Are You Caught in the Quicksand That is Overwhelm?
I have an over achiever personality. I’m very aware of this. I’m quick to take on extra work, to say yes to coordinating groups or teams and for some strange reason, always looking to further my study.
It was when I was working in addiction and mental health full time, as a 24-year-old pregnant mum of two, while writing my thesis that I became a convert to mindfulness.
I realised that the brakes it brought to my life were essential if I was to stay semi sane and not lose my shit. My move to create a business out of teaching mums to become more mindful was an extension of this.
As a mum, I know how easy it is for the overwhelm to set in. It’s like a dark, muggy cloud that shortens our vision. It’s like a pack of stampeding beasts racing through our minds. A heavy stone in the pit of our stomachs. Overwhelm is often described as being given too much to do. But! I prefer to look at it more as a symptom of saying “yes” too often.
You see, it doesn’t matter how much others ask of you. What matters is how you manage this. If you struggle with giving yourself permission, then I’m happy to be that person for you:
Yes, you can say no, yes you can delegate and yes you can lower your standards.
Overwhelm has an ability to render you feeling hopeless, frenetic and indecisive. But as women we are strong, and we hold a great deal of power. We are choosing to give this power away.
We are not super women.
There is no need for us to try and be everything to everyone. There is an instinctual yearning inside every one of us for companionship, in one way or another. We need our village and we need the strength that comes with it. Sometimes I get pissed off at the counteractive effect that technology has had on our society. We weren’t built to interact via screens. Our minds and our bodies crave physical contact with others. When we don’t share the load, vent our frustrations and delegate out to our tribe, how the hell are we going to steer clear from the overwhelm and how is that modelling powerful coping strategies to our mini-me’s?
Next time you get landed with a big job, take a step back, pull the job apart into smaller jobs and then look at who you could rope in to give you a hand. You’d jump in and help others out right??
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by extra tasks when our standards for completing any task are ridiculously high. We clean the house to make it look like no one actually lives there. We get the guilt’s when we forget about kindy’s “bring a plate and dress up” until we’re on the way there and so we rock up with a packet of Ernest Adams biscuits…
For a start, your kid probably enjoys those biscuits and further, the more you clean, the more mess kids make, it’s really just a vicious cycle that no one wins. I vote for lower standards. Lower standards equal less work #winning. I honestly don’t think that the kids are going to grow up and say that their spot free house led to their success as a person. If they do that’s pretty messed up and you may want to dig a little deeper into that.
But, all jokes aside, if you’re worrying about not being good enough, chances are, the fact that you’re worrying about this means that you give a shit and that you’re doing well. Chin up Mumma!
We’re fascinated with the word as a 3-year-old yet struggle to utter this one syllable statement out of our mouth as an adult.
What is it that stops you from turning down requests?
It might be helpful for you to stop and consider this because it will most likely shed a great deal of light on what your insecurities are. With awareness comes change and if you’re feeling overwhelmed you may need to start looking at what you’re always saying yes to. What patterns can you see? Are their certain people you say yes to above others or situations that you can’t say no in? Practice saying no in the mirror. Spend some time coming up with different ways to turn people down, talk it over to yourself in the car, become more comfortable with voicing “NO”. The more familiar you are, the easier it becomes.
Ultimately, no one is going to come and award you with a certificate for being busy, so make the time to stop. If not for your sanity but for your kids. Kids struggle in an environment that has too much going on, their resilience isn’t quite at the level it needs to be to manage it.
Spend the time actively modelling onto them how to turn people down politely, how to delegate tasks, how to take timeout for you and what’s REALLY important in life. High standards or time spent doing things you enjoy.
Overwhelm is rampant at this time of year. Make the time to stop and practice some of these strategies and become more aware of how you’re trekking, BEFORE you’re sinking.
Until next time!
About Victoria Hood
Victoria has been working in the mental health and addiction field over the past 7 years since leaving University with an honours degree in Psychology. During her time spent working in addiction, Victoria was introduced to the practice of mindfulness. Since this time Victoria has become extremely passionate about incorporating mindfulness into both her professional and her family life.
Victoria has an honours degree in Psychology from the University of Canterbury. She is a Life Coach, Mindfulness Coach, Mindfulness Practitioner in schools and is a passionate holistic health and well-being advocate and facilitator of mindfulness based workshops.
More about Victoria…