Do you feel overwhelmed because you’ve hit a wall in your life regarding something that matters a lot to you? You’re not alone.
With life’s fast pace, it’s easy for our heart to beat faster, our mind to race more, and to feel less grounded and present. All of the demands of daily life lead to overwhelm and shutting down.
This blog will help you understand the true cause of overwhelm and how to overcome it. WHY should you care about this? Because overwhelm will rob you of happy relationships, health and career.
Let me help you through this overwhelm. You deserve support. Schedule below for free.
Is Overwhelm Normal?
Overwhelm feels so familiar that it’s become a generally accepted way of life. In other words, it’s as if this frantic feeling in our body is what we SHOULD be feeling.
Just because we don’t question it doesn’t mean we should accept it as normal. This fast-paced rat race is damaging our quality of life and rendering us hypnotized. We are living on autopilot because “That’s the way it is.”
Further, if we don’t stop the pattern, it will harm our relationships, career, and health. On the flip side, if we do something about it, our capacity for love and greater impact is inevitable. The reward will be huge!
Are You Overwhelmed?
See if any of the below scenarios apply to you. If they do, you are most likely overwhelmed.
- Do you work too much and don’t recognize your own needs and desires?
- Did something happen that feels like too much, too fast?
- Are you working so hard to please others, putting your health and peace of mind at risk?
- Do you recognize roller coaster patterns in key relationships and/or finances?
- Do you notice that your energy is revving up (stress response) or shut down (overwhelm response)?
- Do you want to have a big impact on others but feel frustrated because you don’t know how?
- Do others see you as a strong, competent leader, but you feel anything but that?
- Do you feel like you have lots to contribute but feel exhausted, overworked and out of balance?
What Is The Cause Of Overwhelm?
Why do we push ourselves so hard until we feel overwhelmed? Have you ever considered the REASON is due to a pattern that started when we were quite young? See below examples.
- Our dad didn’t give us much attention as a child, and we learned to be a Hyper-Achiever to gain his attention.
- We push ourselves hard to keep up a certain lifestyle, an envirnoment with all the nice things. We did this to feel safe as a child, due to an unstable, chaotic home life.
- We became Hyper-Rational, always up in our head, to create a sense of safety because we didn’t trust people.
Overwhelm = Trauma
Did you know that Overwhelm = Trauma in the body? It’s the same experience to the body. If we show up in any of the above ways, we are having symptoms of trauma.
Our energy gets disrupted when we experience a trauma or disturbing experience. People confuse Stress with Trauma. We experience stress when we push ourselves super hard. Think pedal to the metal.
Trauma occurs when we can no longer keep up that pace and we shut down and go into overwhelm. Neither excess stress or trauma is good for us; and we tend to get on this see-saw of stress and trauma/overwhelm.
How Is Overwhelm Related To Grief?
Remember that Overwhelm is Trauma in the body. And where there is trauma, you can almost always find grief. What is grief?
John W. James and Russell Friedman in The Grief Recovery Handbook, define grief as: “Conflicting emotions caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.”
They say that grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind. As kids, we don’t understand events when they happen. We make up all sorts of meanings about them.
For example, my Aunt Elaine died when she was 16 years old, and I was 6 (we were both born 9/23). I assumed that I would die when I turned 16 years old.
We Experience Grief & Forget About It
Our energy gets out of whack because we don’t know how to process the information. In other words, we are having overwhelm/grief/trauma experiences on a normal basis.
We grow up and we forget about them, but they are still in our subconscious or body. So we carry around these old grief experiences like worn out luggage; we don’t even know there’s a problem.
And the people around us are also doing their best to ignore their luggage. One of the most popular ways to ignore our baggage is to stay in rush and go, go, go mode.
Even in our “down” time, we are often on our devices and not getting quality rest and recovery time. We are too frantic to slow down and become present with our feelings to escape this vicious cycle.
What If You Are Grieving Something But Don’t Know It?
Is it possible that because you’ve shut down to feeling your feelings that you are grieving and don’t know it?
- Do you allow yourself to be a human with needs?
- Would you know it if you’ve been running away from yourself?
- Are you running from your feelings, from connecting to your body?
- Are you avoiding intimate relationships with your partner and others?
Having these symptoms shows we’ve not learned how to grieve. We don’t know how to heal from a string of painful, traumatic life experiences, aka, a broken heart.
You may say, “I don’t have a broken heart, Angie.” Well…maybe you don’t, but let’s test that theory…
Broken Heart Exercise
Slow down for a moment, take a deep breath, put your hands over your heart, and ask yourself these questions. Get a journal and jot down some notes with the ones that resonate with you.
- Have I ever been asked to say goodbye to a certain way of life (to a child, spouse, parent, or other important relationship, career, home, change in health, etc.)?
- Do I distract myself with work and busy-ness to avoid feeling sadness and grief?
- Would I rather take a stick to my eye than sit in silence with my feelings?
- Do I fear abandonment, rejection and loneliness?
- Am I either clingy or the opposite, avoidant, in relationships?
- Do I stay in a toxic relationship until I have another one to replace it?
- Do I have a hard time falling or staying asleep?
- Am I feeling heavy and emotionally exhausted?
- Do I have nervous habits, like biting my lips or nails?
- Do I have inflammatory illnesses, such as gut and skin issues, brain fog, chronic fatigue, autoimmune, etc.?
- Do I have perfectionistic tendencies?
- Do I have a fear of feeling attacked, misunderstood, betrayed?
- Do I fear others seeing me in a weak light, not the “strong one”?
- Do I say, “I’m used to being the one who everyone comes to for support”?
- Am I dealing with the fallout of a divorce and don’t know who I am anymore?
- Am I disconnected from myself, my body and feelings?
- Have I lost someone I love, through death, divorce, or some other emotional separation?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have grief stored in the body. THESE ARE SYMPTOMS OF GRIEF. Most of us don’t know how to heal from grief because our society doesn’t teach us how to do that.
Instead, the norm is to stuff down our feelings. Most people want us to get over things so we don’t make them uncomfortable.
The result is we are running around unconscious of what’s going on for us. We are unaware that we are refusing to grieve. If we choose not to grieve, we’re holding ourselves back from living.
Fear Of Opening Grief Pandora’s Box
Gary Roe, a pastor and chaplain, gives this analogy of grief:
- Imagine we all have a standard suitcase, and one loss or difficult experience carries a lot of weight with it, like a heavy brick. If we get enough bad experiences, we carry around alot of bricks and we’ll need to get a new suitcase.
- If we choose not to grieve, we’re saying we’re ok with lugging around all this baggage.
- We sign up for anxiety, depression, pain and difficult relationships.
- It’s scary to open up grief pandora’s box. We do amazing things to avoid not feeling good, but yet we’re not feeling good.
- Each loss offers us an opportunity to open up the suitcase, look at those bricks and unpack them.
- Maybe I don’t have to lug all of this stuff around, but can learn from it and release it.
We must express our grief, or it will leak out in other, unhealthy ways with relationships, career, health, etc.
If you’re willing to learn what loss can teach, there is no end for impact for good and no end to healing yourself. Your greatest pain becomes your purpose.
Are You Ready To Look At The Overwhelm?
Are you ready to learn from the Overwhelm? It’s your body’s signal of “Do something different.” Do you feel ready to get your own needs met in a healthy way?
There is no shame in asking for help and support. In fact, once we begin to feel safer in our body and believe we deserve to have our needs met, we will seek help.
In other words, when we are more independent and able to care for ourselves, now is not the time to isolate and go it along. Humans need to feel seen and heard; humans need their tribe. It’s when our self-esteem rises that we seek help. When we are down and doubting ourselves, we tend to isolate. We need a healthy inter-dependence.
Begin A Daily Grounding Practice
Find a daily practice that will help you break through the overwhelm and feel grounded again. Isn’t it time to get off of that Stress and Trauma merry-go-round?
What would it feel like to be an actual human being who knows how to slow down? To connect with your body, create closeness with others, and feel alive?
You can learn a new way of reacting to life by slowing down and tuning into your body through deep breaths.
How About Starting With This Daily Practice?
- Connect to the body and feelings through deep diaphragm breathing. Breathe from your stomach, not your chest.
- Once a day, set a timer for 5 minutes.
- Inhale through the nose to the count of 4. Hold the breath for 4 seconds.
- Exhale through the mouth to the count of 4. Hold the breath for 4 seconds.
- Repeat the above as many times as possible during the 5 minutes.
We can begin to relax and feel safe, supported and loved when we take care of our own needs and practice breathing. Seem too simple to be true? It’s not.
We turn off the stress response which keeps us in a state of survival. We calm the trauma response which keeps us stuck and frozen. Neither state allows us to think clearly and make good choices.
The long-term result is that our desire to serve, connect and prosper happens with ease. We have to start somewhere. How about here?
Your Next Step To Overcoming Overwhelm
If you are ready, check in with your heart and give yourself permission to come to my free masterclass.
Details will be forthcoming on how to register. For now, mark your calendar for Tuesday, January 10th, 2023 (5pm-6:30pm Central).
3 Steps To Grief Relief: A Masterclass For Women Leaders Who Are Overworked & Overwhelmed
You will learn:
1) The essential steps to healing from trauma.
2) A powerful technique to help you break through overwhelm and find grief relief.
3) How to manage your emotions and find your way forward to happier, more carefree days.
You’ll want to attend this free masterclass if you’re ready to get on the path of:
- Taking care of your own needs by listening to your emotions/body.
- Trusting that it’s safe to relax and feel good.
- No longer betraying yourself with distraction and excessive tasks.
- Not sacrificing yourself when caring for others.
- No longer bracing for the next big disappointment and blindside.
- Finally dealing with your pain and loss so that joy can return.
- Mastering your own landscape of thoughts and feelings.
You can’t relax and have inner peace if you overwork and stay overwhelmed.
There isn’t space for that. You can’t feel good about who you are and how you live if you continue to run from your feelings.
Let’s talk. I’d like to support you through the overwhelm. Schedule a free chat below.
Life Coach for Overwhelmed Women Leaders