Bounce back from overwhelm
I managed to completely overwhelm myself last week. I did not realise that at the time but looking back on it now I can see it for what it was, a massive and total overwhelm. Juggling between running my new biz, family, my community, my personal needs and my relationships got so much that it got me in a curious place I forgotten about.
How did it manifest I hear you ask, what did it look like, or feel like?
In a nut shell it felt as if I had no idea how to run my life or my day anymore.
It felt like my TO DO list was ruling my life and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get on top of it (and I am the queen of organisation, no, really!) More so, I made myself feel that my to-do list just keeps on growing and growing… and there are new things for me to learn just to clear something off my list… so new things keep on landing there!
it felt as if my life kept on speeding up….
it felt as if I had no time to complete anything, it felts as if I needed to hop as quick as possible from one thing to another….
it felt as if it took me three and sometimes ten times longer than I ever thought possible to complete one task…
and I was making mistakes…
and it felt as if I can’t get even the simpler task done, with ease or with joy.
I was paddling madly upstream, against the flow… I was tired… angry… frantic… totally and completely overwhelmed. And I knew it, I could see myself heading down a weird spiral…
Yes, we also had a full moon in the picture… yes, I am hormonal… and yes, I am bringing on some massive changes into my life.
And all my wisdom, just went whoosh, out of the window, somehow, I could not access it anymore.
I knew it needed to stop, I needed to pause.
I knew I needed to breathe more.
I knew I needed to regroup…
but I could not… I felt I needed first to get on top of my life… how do I just stop in this chaos???
You get the picture I guess… who here feels like this sometimes? Hands up please.
And who here feels like this right now? Hands up, please…
And who here can say, with hand on heart, that you never felt like this? Hands up please and come talk to me later, I’d love to know your secret.
My truth is that now and then I get into this state… I affectionately call it my Headless Chicken state. I call it that because when I get overwhelmed I speed up and speed up some more, running around like a headless chicken, trying to do a million things at once.
In the past, I used to get into this state and make myself think that it is the end of the world! I mean common, it feels like the end of the world so it must be it, right!? This is it, I lost the plot, I lost it, my life is massively broken, I am broken, there’s no solution to this… this is it, things finally got well on top of me!
And I would despair and worry and get myself into a right state. I made myself feel that I need to fix my life, that I need to fix myself…
I forgot most of my own self-care practices, I forgot about being compassionate to myself, I just wanted to cry, cry, cry, poor old me… It felt tough! It hurt!
And then I got angry with myself…why am I such a wimp? How did I get here? Blah blah blah…
Before I knew it I walked right into a downward spiral leading to victimhood and uncompassionate self-talk and just general yuckiness. Anyone, recognise any of this?
The problem is that when we get into overwhelm we start working from a place of stress, fear and scarcity. Not at all the desirable, loving, joyful, fun place I like to work from!
The other problem is that when in overwhelm, you will keep on pushing yourself, you will put more hours in, you may try to work faster, squeeze more in. You see, the trouble is that because you run yourself from a place of stress and fear you knock out all the fun from your day, you get blind spots for your achievements and so you can’t savor your successes, you get more and more stressed, unhappy… it just sucks!
Well, I just learn something new last week and this is what I really wanted to share with you (the rest above is just a bit of a context, you know, my story)
I learned that overwhelm sets in sometimes…but most importantly I learned that I have the power to get out of that place! It’s been a while since I hit overwhelm and I forgot what it feels like, how to rebalance…
I learned that it is ok for me to sometimes crash on the sofa and cry my eyes out, acknowledge that I feel maybe a bit vulnerable today… because there’s a massive to-do list on my desk and many things may require my attention all at once. I actually learned that when that happens, the best place to start clambering out from is a good cry!
I learned that I don’t need to bottle all that up until I am ready to explode… I can ask for help… I can chat it out…I can journal it out… or walk it out… and I did all that but things still got on top of me, and this is the biggest thing I learned:
No matter how wise, no matter how resourceful… no matter how many excellent practices I have in place… sometimes life feels and gets a bit tough, sometimes there is too much to do… and that is OK, sometimes that’s just how it is. I know that sometimes overwhelm hits, and I know that I can climb out from it… my world is not coming crashing down… I’ve got this!
So, what to do when overwhelm hits? How to bounce back from that:
- Take time out – and I mean take time out. There is no way you can climb out of overwhelm with more overwhelm!
I don’t mean that you stop feeding yourself or your children… you still need to do what you need to do to get through your day. But lovingly acknowledge that you are overwhelmed and cut yourself some slack. Cut down on every activity but the vital ones, prioritise. This is the time to shift your attention from your to-do list to yourself. Be extra kind, extra gentle with yourself. Do as many things that you can that you love doing, gentle things. Even if only 15 min at a time, do it, trust me, it pays back ten folded! Do that walk, take that bath, go to the gym, go see your friend, whatever works for you, do it.
- Reschedule meetings and previously lined up activities and replace them with whatever feels good. You need to shift your vibe now and the only way to do that is to get away for a little while from the things that created your overwhelm in the first place.
- Look around you and call in some support: you may actually need to use the words “ I need your help please”, first to yourself and to accept that: “ I think I might need some help here, now, for a little while”- I can’t tell you how much things shifted for me once I became conscious that I need some helping hands, a bit of support. Even better: delegate, dump and delay all you can on your to-do list.
- And yes, boundaries… if you have not sorted your boundaries yet, or if you need to revisit your boundaries (they might have gone out of date since you last checked) now is a good time.
- Time… become conscious about how you spend your time. I found that as a new biz owner I can be a little unrealistic about how long some tasks may take… I am learning a lot about how to be the entrepreneur I want to be right now and sometimes I underestimate the time it takes to complete a biz related task. A minor adjustment can bring a lot of relief. I sometimes do an exercise with my clients where we test the reality vs the perception of time they spend on various tasks over one week or a month.
All in all, last week I changed the way I look at overwhelm… overwhelm is my friend.
Last week alerted me to the fact that I fell out of flow, that for a little while I lead my life and work from a place of stress and fear… that I needed to slow down, pause, refocus and re-align with my joy.
Last week helped me remember that it is in my power to shift away from overwhelm, we all can. I reminded myself that I choose to feel good, and joyous and happy about my work, my relationships, my day, my week.
If you feel overwhelmed at the moment and you’d like a helping hand to overcome overwhelm and feel good about your everyday life and about your success, book in for a complimentary session with me.