I know with absolute certainty that if you are reading this, you are a powerful woman, so having power is not the issue. The question is: how is that power being drained throughout the days, weeks and months as you navigate business, home, family and spiritual lives? All aspects of your life can be inspiring and engaging and too often you may find yourselves frazzled, questioning your abilities, lacking creativity and overextended.
We are living in energetic times that are stretching each of us in profound ways, often with discomfort associated with it. The old ways of navigating life don’t seem to work anymore or can’t be counted on and can lead to overwhelm.
Let’s begin with the definition of overwhelm: to flow over the top of and submerge or cover somebody or something, besieged, snowed under, inundated, weighted down.
We have all experienced overwhelm at one time or another, either for short or long periods. You know the feelings of frustration and exhaustion at having to put in the time to grow your business; sometimes the constant daily demands prevent you from remembering what inspired you to start it in the first place!
Overwhelm takes on many forms and is different for everyone. In a state of overwhelm some people may find their personal relationships suffer. They no longer find the time to connect in meaningful way with family and friends. For others health begins to suffer. Sleep patterns are disrupted; lunch is eaten on the run or at their desk while checking email. Their body is feeling lethargic from sitting in front of the desk or computer for long hours at a time; exercise feels like a luxury item.
You know you are in a state of overwhelm when:
- You don’t love what you do as much
- You have difficulty getting to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night with business or challenges on your mind
- You find yourself thinking if you just did more and worked harder you could make it all come together
- Multi-tasking seems like a positive strategy
- You feel like a computer with too many windows open
When you are in a state of overwhelm you need to make different choices. The actions you would normally take to move forward are not necessarily the best ones to get you out of overwhelm
Albert Einstein said, “A problem cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Part of the issue each of is facing right now is our expansion of consciousness. It can feel at times that nothing makes sense when you are in the middle of a shift. The key here is to allow more space and not tighten when you feel uncomfortable. Notice your self-talk and meet it with curiosity, asking, is this true?
I am a very organized person; it is my nature and how my mind works naturally. For example: visualize the grocery store you frequent most often, see the layout. Do you organize your shopping list by the layout of the store – I do (see what I mean by organized?). It has always been second nature. Recently I have to reach for the ease of organization that once was readily available. I was becoming stressed and overwhelmed by my lack of ability to do regular tasks with ease and efficiency, and organizing my calendar, planning and facilitating the set up for an event was taking effort. As soon as I acknowledged this experience was actually a very good thing, an expansion in conscious, I relaxed and was able to meet the new normal that was unfolding.
The following strategies will assist with transforming overwhelm along with the essential spiritual integration.
Know your “overwhelm set point”:
The first step is to recognize when overwhelm is creeping in. We have often been pushing for so long that we think it is normal. Each of us has a set point that is present before we are overextended. This is the line between being happily busy and productive to being overwhelmed.
To discover your set point, think back to a time when you were happily busy and productive, functioning at the top of your game. Aaaah! What were you doing? How many projects did you have open at any one time? How many hours were you devoting to outside hobbies or volunteer organizations? How was your home and spiritual life supporting you?
Discovering your set point may also require an internal journey to discover how you really want the rhythm of your life to unfold. By knowing your set point you may notice yourself getting off track more quickly and will be able take corrective action.
When in a state of overwhelm there is a different way of prioritizing that supports us, more of a crisis intervention than “business as usual.” Rather than looking at the most important items on your list, begin with the easiest to complete. By clearing smaller/easier projects off of your desk your mind will be creating a sense of accomplishment and energetic space. Once you begin feeling this shift you will have the focus to accomplish the larger projects with greater ease.
Focus on the inner journey:
The state of being overwhelmed begins with a state of mind. Thoughts come in like,
“How am I going to get all this completed?” “I don’t have enough time for myself?”
“What is going to happen if I don’t focus on my marketing?” Feelings of fatigue,
irritation and frustration are telling you are running on empty.
When you are driving your car and are running out of gas, do you keep on going? Do you say, “I don’t have time for gas?” Do you get angry because the car is running out of gas?
No, you pay attention to what is true in the moment and take the first opportunity and fill up the car.
Are you mindful of filling up your own energetic tank or do you ignore the fact that you are running out of gas, which are energy, vitality, creativity and joy? If you recognize that your positive emotions are missing, give yourself the time and attention necessary to bring yourself back into balance. Check in with your emotions and notice what you are feeling. Give yourself a healthy dose of attention and appreciation to shift your emotional state. This is also a good time to ask for help to assist with your shift.
Just as your body needs to recharge so does your mind, which requires rest on a regular basis. In order to accomplish this, I suggest you take one vacation day a week. Notice I did not say a weekend day. Our weekends are usually filled with more obligations, laundry, grocery shopping, catching up in many areas (including friendship and business) and we get the leftover time for ourselves. Vacation days hold a very different energy, of recharging, refreshing, relaxing, carefree and fun. Take a moment to visualize a typical weekend day and now visualize a vacation day, which would you rather have?
When you work too many days in a row without recharging your battery, you move into functioning from a mechanical zone. In this state, you can be relatively productive and get some things accomplished. However, if the unexpected arises, you find yourself on the brink of overwhelm in a flash
By taking a regular vacation day, without focusing on business, you are supported in keeping your creativity high and have the ability to meet whatever presents itself in a positive manner.
Take Inspired Action:
An inspired action is one that you look forward to or that brings you joy. Look for the reason this task has merit or how it will benefit others. When you find yourself pushing and forcing yourself to just get one thing done after another, overwhelm and exhaustion can occur. Every task, no matter how mundane, can have a component of inspiration within it. Look for a way to create an inspiring environment to accomplish the tasks that are more challenging. If a task is not inspiring release it for a time and see what emerges when you return to it.
I love this quote from Notes from the Universe:
“What if every job was seen as an adventure in creativity, an opportunity to change the world and a means through which to discover one’s power. And if every task was seen as a present to unwrap containing unknown rewards, we would no longer call it …work”
Sometimes the only thing we can do in a moment to work with overwhelm is a seemingly small thing, these are called state changes; change the state you are in. Stand up shrug your shoulders and breathe. I use music and movement to get me singing and dancing, for example, Motown or my favorite African Drumming CD.
The idea is to interrupt the overwhelm or discomfort you may be experiencing and make a conscious choice to change it, right in that moment.
All we have is the present moment. Don’t let a bad moment become a bad day!
I invite you to choose a strategy that will get your started with transforming overwhelm. As you enhance one area of your life others will automatically become enhanced. There are times when no matter what you do overwhelm is going to present. At that time, I focus on my favorite quote “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.”
If this article, touched you, inspired or motivated you, we would love to hear from you. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Love and blessings,