Have you ever felt hugely, crazily overwhelmed?
Everything is on top of you, you cannot do anything well, there is no end in sight, no time to breath, everyone wants a piece of you and you just want a break.
You feel like at any moment everything is going to crumble around you?
Overwhelm and I have been hanging out a bit lately and it’s not all that fun. The times I have said to my husband recently “I’m just so overwhelmed” are many. And “there’s just no way I can get it all done.”
I know I’m in a state of overwhelm when my brain is scattered (more than usual!) It’s hard for me to work out what I might need from the shops that day, let alone think ahead to which Primary School my son might go to in six months time!
It’s crippling actually.
So I’ve decided to get on top of it. I don’t want to live in a state of constant overwhelm. It might be OK to manage in spurts, but not this constant cycle.
The first thing I’ve done is begin to compartmentalise my time. It’s hard when you work from home. Every single night I open my computer to work. This needs to stop. I need to get better at allocating work nights and I also need to create space in my days to work. I think it’s time that my one-year old had someone care for her other than me…. This feels big, but in reality, it’ll be twelve hours a week, five of which she’ll be sleeping!
I asked around some of the amazing women I know for their thoughts on overwhelm, to help me breakthrough this impasse. I am so pleased to bring you their advice.
When I asked my gorgeous friend Kirri White (also a guest contributor on Small Steps to Wholefoods) about overwhelm she put things in perspective for me. She suggested I stop looking at overwhelm as my nemesis – but perhaps a friend. A WHAAAT??
What if overwhelm was nothing more than a gentle reminder – a friendly voice that tells you ‘Hey, I think you’re taking on too much here?’
If a friend came to you when you were stuck in overwhelm – and said – Hey, are you ok? Looks like you need some help? How can I make this easier for you? How would you respond? Can you see how that might make a difference?
Because then you have an opportunity to pause.
You have a chance to slow down (which is usually the polar opposite of what we tend to do when experiencing overwhelm), re-evaluate, single task and prioritize. And then, you get to make new choices, you get to change.
You might say to yourself = what do I choose to focus on and what do I choose to let go of.
It all about creating a pause so we can recalibrate.
Well that totally makes sense to me. I recently took a trip down to Melbourne to visit family and stayed for almost two weeks. Although I was working while down there I had a chance to look at what had been created as a ‘status quo’ in Brisbane and think about what needed to change. To get more balance, to feel less overwhelmed.
So then I asked my friend Nikki Smith, who is a psychologist and career coach (she’s running an awesome program about increasing happiness – called Desire Mapping – and has offered my community a special! It started yesterday so you’d have to join this week – well worth a look), about what to do when I find myself in overwhelm. This was her very practical advice:
When we hit overwhelm, our body and brain are flooded with hormones and it can feel impossible to break through the feeling.
Start with 5 minutes.
1. Call a friend that’s a good listener and talk it out
2. If it’s an overwhelming task – do it for 5 minutes. 5 minutes is often enough to jump over the hurdle that’s been created in your mind
3. Walk around the block (obvious one but a great one)
It’s so true – that number two is EXACTLY RIGHT! I can often sit on something and let it overwhelm me because it feels too big or too hard and the longer it’s there the bigger the overwhelm gets. So Nikki says just concentrate on it for five minutes (doable!) and it’ll probably clear. I am definitely going to practice this.
And because she’d have to be the most ‘zen’ mother I know, I asked Amy Taylor-Kabbaz from Happy Mama what her tip is to work through overwhelm. She offers this and I love it:
Find where it is in your body. Whenever you start to feel angry, anxious or overwhelmed, tune in, take note, and feel it in your body.
I found that overwhelm always starts somewhere in my body and then BUILDS – and for me, that’s often in my throat. It can even feel like I am being strangled! But when I can identify that, and then breathe INTO that part of my body, then I not only suddenly become really mindful and in the moment, the overwhelm slowly starts to lose its power.
Wow – I am a throat person too. My glands go up and I find it hard to swallow. And then I think I must be getting sick – but it’s just energy trapped there. My chiro/kinesiologist taught me this. Beautiful words by Amy.
I wonder where you can feel overwhelm in your body?
I hope that sharing my story of overwhelm and bringing you these beautiful snippets of advice helps you when you next feel it taking hold. I’d love to know how you work through overwhelm – or if this post has been helpful – so leave a comment below!
Here’s to overwhelm gently reminding me there’s too much going on, tackling the jobs that are giving me grief in short spurts and breathing through the overwhelm where I feel it in my body.
Work for you??
And just because these women share their gifts with the world so beautifully – here’s info on how you can get more of them:
Nikki Smith reckons happiness predicts success – not the other way around – I AGREE! – If you want to check out her fabulous program then click here
And Amy is running her super popular 40 day online program Reconnect again – it starts on July 20th and people rave about it. It helps Mamas learn how to meditate, reconnect with themselves again, and start putting themselves first, even while raising their families. Um, think I need this!