In the past, when I’ve experienced overwhelm I’ve done everything I can to push through it.
I learnt from the women in my family of origin how to use will and grit to push through circumstances and get past the limits you see before you.
But there are those times when no matter how much will you exert, you can’t get out of the creative rut.
In those moments you’re just burnt out from spinning in circles, wondering what your next steps should be.
Dealing with overwhelm has been one of the lessons I’ve most resisted but I’ve finally accepted that it’s actually guidance.
Your emotions aren’t meant to be muffled they’re guides to what needs to change.
Overwhelm is your body’s way of saying to you Stop, Slow Down!
If you keep trying to figure your way out from being on the inside of overwhelm, all you’re going to do is keep coming back to exactly where you started. Groundhog Day!
The bottom line is that no amount of pushing will unstick you.
If everything’s feeling hard, the very best thing you can do is surrender to it and let go. Get out from under it.
Strategies for meeting overwhelm proactively …
1. Recognise it
Overwhelm is a sneaky critter that creeps up on on you over time. Here’s how you can tell if you’re in the midst of it …
– You’re complaining constantly that you’re responsible for doing everything
– You’re really emotional at the slightest thing
– You keep dreaming about getting away from it all
– You’re letting everything around you slip, even the things that matter
– You’re constantly exhausted.
– You feel like you’re carrying everyone and everything
2. Allow it
Resistance is often the preferred choice because we don’t like feeling we’re unable to shift something that’s flooding us. So we try all those old ways of push, struggle, strive, fight and endure. Try just surrendering to it. I know you won’t want to but seriously set a time limit where you’ll just stop everything and go outside and do something completely different.
3. Ask for help
You’ll be amazed how many people want to help and support you but the thing is most of us don’t like to ask. We perceive it as weak or we make a story that it means something about us if we ask for help. It’s not true. Great leaders ask for help when they need it. Try telling people what they can do to help you at this challenging time.
4. Receive help
If you’re someone who likes giving help to others, I’m guessing receiving might be a bit tricky for you. It’s super important for you to work the muscle of receiving. It’s what will sustain you through times of overwhelm and bring you the connection and belonging that overwhelm will take from you. Remember that the person who’s giving wants to help. It makes them feel good and because you’re getting exactly what you need, all you have to do is receive with grace.
So finally, if by the end of the summer you’re feeling frazzled with juggling school holidays, getting ready for back to school and experiencing delays on creative projects, know that you’re not alone. It’s normal. The real question is what do you need to get yourself over the hump and back on solid ground.
It’s all just guidance to come home to yourself and to practice radical self care.