Overwhelmed… Over it! 5 Ways I Deal With Feeling Overwhelmed
Updated: Apr 7, 2020
I’m going to be suuuuper real with you guys, I feel so overwhelmed -- right now, and quite honestly, most of the time. This blog is something that I am extremely excited about, and SO incredibly grateful to be doing with my amazing soul sister, but that I am also feeling a whole lot of fear and having a lot of insecurities about. There have been many emotions coming up for me while I’ve been desperately trying to write posts that will be “good enough” to publish on our blog, and I think that the reason it has been so tough is that I’m feeling that old, familiar, yucky “am I good enough?” feeling. Of course when I stop and have a little chat with myself, I know that I am good enough, I’ve done enough inner work at this point in my life to pull myself back from those self-destructive thought patterns, but sometimes, when I am really struggling, I start comparing myself to other people who seem to have things all figured out. I know that no one actually has things all figured out, but some people just seem to have more things figured out than I can even imagine ever having figured out!
I have cried so many times this week. Fun fact about me: I’m a crier. If I feel even the hint of any strong emotion, I’m immediately tearing up. I have cried every kind of tear -- tears of overwhelm, tears of happiness, tears of guilt, tears of excitement, tears of insecurity, tears of gratitude -- ALL the kinds of tears have leaked out of my face over the past week. I am nearly crying just typing about crying! Can anyone relate???
Anyways, I was trying to decide what to write about, and it wasn’t coming to me, so I asked myself “what is something you have been thinking about a lot? Something that is a theme in your life that is presenting itself to you right now?” And here we are. I spoke to a friend today who told me that she has been feeling the same way -- overwhelmed by life and wondering how other people do it -- and we agreed that just by admitting it to each other made it feel better. I don’t want other people to feel overwhelmed and to be struggling, but knowing that I am not the only one is comforting. Because I think we are often made to feel like we are supposed to be able do it all, and do it all without any help. That’s what we are taught to believe -- that “success” is doing everything “right” and doing it all effortlessly. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that you need to do everything, you need to be good at all of it, and look perfect while doing it. You need to have perfect hair and perfect makeup; you need to have the perfect body and eat the perfect foods; you need to dress perfectly, and decorate your home perfectly; you need to travel the world, and work full-time, and have a side-hustle, and a cool hobby; you need lots of friends who are also perfect; you need to be unique enough to be interesting, but not so unique that you make people uncomfortable, and you need to do it all with a big smile on your face and a positive attitude! Easy enough, right?! No wonder we all feel so overwhelmed.
So I wanted to write this post to offer some suggestions for when you are feeling overwhelmed, because I have struggled with overwhelm my whole life, and I also wanted to invite you to leave comments offering myself, and the rest of our community any suggestions you may have for dealing with overwhelm, or, if you’d like, you could even just leave a comment if you’ve felt overwhelmed by life as well, so we can let each other know that we are all in this together, and support each other through it.
Okay, here are 5 things that help me when I’m feeling overwhelmed:
Cry. No really. This may seem like a joke after I just wrote about how I’m a crier, and it probably doesn’t seem like legitimate advice at all. But just hear me out. Crying is literally our body’s response to stress -- physical or emotional. We may not know exactly why we cry, but I believe our bodies hold more intelligence than we will ever fully understand. When we cry, stress hormones and other chemicals can actually be found in our tears, so we are literally crying out our stress! Also, as we cry, our bodies release oxytocin and endorphins, which is why we feel so much better after a good cry. If you want to read more about the benefits of crying, here is a link from Medical News Today: 8 benefits of crying. So next time you feel overwhelmed, grab some tissues and let it all out!
Reach Out For Support. Sometimes our pride gets the best of us and we don’t want to admit that we are feeling overwhelmed, but we are human beings, not robots. We were designed to feel, and we are social creatures by nature. We can be independent and strong and resilient, and still ask for help. Your support system could be friends, family members, doctors, mental health workers, neighbours, religious community members, chatrooms, Root & Sprout comment section or social media pages, etc. -- whatever it looks like, remember that you are not in this alone. Life is so hard, and none of us actually know what the heck we’re doing, so let’s help each other through overwhelming times.
Positive Self-Talk. Correcting negative thought patterns is like trying to quit a “bad” (harmful) habit -- you have to put in a lot of work and effort, and you have to really, truly want to feel better. Continuing to do as you have always done, certainly seems like the easier option -- at least short-term, but long-term, harmful habits, including negative self-talk, can be detrimental to your physical and mental health (check out this article for more about the harmful effects of negative self-talk, and some ways to improve your inner dialogue). Redirecting negative self-talk and working to transform it into positive self-talk has had a profound effect on my life. I still have a LOT of work to do where this is concerned, but I have already seen such a huge improvement in my quality of life from this practice, so I will continue to work on it, and I hope that if you aren’t already, you will try it out too! Let me know in the comments if this is something you currently practice or are interesting in practicing.
Say “No”. Why is it so hard to say no? Why do we so often do things we don’t want to do? Why do we allow people’s expectations of us to have so much power over our decisions? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I do know that when I feel overwhelmed, it’s usually because I have said “yes” to too many things -- even if they are all things that I actually enjoy doing, I still wind up overwhelmed from too many yeses. My problem is, I really hate disappointing people, especially people I care about. But saying “no” to the things that aren’t improving your life in some way -- that aren’t bringing you joy or providing you with inspiration or support -- will leave more room and energy for things that will!
Rest. Our society does not prioritize rest nearly enough. We live in a world where productivity and busyness is celebrated to the point that nearly every person you talk to is exhausted, and where taking a break to rest and recharge is often viewed as “lazy”. Humans need rest and sleep! Again, because we are human beings and not robots, we have certain needs that, if they aren’t met, cause our physical and mental health to suffer. MindBodyGreen has a great post about the importance of slowing down that I highly recommend checking out!
I feel like I could go on and on about all 5 of these ways to deal with overwhelm, but I really want to hear from you! Do you feel overwhelmed often? What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Also, let me know what you thought of this post, and if you have any suggestions for future posts!
Take care and be kind to yourselves, Root and Sprouters!