Breaking free of overwhelm – here’s where you can start….

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the possible actions you could take and end up doing nothing?

Wishing that someone would just tell you what to do to start to feel better?

I put together some characteristics of those who were overwhelmed and those who had overcome overwhelm here as it’s helpful to understand that it’s our ability to handle situations which can make us feel the way we do.

We cannot change the stress that’s around us but beating overwhelm isn’t doing that (or it can be eventually).  We have to start with working with our nervous system and learning to regulate ourselves.

It might be that you do a mix and match from all of these and it depends on how honestly you scored yourself, but utilising my extensive history of women who are overwhelmed, I’ve pulled together where I believe you may need to focus on.  As we all know… none of us are robots therefore feel free get inspiration from any of these three categories.

If your overwhelm level feels HIGH:

You will need to focus on getting some of the basics right – that is learning regulation, working out what emotions you are feeling, making time for yourself and getting the basics right.

  • Learn how to regulate your nervous system – there’s loads of brilliant approaches. EFT/Tapping  (details will be sent through tomorrow) is what I feel is the best tool to use to do this because of the way that it works but there’s loads of other tools out there such as doing deep breath work, meditations, mindfulness etc.  A minimum of 5 minutes each and every day.
  • Become an emotion scientist – work with those emotions – what is is you are feeling…. start each day – what is it I’m feeling today and why? Allow those feelings to flow – don’t judge them – tune into them, name them, accept them, journal on them.
  • Make time for you every single day – a minimum of 20 minutes but ideally an hour.  This should be with no interruptions, phone free and time to read, listen to the radio/podcast/relaxation, yoga, walk or something else you want to do.
  • Focus on getting the basics right such as the best sleep you can get (give that you may have small children – are you getting to bed early enough etc), drinking enough water and watching your diet for sugar spikes.
  • Alcohol – I love a glass or three of red wine but I know alcohol does not support me… it’s the first thing that goes when I feel overwhelmed. It disrupts sleep, affects productivity, makes you anxious and sluggish.  Really think do I need this right now? Does it serve me? This does not need to be a life long commitment to not drinking but a temporary gap until your level of overwhelm is reduced.

If your overwhelm level feels like it’s MEDIUM: 

This probably means that you have some physical symptoms of overwhelm, you hopefully have some headspace to know what help and support you need to start helping you to feel better, you can start some daily practices. Compassion is also key here.

  • Continue to work on self regulation
  • What are the feelings in the body that you get? Are there knots in your stomach? Tension in your shoulders? Tightness in your jaw? Do you have jelly legs? What’s going on and what do those bodily feelings tell you? When we start working with the body it means we have insight to what we feel quite quickly which means that we can start to recognise what’s going on quicker and when we do we can resolve it quicker.
  • Focus on what help and support you can integrate into your life.  It could be help with the kids, it could be making choices about finances to get a cleaner/babysitter or something else. It could be being around other supportive people, having a supportive person to talk to, it could be organising how you and your partner CAN SUPPORT EACH OTHER and it could be accessing professional support.
  • Start a daily journalling practice and ask yourself – how am I feeling today and think about some affirmations for the day – ‘I honour my needs’, ‘My success rate for getting through hard days is 100%’, ‘I accept all offers help’, ‘I can do this’, ‘Looking after myself allows me to look after others’
  • Compassion – how compassionate are you to yourself or to others? When you do something wrong or behave badly – what is your reaction? Can you start thinking about – why did I do that and what did I need? When I shouted at the kids did I really shout because I was angry or because I was triggered and needed a hug or needed a sleep or needed a break?
  • Ensure you’re integrating exercise into your life – it doesn’t need to be anything big or exciting – do something measured with what feels right for you and consistency is key.

If you level of overwhelm is LOW:

  • Develop strong and consistent boundaries – it’s ok to say no whether friends, family, partner, kids, work etc.  It’s ok to not please everyone.  We are terrible at pleasing others in place of ourselves.
  • Work on those feelings of guilt – what’s making you feel guilty about saying no to something or putting yourself first?
  • What can you let go of? Think about all the things you take responsibility for… what’s the priority? What really matters that it gets done? What can you delegate? What doesn’t matter if it never gets done? Write a big list… what is all that noise that really isn’t important? Would the world end if it wasn’t done? Or you got it wrong?
  • Work on your tolerance and acceptance of others… are others doing things that upset you? Why are they behaving in that way? Is it really because they’re not any good at it or is it because they are trying their best or because of their own beliefs and patterns they’re not able to? How can you work on your expectations of others?
  • What stops you from moving forward? Where are those beliefs coming from?
  • Continue your daily journaling practice and all the work you’ve been doing on emotional regulation, the how you’ve been feeling, why you feel that way and why your body reacts the way it does – these insights are key to overcoming overwhelm
  • Show up consistently to yourself – sleep, nutrition,  limiting alcohol, exercise, hydration, asking for and organising help and support

Where do you need to focus right now?  Let me know one thing you’re going to do from this list.

If you’re struggling with overwhelm and you don’t know where to start, 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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