Nomalanga: What To Do When Your Life Overwhelms You


overwhelmedBy Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

My life has constantly overwhelmed me and I continue to work at finding new ways to get a better handle on everything. Lately, though, I have arrived at yet another level of understanding about how to overcome being overwhelmed. It is simple but it is not always easy, especially in the beginning.

Imagine, if you will, you need to go to the bathroom but you don’t. As more and more time passes, the need to go to the bathroom increases until it becomes so urgent that everything that you do is shadowed by the urgency of the need to go to the bathroom. When you finally go, hopefully accident free (LOL!!!), you emerge with a sense of relief and and a new appreciation for functioning without that level of urgency.

The key to managing your life, is to recognize the “bathroom needs” in your life; let’s call them major priorities. For me, my spiritual life is first and foremost and I have learned that when I neglect this area of my life, it colors everything. I begin to be the wife from h*e*ll (LOL!!), my children seem to drain my energy, my work seems like a burden and I start to have self defeating thoughts that vary from “you’re fat and ugly” to “you will never accomplish your goals”. Of course these are lies, but when they arrive in an exhausted and spiritually undernourished body and mind, they have a chance at making a home for themselves.

For you, your “bathroom need” may be similar to mine, or my other ones; my marriage, my children and my platform, or maybe not. The truth is that whatever is important to you and is a priority to you has to be given the time that it needs, otherwise it can create chaos in your life. Don’t let other people and their priorities crowd out yours.

The way we neglect our priorities varies; sometimes it’s just getting too busy, or procrastinating (fear) and then ending up so busy that we don’t even have time to sort through what we should and should not be doing in all that busyness. The result, for a lot of women, is that we end up overworked, overwhelmed and eventually we can even become resentful. Sometimes the busyness is created by trying to please everybody and the truth is that some times you have to JUST SAY “NO”. The way that I have learned to say “no” is that I always ask myself if whatever is being asked of me is more important than my family and my other priorities or if it aligns with them. If it aligns with them, then it is a maybe. If it doesn’t, then the answer is “no”.

As your life progresses, and you go through different ages and stages, your priorities will shift and maybe even change, but it’s important to be clear about what they are and be loyal and faithful to them. Helping others is a noble thing but if helping others means that you throw your life (and that of your family members  or co-workers, business associates etc) into chaos, then it is actually not noble; it is unwise.

I have a love and passion for what I do and that includes helping other women with many different aspects of their lives. Doing my best to live a full, balanced and healthy lifestyle not only benefits me, and my loved ones, but it makes me a better role model, life strategist, employer, employee and woman.

If your life is overwhelming you, you need to stop everything! Yes, everything. Go back to the drawing board and ask yourself what is important to you. Write it down and then begin to say “no” to everything else. People will whine, complain, try to make you feel guilty etc. Some will criticize and judge, blame and even demand things. It won’t be easy in the beginning, but you must stay true and faithful to what is important. Wo-man up! Your life depends on it.

Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter


1 Comment

  1. Phillip Battle on

    Well stated example (bathroom) of how necessary it is for one to get in touch with their spirituality-as well as getting rid of all the negativity that litters ones life– to many emotional pulse are being exploited by family and friends whereby one can become accustomed to putting themselves on the back burner- and possibly delaying the advancing of ones goals.

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