How do you know when you’ve ‘Overcome’ Overwhelm?

I talk a lot about overcoming overwhelm but what does that actually mean?

Does it mean that you’re ‘zen like’ all the time? That nothing ever gets to you? That you’re completely able to handle ever single situation?

And I don’t ever believe that to be true because we are human, we have emotions, we have feelings, we aren’t robots and things will upset it.

But here’s my take aways when we’ve overcome overwhelm – we have THREE KEY THINGS:

  • Insight as to why we are reacting in the way that we do (through knowledge, input from our body such as the knot in our stomach, and pattern matching ability to how we react to situations)
  • How quickly we are to regulate ourselves
  • Compassion – how we’re able to actually be compassionate to ourselves about why we may have reacted in a specific way and forgiven ourselves

I pulled together a typical ‘profile’ of what someone who is severely overwhelmed might be feeling/experiencing compared to someone who has overcome overwhelm and thought it might be really helpful to share.  This is by no means perfect as we all are unique but it illustrates my clients profiles and can help to understand what differentiates between someone where overwhelm paralyses them and someone who is able to cope with the every day stresses of life.

Severely Overwhelmed Overcome Overwhelm
Emotional state Can be angry or sad very quickly Calm vast majority of time
Reaction to stress Erupts May react but is quick to regulate self
Ability to regulate self None Most of the time
Experiencing more serious mental health illness Yes No
Insight into why they feel the way that they do No insight Great insight
Physical symptoms of overwhelm (tension in body, heart racing, dizziness, migraines, legs like jelly, knot in stomach etc) Many physical symptoms or numb When physical symptoms arrive know how to support self and what’s going on
Energy levels Either very alert/anxious or very low/can’t get out of bed/lethargic Generally in the zone of tolerance – relaxed, able to take in information and communicate easily
Tools and technique Utilises no tools even if they are aware they have them Regularly uses tools and approaches to keep themselves well
Help and support None Accesses help and support that they have access to and utilises
Professional help None Yes when needed and preventatively
Takes responsibility for everything Yes – 100% mental load of house and life and work Takes responsibility for what they choose to and let’s go of everything else
Prioritisation Everything is of equal importantce Prioritises well
Is focussed/gets things done Busy doing but often not achieving Is focussed and get things done
Tolerance of others Poor Tolerant
Acceptance of others behaviours Critical Knows others are trying hard
Compassion to self Blames self Compassionate
Compassion to others Blames others Compassionate
Relationships Has poor relationships and communication Good relationships and communicates well
Boundaries Can’t say no Good boundaries
Priority of/investment in self Won’t prioritise their own needs and doesn’t invest time and/or money in themselves Knows the importance of meeting needs and invests regularly in themselves both in time and money

Now none of us are machines and an exact science – you may not fit either of these profiles exactly and most of us are somewhere in between.

By reading this you can gain insight into overcoming overwhelm.  It’s maybe taking a step to think how exactly you can start your journey on this.  Maybe it’s about some time to reflect where you are?  Maybe it’s a case of starting to make time for yourself? Maybe it’s learning and integrating tools and techniques to regulate you? Maybe it’s about starting to work out what are are barriers to stopping you taking responsibility for everything? Maybe it’s about starting to gain insight to how you feel? Or thinking about compassion and how you can integrate it into your life?

There’s lots of ways to overcome overwhelm.  It’s not a quick fix.  It takes time, patience, support, compassion and so much more.

I’m hoping today you can start to work out maybe one or two small ways that you can start to help yourself.

If you’re struggling with overwhelm, you may be interested in signing up for my 3 month programme for overwhelmed mums.  Investing in this programme will make significant changes to your family life supporting you to feel calmer and more relaxed.  When we’re able to handle our own emotions and triggers, it has a massive benefit for our whole family and relationships and ripples out to the wider community and society.  

Much love, Tricia xxx 

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