It’s been a while between blogs.
In fact, it’s been a while between doing anything really, except for the basic necessities to keep body, soul, family and sanity together for quite a few weeks around here.
Every now and then, things will happen that will throw you off kilter, challenge your coping skills and lead you down the path of overwhelm.
Too much to do, too much to think about, too many emotions and issues to deal with and it all
For me, it’s been a number of cumulative things. Running a business on my own and all that it entails, juggling work, family, study, housework, clients and quite unexpectedly, my Aunt passed away after a very sudden illness that no one imagined would so quickly take her life.
After organizing child care so I could drive interstate mid week to support my father who had just lost his sister, the challenge of a 7 hour drive on unfamiliar roads to a place I have never been before, to meet relatives in grief who I do not really know and the strange situation of staying in my Aunts house which was exactly as it was when she walked out the door to go to hospital and didn’t come back, the wheels of my normal life began to come off.
All of these things combined, sent me on a very gentle, but continuous slide into overwhelm. Not in a sudden, massive crash but more of a slow deflation of energy, motivation, concentration and commitment.
I felt tired and “foggy” in the head.
I wanted to sleep a lot more than usual and stay in bed.
My regular routines for getting things done dissolved and everything I had been planning to do got stuck in the land of “I’ll get around to it later” and later never arrived.
Once I realized what was happening, I knew that I had to begin honoring my emotions, listening to my body and allowing myself the time that I needed to take the pressure off and slow things down.
I needed to drastically pare back the list of “things to do” to the bare essentials and give myself time to just be and feel and be gentle with myself.
I needed time to talk with trusted friends about my feelings and work through them.
I needed to give myself lots of self love, support and nourishment.
In short, I needed all those tools that I have used over the years and teach my clients to use to overcome the overwhelm in their lives.
Overwhelm is a sign that things in your life are out of balance.
Too much doing and not enough being.
Too much work and not enough play.
Too much giving and not enough receiving.
Too much stress and too many demands and not enough stillness and quiet and peace.
It is easy to change when life is good. It’s only when the wheels fall off that you realise the real power of all the tools and skills that you need to stay balanced, happy and productive, lies in using them.
Not as a theory, not as talking endlessly about the problems and the issues but in assessing your situation, knowing what tools to use, dredging them out of your consciousness and taking the action steps that give them their magic to help.
So how do you overcome overwhelm? What tools do you use to get your life back on track?
- Cull your “to do” list with extreme prejudice! Do the minimum necessary to keep things ticking over so that you can give yourself more time for self care and self love.
- Delegate immediately. Start asking for help to share the load at work and at home. Stop trying to be superwoman or superman and start admitting that you are human, you have limits and you can’t do it all! Allow others help you and refuse any feelings of guilt or self criticism. Give those you love the opportunity to step up and give you the help you need.
- Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability, feeling emotionally fragile, tired and overwhelmed is NOT a weakness. Its just a sign that you need some extra TLC or that things are out of balance in your life. Reaching out for help and support when you need it, admitting that you are not coping is a sign of STRENGTH.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. NOW! It’s so easy to look at the surface of other people’s lives and imagine how wonderful their life is. The truth is, you truly do not know what is going on inside. Look at the recent story of Angelina Jolie putting her private ordeal of choosing a double mastectomy to avoid breast cancer out into the public to try to help other women struggling with the same potential issue. Looking at the surface of her life, she seems to have it all, wealth, beauty and Brad Pitt but we can only imagine the pain, stress and emotions she went though to make that difficult choice. When you compare yourself with others, you are only comparing your life against a story you have made up about who they are and how they live. It’s not fair to you and it’s also not fair to them.
- Give yourself lots and lots of self love and support. In times of overwhelm, your inner critic is always looking for ways to attack you and pull you down a little bit more. Crush your inner critic flat the minute she opens her mouth and refuse to listen. Give yourself lots of praise and kindness, rest and do things that make you feel good and that you enjoy. Treat yourself with tenderness and support the same way you would with anyone else that you love and care for.
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