20 Sad Signs You’re Living In Survival Mode

20 Sad Signs You’re Living In Survival Mode

Life can get stressful, but sometimes, it’s so stressful that we have no choice but to be on autopilot. Every day has started to feel the same, and the once manageable tasks are so overwhelming that you don’t know how much longer you can do them. This could mean that you’re living in survival mode. Let’s look at several signs that you’re functioning in survival mode right now.

1. You can’t sleep.

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If you’re living in survival mode, you’re probably exhausted by the time you can finally turn the light out, and your head hits the pillow. However, as soon as you go to bed, your thoughts start to ruminate, swirling incessantly. You try to turn your brain off by changing positions, taking sleep medication, and listening to a soothing nighttime soundtrack, but nothing seems to be working. In the morning, you wake up just as tired as you were when you went to bed.

2. It’s all too overwhelming.

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Even the simplest tasks seem complicated when you’re in survival mode. You used to love bouncing out of bed in the morning, making coffee for your spouse and breakfast for your kids, and getting their lunchboxes ready for the day. Now, the thought of doing this day after day fills you with dread, and you find yourself feeling completely overwhelmed by it all. You’d rather stay in bed and not face the day and the to-do list that comes with it.

3. You have anxiety about the future.

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Even if you are having a good day, your mind can’t help but wander to the next day, wondering what it will be like. If you’re in survival mode, you may find it impossible to practice mindfulness and enjoy being in the present moment. You’re always thinking about everything you must do tomorrow, or the future occupies your thoughts. You’re worried that your spouse might lose their job next week, or you’ll get a big bill in the mail that you completely forgot about, or your car will break down—it never ends.

4. You are in reactive mode.

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If you are in survival mode, there’s a good chance the things that don’t usually bother you are irritating. Perhaps you normally don’t mind getting up before your spouse because they’re not a morning person anyway, and you like treating them to a fresh pot of coffee when they get up. But now? It frustrates you that they don’t get up at the same time as you, and you see their behavior as lazy and selfish. When they get up, you come down on them about not pulling their weight and give them the cold shoulder for the rest of the morning.

5. You’re forgetting things.

Woman stressed

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If you’re trying to get through the day and your brain is in survival mode, it might not have a lot of room to remember the more minor things. This is why you find yourself misplacing things or forgetting if you’ve done something obvious, like shutting the front door when you go out. Perhaps you can’t remember whether you put your children’s lunchboxes in their bags before they left for school, or maybe you find yourself at the grocery store and can’t remember where you parked.

6. You get distracted easily.

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Survival mode can cause you to struggle to stay on task. You’ll often find that your mind starts going to other places, even though you try hard to keep it on the matter at hand. Maybe you have put a pot on to boil some eggs, but then you remembered that you needed to do a load of washing and completely forgot about the boiling pot. Or, you’re finally sitting down to relax for a minute at the end of the day and read your book. After five minutes, you give up because you realize you’ve read the same sentence four times.

7. You feel like you have to keep going.

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You used to love doing things around the house and ensuring everyone was fed and provided for. Now, you feel like it’s simply an obligation you’re trapped in. You think that no matter what, you must keep going because if you stop for a moment, you’ll have a breakdown. When you have downtime during the day, you’re tempted to make a coffee and relax, but then you remember something you should be doing instead. You do that task because you know if you sat down, you wouldn’t complete the rest of the day.

8. You have a constant headache.

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You know that you’re in survival mode because you’re carrying this tension in your head and shoulders. Not only do you wake up exhausted from lack of sleep every morning, but you often wake up with a searing headache. You try to get rid of it with medication, but nothing seems to help it. The pain has shifted into your shoulders now, too and it feels like you’re carrying the weight of the world on them.

9. You’re turning to food for comfort.

Portrait of male sitting indoors and eating big tasty hamburger full of mischievous calories and harmful cholesterol. Person consuming portion of junk food

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You’re usually a healthy person who enjoys a balanced diet, but lately, you’ve felt like you’ve had no willpower to keep track. When you get to the end of your day, you turn to a post-dinner snack like ice cream or chips and dip because it’s the only part of the day when you feel truly content. You know that for those few minutes that you’re indulging your cravings, you can forget everything stressing you out and escape.

10. You’re skipping self-care.

guy washing his face in the mirror

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You’ve gone through seasons in life where it was so busy that you had no choice but to skip a shower in the morning, but you always ensured you washed your face and brushed your hair before bed every night. Now, you find yourself skipping the shower but it’s not because you’re too busy for it. It’s because you don’t have the mental space or energy to devote any time to taking care of yourself right now. After all, life’s stresses haven’t left room for this.

11. You are emotionally numb.

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While you know that you feel irritated at times and even overwhelmed, you also experience patches where you’re completely numb. When you get into bed at night with your spouse, they want to cuddle and show you affection, but you find that you can’t reciprocate it because you feel cold and numb inside. The same happens when you watch a sad or funny movie—you know what you’re supposed to think in these situations, but the emotions don’t come.

12. You’re leaning into vices too much.

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You do not normally spend hours scrolling through social media on your phone. Similarly, you’ve never been one to binge-watch a show. However, now that you’re in survival mode, you find yourself reaching for your phone when you’re in bed and can’t sleep, and before you know it, you’ve spent two hours scrolling through your Instagram feed. Or, instead of sleeping, you tiptoe out to the couch and watch half a season of your favorite show that you’ve already seen five times.

13. You’re indecisive.

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Usually, you’re super organized at the beginning of a week. You know precisely what you’ll make for dinner for everyone, what extracurricular activities there are on which day, when you’ll do the washing, and when your children need to have their homework done. Now, the thought of having to decide what you will have for dinner just tonight is stressful. You’ve got a few options but can’t seem to choose. Similarly, you don’t know whether you should get ahead of the washing and do it today or leave it for a couple of days.

14. You cancel plans at the last minute.

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The last few times you’ve planned to meet up with a friend, you’ve been excited about getting out of the house and talking to someone you care about. However, each of these times, you’ve gotten cold feet, feeling like it’s too much to drive there and back, and decided it’s better to stay home and make up an excuse for canceling. Usually, you’re super reliable and relish your time with your friends.

15. You’re not seeing family.

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You’re close to your family, and try to stay in touch with them as much as possible. You used to talk to them every day, and you even have a group chat with your parents and your siblings. Lately, though, because of survival mode, you’ve been ignoring their phone calls, letting your phone ring, and texting them 10 minutes later, pretending you were in the shower. You also find the group chat overwhelming, and you’ve turned your notifications off so you don’t have to read all the messages.

16. Looking for love? Think it into existence.

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Try our sister site, Sweetn, a new startup that uses science and research to help you transform your love life. Their cool quiz and tools teach you to use your mind to find love. Better yet, it starts to work in just a few weeks. Check it out here.

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