How to deal with overwhelm



Recently, a client asked me about overwhelm & how to deal with it when you need to:


  1. Work a job to create a secure income, while,

  2. Creating a business on the side,

  3. Managing romantic partnership & relationships in general, and

  4. Spending time on some other passion project that will contribute to the business you're creating and support you in attaining your future vision.

Phew, sounds like a lot to juggle, right? Also sounds like the stereotypical life of an entrepreneur in the start-up phase of their business creation.

So, how can some people manage to do to SO much and still remain healthy & calm, while others seem overwhelmed & stressed out even when they're on holidays.

Here is a discussion on the topic:

Firstly, when it comes to feeling overwhelmed, I hear you.

I have felt this at many times in the past, especially as someone who has a preference for having around 3ish balls up in the air at one time (i.e. even now it's parenting, postgrad psych study, coaching, business side of being a coach).

The interesting thing is, and perhaps you feel this too, even though it can feel overwhelming to have a few things going on, for some of us, it actually feels better than having just 1 main focus.

As in, if you experimented with quitting everything and just having your coaching business as your 1 focus, there's a possibility that you would actually find this more overwhelming.


Generally, masculine energy enjoys 1 focus, whereas femiine energy actually feels more comfortable with multiple things on the go. Feminine energy often experiences 1 focus as too stressful and too much pressure... almost like if you had an investment portfolio and instead of diversifying across multiple investments, you just put all your money into 1 high risk stock. Some people will find this exhilarating, others will find that too risky and too much pressure.

All of the above is to say this:


  • I have also felt the overwhelm of having multiple things on the go, and what I found was that the best way to deal with overwhelm was not in actually changing the external circumstances, but to instead go inside and deal with the part of me that was perceiving overwhelm.

  • Often we are convinced it is the external circumstances, so we change them, only to find we still eventually land at the same feeling of overwhelm. Whereas other people, no matter what is going on in their life, literally never feel overwhelmed (this is my husband, overwhelm just isn't something he experiences even in high pressure situations where others are very overwhelmed). This allows us to realize that overwhelm is often an inside, mindset creation.

  • Some people can have many balls in the air and not feel overwhelmed, some people can have 1 risky venture that they're all in on and not feel overwhelmed... and some people feel overwhelmed no matter what. Even on holidays, they're overwhelmed.

So, what I have found is that learning to deal with the part of us that creates the perception of overwhelm is the most powerful thing we can do.

My questions are:

  1. What is the story your mind is running that is making you feel overwhelmed?

  2. What are the worst case scenarios that you are scared will happen (and the fear of those outcomes is creating overwhelm)?

  3. Now take your absolute worst case scenarios, and now write out all the benefits of those worst case scenarios happening (we can also do this exercise together on our next call if you prefer, with you just answering all the benefits instead of writing). Essentially the overwhelm is being created by a fear of some outcomes you want to avoid. When you no longer fear those outcomes and see those worst case scenarios as being "on the way" to your future vision, you will no longer feel fear + overwhelm about the risk of them happening.

So, above was essentially realizing that overwhelm is an inwardly generated experience. If people can be president of a country, or go in a rocket ship to the moon (i.e. take on high risk & responsibility) and not feel debilitating overwhelm, then we all have the ability to be in high pressure environments and not feel overwhelmed. It's an inside job. It's the ability to move in life with "high intention & low attachment to outcomes''. I suspect a high attachment to outcomes is creating your overwhelm. So, we loosen that attachment by becoming neutral and releasing your fears of the worst case scenarios you are trying to avoid (as set out above in the numbered paragraphs).

Now, 5 more steps to practically deal with overwhelm:

  1. Write out every single thing you need to do on a piece of paper. Get it out of your head and onto paper. Next choose the top 4 highest priority things. Let yourself feel successful at the end of the day if those 4 things were achieved. Repeat each day.

  2. Take as much off your plate or to list as you can. Only say yes to absolute necessities, things you really do need to do like work or parenting, and say no to things that drain your time, aren't a reflection of your highest values, and that you don't want to do (i.e. like going to 5 xmas dinner parties that you aren't really feeling).

  3. Do this tapping for overwhelm every morning: https://youtu.be/cmB264VOw80

  4. Bring mindfulness to whatever you are doing, i.e. One thing at a time. Be fully present with what you're doing and block separate times for separate things. I.e. wherever you are, be all there and forget about your other obligations while you are there.

  5. Jump onto a 1:1 coaching call with me where we can dive more into the feelings and triggers/activations in your body that send you into overwhelm, and we can take the charge off those triggers.

With care,

Elise

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