Premium- Very Serious: An Advice Column By Kelly Conaboy -Very Serious: Help!!! Too Much Is Happening!!!
Kelly Conaboy is writing an advice column for Dipp readers. It's going to be very serious. So serious, in fact, we named it Very Serious: An Advice Column by Kelly Conaboy. Just email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your most crucial conundrums and each week, Kelly will solve one lucky reader's biggest problem. You can read all of Kelly's excellent advice here.
I’m trying to find a new apartment while balancing a ton of work and frankly too many social activities — weddings, birthdays, friends in town, AHHHH — and I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of a complete breakdown at all times. It’s just way too much stuff. How do I not have a complete breakdown?
Well, hello … Kelly. How interesting that “you” would come to “me” with this question. As it turns out, I can relate. Plus I have at least three other friends in this exact situation. And while the best person to give you advice is perhaps not a person who is quite literally in your shoes at this present moment, I realize in these times we have to do what we can. So I will do my best. And I will put it in list format, as I feel consuming the information with the ease of a list may soothe you.
- Go to bed early when you can. I know new parents have this dilemma — when the baby is finally asleep, do you catch up on your own sleep, or do you stay awake for some precious, likely television-related, “me time”? Well, Kelly, in this scenario the baby is your life, and because most of your current dilemmas seem less permanent than an actual baby, I’m going to suggest you go to sleep. There is nothing that is going to help your mental state more than not being tired because you were up late watching Gilmore Girls reruns to relax. Go to bed, get up early. You will feel better emotionally and physically, and the reruns will be there when life slows down.
- Organize your apartment search in some sort of a document. Remember that slogging through a bunch of crappy apartments, even though it feels like an absolutely enormous waste of time, is part of the process. Frequently, crappy apartments will at least remind you of the things you want to avoid in the apartment you eventually choose. To get the maximum amount of use out of this, and to keep you from going insane trying to remember what you did and did not like about apartments of varying identicalness, make some sort of document. List the addresses of the apartments you’ve seen, the rent, and the things you liked and did not. Again, it will feel like a waste of time, but I promise it is not.
- Don’t neglect the things that make you feel sane. To do a quick “Yoga with Adriene” impression, you aren’t going to be able to take care of anything or anyone if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Make time for the things that will make you feel like your head is firmly attached to your body, rather than spinning off into anxiety space. This may include, yes, doing a “Yoga with Adriene” video. Other things: exercise, eating normal meals, listening to NPR in the morning. I know it seems like you don’t have time, but you need to, so you must.
- Don’t drink too much at the social events. Because most of us have a bit of post-Covid social anxiety, and all of us have too many now-we-can-see-each-other-again-oh-my-god! social engagements, we may overindulge as a way of both celebrating and getting through it. This will be more okay in the future, but right now, for you, it is not. You’re already stretched pretty thin, and if you’re being honest, imbibing more than a very modest amount is going to give you a two-day hangover. You don’t have the time. Again, the frozen watermelon margarita will be there when you don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. to get work done before you go to see some crappy apartment before going to a birthday dinner.
- Make an Irish exit when possible. Okay, if any of the events you have are parties — get in, say hi, make some chitchat, and leave. No one will care, and it was nice of you to show up.
- Don’t live in filth. Maybe this should have gone under the “don’t neglect things that make you feel sane” rule but, actually, no, it deserves its own. While some things will have to fall to the wayside until you have fewer things to take care of — maybe cooking dinner rather than having it delivered while you are collapsed on the couch? — keeping your space relatively neat, or however neat it usually is, will help your spirit. Living in filth is going to increase your anxiety. Do not surrender to the siren song of filth.
- Remember the big picture. “This too shall pass,” said someone. And the fact that you are busy with work and friends and exciting new life developments is like … as far as things you’re allowed to complain about publicly, it’s in the “only complain about it to the people who will always love you” category. I understand that it’s stressful, but, like, chill out. Remember that this is fine. You can handle it. Take a breath. Make a spreadsheet. Do your dishes. Go to sleep.
Photo: Matt Biddulph; stick figure: Kelly Conaboy.