What to Do When Anxiety and My To-Do List Just Keep Growing?

· January 22, 2018

Anxiety paralyzes me. I have so many things I should be taking care of right now. But I can’t, and I feel like I can’t move forward. The more my to-do list grows, the harder it is to get started on it. Then, knowing that all the thing I have to do are building up, I get even more stressed.

This is a very common situation. Sometimes anxiety presents itself in a somewhat paradoxical way. It happens a lot that having a lot of work can overwhelm you to the point of not knowing where or how to get started. It’s a spiral of a nightmare that just leads to more to-do’s and more anxiety. And the more anxiety you feel, the more difficult is for you to get going.

Girl with anxiety covering mouth with hand.

A good first step will be to cut off the vicious cycle of stress and concern with no way out. Just relax, take a deep breath and get organized.

First of all, what’s the most important thing you need to do? Make a list of your priorities so you can face what comes next. Once you know your priorities, you can starting moving forward.

Types of anxiety and coping strategies

Sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes you can’t avoid stressful situations and have no other choice but to face them. So, my proposal for you is to intelligently design your own coping strategies.

Keep in mind that before you address a serious anxiety problem, it’s important to identify how anxiety presents itself. You can accomplish this by seeing a professional.

The symptoms of anxiety vary in frequency, forms and triggers. For example, if symptoms appear in the form of a sudden crisis, acutely and intensely, it could be a panic disorder.


In severe cases, a medical professional may approach the problem with medication such as benzodiazepines. But, there are also many other psychological treatments to help you handle stressful situations that generate anxiety.

An example is psycho-education, which can be used to detect symptoms such as anticipatory anxiety. We could also mention the practice of relaxation or cognitive-behavioral techniques to help assess the real risk of a threat.

Generalized anxiety disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by a chronic state of anxiety and concern, lasting longer than six months. In addition, the person cannot control it and perceives it as excessive. It appears and manifests itself in the form of various symptoms:

  • Fatigue.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscular tension.
  • Insomnia.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Restlessness.
Red-haired girl with messy hair worrying.

There is a reduced ability to cope with stressful situations. There’s also a hyper-vigilant attitude that makes a mountain out of a molehill. Even normal events can cause great concern. Having insecure relationships of attachment during one’s childhood is a risk factor.

People with this disorder use worry as a defense strategy to avoid intense negative effects. By worrying over unrealistic threats, they avoid facing more realistic problems. Problems they do not want to face.

Learning strategies to detect realistic concerns and deal with everyday problems can be achieved with cognitive-behavioral techniques.

Do not let anxiety keep you from shining

Anxiety can overshadow your potential. It can slow you down in your personal and professional development. Sometimes you have to make the decision to face new, challenging situations if they mean meeting important goals.

Or you can choose the apparently easier option: to stay in your comfort zone and avoid uncomfortable uncertainty.

Do not let anxiety keep you from getting everything you want. A fear of failure can stop you and make you live “comfortably”, without taking risks. But… is it worth it?

Most likely, the answer is no. Working on dealing with frustration and coping with stressful situations and anticipatory anxiety is crucial.

A woman with outstretched arms looking at the sea.

The road to success is never a walk in the park. But on that path you can learn from obstacles and overcome them.

One way to face the challenges that come up with anxiety is to set realistic goals. Accepting your limitations and enhancing your abilities will take you as far as you want.