What Happens When You Become Friends With Overwhelm
That feeling of panic may, in fact, be your best ally in self-care
If you’re a variety seeker/lover-of-doing-fun-things, you may be most energized and in flow when you’re right on the verge of being too busy.
I love this space — the buzz and vibrancy of having of exciting things on, and needing to be really on top of it all to not miss anything. But then I’ll always get a bit cocky and take on one more thing, and BAM, I’m in that wonderful place known as overwhelm.
This is the opposite of relaxed. We all have different reactions, but for me it’s sweaty palms, quick breathing, a full-body high-alert panic. I feel like I’ve just had a million coffees.
I don’t think I even noticed the sensation because it was the only place I operated from. I was constantly trying to fit everything all in, and beating myself up when I had to cancel on people, or be flaky or stressed. For most of my life, I thought that this was just the normal way of living. The noise was so constant, I couldn’t hear it.
It’s only recently that I’ve been able to see this overwhelm not as something to be ashamed of, but as a huge gift. It’s a deeply intuitive, wise part of me that is looking ahead and shaking my entire body into sense. Like a mother pulling her child back from running out into the road, it can feel like a dramatic, maybe even aggressive action, but I know it’s for my own survival.
Because it sees what I don’t see. It takes over my body when I’m in conversation about a new project, which I don’t have time for, but haven’t said yes yet. It stops me in my tracks as I’m about to fit three things into a Saturday that will stop me from being in the moment. It says, “This sounds fun, but you’re not going to be able to do that and have time to eat.”
I wonder what your signs are that you’re in overwhelm. And when you notice them, do you let them take over and become your identity? Or do you listen and get curious about what they’re telling you?
This feeling of overwhelm came up a couple of weeks ago. In recording my podcast, the fun bit for me is finding people to talk to and doing the interviews. I love connecting with people over the topic of…