narrow it down, seeing In the Heights in the King’s Cross Theatre or our Yeoman Warder tour at The Tower of London were definitely hugely great days/moments.

Lowlight of the Month
I NPC’ed a 12+ hour long LARP event the day after returning from London. I love LARP, but that was a poor choice. I took two fairly lengthy naps during the event, on a couch in a room that houses some sort of childcare/child playroom/child thing and that is never a recipe for waking up and feeling good about your life and your choices.

Number of Workouts Completed
Okay, it may have been an ambitious choice to loudly state that I was going to start a Couch to 5K on a month that included a two week trip to a place full of cider, fish and chips, and museums. That definitely did not happen. There was also a two week break from barre during the trip… but I sure did complete a ton of steps daily while trying to save money on the Underground. I’ve also kept up the soothing morning yoga.

Number of Plays Watched
Well, I’ve been pretty open about seeing three rad plays in London…

Number of Movies Watched
In theatres – 0. All my money was ear-marked for London this month!
At home/on the airplane – 8. When you are determined to kill jetlag, you can watch an awful lot of movies on an airplane. (However, it didn’t work. Maybe I’m getting old?) We also watched Hot Fuzz approximately two times (in various bits and pieces) over our time in London, caught Clueless while exhausted one night and on our second last morning of our trip, we enjoyed a bit of a lazy morning and plugged the tablet into the tv to enjoy Frozen on Netflix with a morning cider.

Number of Dates I Took Myself On
Just one! I agreed to drive Bryan and Darci to an event so they could drink and, while they were in the event, I took myself for a petite dinner and reading date. Naturally, it was awesome. (It also led to my potential opportunity for the summer.)

Best New Food Discovery
Jacket potatoes are super a thing in London, I realized. Lots of pubs had a lengthy list of different jacket potato fillings you could select from and there were even street vendors that offered ones to purchase and eat on the go. One night, while dying for a little comfort food, I enjoyed a jacket potato with tuna and mayo stuffed in it. You can guarantee that I will be whipping one of those bad boys up on a lazy winter Thursday night.

Best New Culture Discovery
Anne Perry’s Inspector Thomas Pitt series of historical mysteries. This is really more of a re-discovery, as I read and started ideally collecting the series in paperback when I was in university and always needed a paperback book to stash in my bag for transit. When I was in London, though, I kept recognizing street names from the titles of her books and now I am devouring these books like crazy. Twisty and turn-y mystery plots, an accurate Victorian London landscape, awesome and complex female characters (Thomas’ eventual wife Charlotte is arguably the main character of series) and a quirky cop as the title character all come together to create a light, entertaining read that doesn’t make you feel like you have a sugar hangover.

Best Book Read
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I’m a sucker for anything zombie, but this book approaches it in such an interesting way. It’s obvious that there are zombies, but it isn’t about zombies, per say. When the book finished, I knew it was over, I knew the story that needed to be told had been told, but I still wanted a sequel. This book is equal turns eerie, thought-provoking and heartbreaking. Please read it.

A note: I feel a little bit awkward writing this post without acknowledging the fires in Fort McMurray. At the same time, I’m not sure exactly what to say. It’s sort of similar to the Calgary floods of 2013 for me – though I knew very few people directly affected by the floods (many of my friends were evacuated briefly but their homes were safe), it was ever present in everyone’s world and we were all affected. That’s sort of how the fires are flitting around the edge of my world. An absolutely lovely woman that I work with recently moved down from Fort Mac and I will be supporting her and the friends/family that are fleeing down to her. Please educate yourself on what is happening to our neighbours in the north and what you can do for them to help out the most.