How can you tell if instead of Stepping It Up™ into a fulfilling, enriching life you have taken on too much and hit the common ailment of feeling overwhelmed? Symptoms of being overwhelmed can be physical (nail biting, clumsiness, neck ache); psychological (forgetfulness, rudeness, defensiveness); social (poor hygiene, inadequate boundaries); or spiritual (loss of sense of purpose, unsure of what’s important).
Issues that trigger overwhelm are just as individual: a deadline, a certain tone of voice, change, change in circumstances.
Noticing these symptoms and triggers is like setting off the two-minute warning buzzer—giving you time to implement your proven intervention techniques.
Write down all the nurturing things you can think of to do when overwhelm begins to visit. They’ll help you reconnect with yourself, to re-collect and re-focus your energy inside. Keep a copy with you and one at home. When you begin to notice your particular symptoms and/or triggers, use the list to remind yourself of things that have worked in the past. Here are just a few suggestions. Be as creative as you want.
- Breathe. Remember the breath’s metaphor: Let in; let go.
- Wrap up in a blanket. Cuddle.
- Dance alone, with or without music. Let your body lead the way.
- Listen to violin, cello or piano music. Let the music elicit tears.
- Light a candle. Maybe it’s one small candle at your work desk or lots of candles around your house.
- Watch a funny video. Laughter has a positive effect on brain chemistry.
- Ask for help. It’s a gift that allows others the opportunity to give.
- Go for a walk. Exercise increases adrenaline and endorphins, the body’s natural antidepressants.
- Lie on the grass outside. Connect with the earth’s regenerating powers.
- Go to your room—or your car—and sing to yourself. Or hum quietly as you work.
A practice of any kind can keep you tethered to yourself in those times when overwhelm wants to scatter your energy to the wind. Regularly repeated, these practices are best cultivated in times when things are going well so that they are there to sustain you when you get overwhelmed. Some examples:
- Say a small prayer, read a meditation book or holy book or recite a poem each morning to greet the day.
- Walk the dog while whispering all the things for which you forgive yourself.
- Write in a journal as fast as you can for 15 minutes first thing in the morning without editing or judging. Pour it all out on paper.
- Do the "Salute to the Sun" yoga postures every morning after arising.
Things to do today:
Life can put a lot of demands on you and it is up to you to Step It Up™ and make sure that you claim more out of life than stress and an ever growing "to do" list. If you are finding it difficult to implement a regular practice of self-care or that overwhelm has become too much feel free to write Lisa@StepItUpQueen.com for additional support.
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