Have you ever had one of those times when part of your life is all-consuming?
I’m in that position right now.
Since starting my new job last October I have been consumed with work.
There are lots of things that can overtake our lives. Certainly, not all of them are bad.
Being a new parent is a classic example. For many it’s a joyous, wonderful time (yet all-consuming none the less).
Some other examples could be working on a major project, starting your own business, dealing with a failing or new relationship or looking after a loved one who is sick.
There is a multitude of reasons that one particular part of your life could be overshadowing everything else.
A problem arises when the all-consuming part starts affecting your life in a negative way.
If you are depressed, angry, frustrated, sad, exhausted or downright miserable than that part of your life is causing damage.
How do we step back from the parts of our lives that are taking over?
Important Note – I am not a medical professional or trained therapist. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety or suspect you may be suffering from a mental illness, please contact a medical professional.
Here are my tips on what to do when a particular part of your life is all-consuming.
Be aware of the issue
You can’t fix a problem if you are unaware that there is an issue in the first place.
If your life is falling apart around the seams (or at least feels that way) you need to be able to see it and be aware.
Often when something in our lives is all-consuming we tend to develop bad habits. Bad habits that unfortunately stick around.
Take working back late at work as an example. In a business culture where everyone works back regularly, you start to view it as a normal practice. You don’t even realize it’s a problem that you are no longer spending enough time with your spouse, children or friends.
Just because it’s viewed as normal, doesn’t mean it’s not a problem.
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Start with baby steps
As much as we may be tempted to take some radical steps to change our situation, big steps aren’t always possible.
Instead, start with some small steps. Small steps may feel insignificant at first but they can lead to significant progress in the long run. The point is to start somewhere at opening your life up to other priorities.
Overall it’s about setting up healthier habits and boundaries.
Have other things to talk about
A big problem with one part of your life being all-consuming is that it can sometimes limit your conversations.
If work is the issue we find ourselves talking about work all of the time. If you have a new baby all of your conversations might evolve around babies. This is all fine and good up to a point. It definitely depends on the company you keep and who you are talking to.
It could also mean you are boring the hell out of people. Try to keep your conversations more well-rounded even when you are consumed with a particular topic.
Try to find time to read up on current events or take in a movie. Do something (preferably fun) that will give you something else to talk about.
Related post – How to Have a Two-Way Conversation
Have people to talk to (but choose them wisely)
We all need someone to confide in. We all need friends and loved ones to share our thoughts, feelings, and concerns with.
Who you talk to is important. I’ve seen this happen within families when family problems or illness are all-consuming. Often it is important to confide in people outside of the situation.
I can’t stress this enough, particularly on the family front. Don’t complain about a family member to another family member (even if they are whining about that person themselves).
People talk and more than likely anything unpleasant you say will come back to bite you later, which will only make the whole situation worse.
Take a giant leap
Occasionally we do have the opportunity to take a big leap and totally change our circumstances.
I mentioned the small steps above, but sometimes only a big leap will do.
Weigh up your options wisely and then take the plunge.
Go all out!
As mentioned not all consuming situations are bad. Many are wonderful.
When you find yourself in the position of being consumed by something fabulous – go for it!
If it involves following your passion, achieving your goals or going after something you really want, dive right in and have a ball!
Have you experienced a time when something took over your life for all the wrong reasons or for all the joyous right ones?
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