I often get panicky and stressed at the thought of the never-ending nature of simple tasks. Laundry and dishes will always pile up; food and other stocks will always need to be resupplied; bills, insurance, taxes, and other paperwork will always need to be redone; I will always need to work to get money; etc. All of these things seem to stress me out significantly more than they do other people, and the fact that I’ll never truly be rid of them is almost terrifying—and has been since I realized it in my teens.
When I’ve had difficulties with similar things in the past, I’ve been able to adapt by changing my perspective on the issue using “rationality” theories. For example, I used the theory of hyperbolic discounting and picoeconomics to change how I dealt with cravings and impulsive thoughts.
Sometimes, rationality-based techniques can also help. Goal factoring (and aversion factoring) helped me to change my habits for the better.
The problem is that I can’t find anything similar to help with this issue—my difficulties with mundane responsibilities. I’ve heard of a few arguments/solutions that would help, but they seem insufficient:
Everyone has these chores, so everyone has the tools to deal with it—I’ve heard this in a few forms, and it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Just because an experience is common doesn’t mean that everyone can do it. For an obvious example, walking is pretty common, but many disabled people are unable to do it. People with debilitating psychological issues may be unable to function without medicine—or at all. There’s always a possibility that something about my brain makes my experience unusual, unpleasant, and—possibly—unfixable.
Just trick yourself, fake it ’til you make it—A couple people have recommended that I just try to power through these chores, turning off my brain for a while. They suggest that if I do this enough times, I’ll get desensitized to the stress and everything will be fine. Aside from the obvious silliness of “don’t think about it,” this hasn’t worked so far. If I ignore the stressors, then I just end up getting stressed without noticing until I almost throw up.
You’re pushing yourself too hard, take time to relax—This makes a lot of sense, but doesn’t seem to be the issue. I’m a full-time student with a lenient courseload. I have tons of free time, but the problems seem to persist. A logical counter-point is that it’s not the quantity of free time that’s the problem, but the quality. After several attempts at tweaking my recreation, there hasn’t been any improvement. The problem seems to be with the stressors, not the relief.
Change your thoughts, and everything will be alright—This one is an interesting one, because changing my thoughts is what I think will work. The problem is that the new thoughts people suggest aren’t helpful. Changing “this is stressful” to “this isn’t stressful” doesn’t change the emotional response for me; I have to come up with a specific reason behind it. Hence my search for new paradigms.
I’m eager to hear if anyone here has any thoughts—or better places I should ask. Thank you for your time.