Overcome the Overwhelm
Get off that struggle bus friend!
Well HELLO AGAIN! It's been a minute, but I'm back and ready to rock! Today we're talking about how to get unstuck, and overcome the overwhelm and stress. In large part because that's what I've been struggling with for the last few months.
I know you've been here: you spread yourself too thin, things are happening that you have no control over, it all feels too much! So, you turn to alcohol, food, Netflix, or in my case, you just "turn off". No matter what, we all have coping strategies, the question is; is your coping strategy helping or keeping you stuck?
In this episode, I'm giving you the 4 strategies I've been using to get myself unstuck and moving forward after a season of stress and overwhelm.
1. identify your coping strategies, and give yourself grace
2. prioritize where you put your energy
3. ask for help
4. make a plan
Full transcription available at the bottom of this post
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I'm back! Did you miss me? I missed you guys a lot. I was gone for a bit, and the reason I was gone is the topic of today's episode. And that's overwhelm, I got overwhelmed. And then I allowed myself to stay there for way too long. In my world, I also like to say that I was on the struggle bus. And in this case, I was driving the struggle bus. So since I haven't done an episode in a while, I want to share with you guys what's been going on for me, we'll play a little bit of catch up, let you know how I'm getting through the overwhelm how I'm getting past that, and the four things that have really helped me overcome and move forward. So let's go!
Before we get started, I have an apology to make: it was really not my intention to start this podcast only to stop it seven months later. That was not the plan. But in this perfect storm of overwhelming stressful things that kind of all hit at once in August and September, it felt like too much. And I'm sure you guys can kind of relate to that I'm sure you've been there at different times in your life where it just feels like too much Unfortunately, my go to reaction to overwhelm is to shut it all down everything. And that is really helpful. What I did need to do was step back from a few things, I kept heaping things on my plate. And I needed to be able to say no to some things. And I really, instead of saying no to some things, I said no to everything. So stress and overwhelm, overwhelm doesn't have to be because of bad things. Right? It can be because of good things. Busy isn't bad, right? Busy can be good doing things you're passionate about and your love. Like for me this podcast is something that I love doing. But for me, it's this mix it was that we were dealing with these really difficult family situations and family struggles and decisions. And I was dealing personally with some chronic pain and some chronic injury issues. And then we were dealing with some illnesses. And it's, it's very difficult for me to be down, you know, for me to not be on my identity, right as being active and capable and doing the things that I want to do what I want to do them. Like, I when I decide that I want to do something, I do it. And for me it was this combination of like all these things that I couldn't control that were just weighing down on me and I kind of shut down. Okay, not kinda, I really did shut down. It was just all too much. So I had to drop things that weren't directly impacting my own physical mental health and also impacting my family. So everything that was not directly related to those two things, I let go. And sadly, that was this podcast. So
I'm sure you can relate to the idea of being in that place. I would love for you to take a second and just think about what your reactions to overwhelm are because we all have our different mechanisms right for me, like I said, My reaction is shut down, like shut it all down, like hibernate, hide, pull the covers over pretend like it's happening. I do that for a while. And then I decide I need to take action. And then I get overwhelmed with the action taking and then I feel like I need to hire read it again. Right. It's not a great process. So I really kind of came up with these four steps for myself that helped me move forward. Because what happened to was not only did I kind of shut down but then once some of the things that were stressful and overwhelming started kind of dissipating. Figuring themselves out as they always do, I was still in this mode of like, it was easier to not do something than to start it again, like specifically for this podcast, it was easier for me to keep not doing it. And that is a universal psychological truth for all of us. Right? An object in motion stays in motion. Well, the motion that I was in was not doing things. And I stayed in that. And so I had to really break free of that. And so that's one of the things I'm going to talk with you about today is how to break that cycle, how to change the motion, so that you get back in the habit of doing the things that you wanted to do the things that are moving you forward to the places that you want to go. So I have four steps for you four tips for you for getting over the overwhelm.
Okay, the first thing is identifying your coping strategies. And at the same time giving yourself some grace, you really have to start to trust yourself that you are doing the best you can, right, we are so good at beating ourselves up for all the things that we're not doing, that we should be doing. Right, we should ourselves all the time, we should all over ourselves. And it really serves to keep us stuck. Because we can only focus on the things that we are doing wrong, we're failing at, we're terrible at whatever, instead of focusing on the small things that we could actually be doing. We are very skilled as humans, and especially I think as women, and identifying our own shortcomings, and all the ways that we are failing not only ourselves, but all of those people around us, right? I'm feeling my kids, I'm feeling my husband, I'm feeling my marriage, I'm feeling my friendships, I'm feeling my business, I'm feeling all these people. So what I do in order to combat this is I just start identifying what I'm feeling, what I'm thinking, remember, what are my thoughts about this? And then what are my feelings about this? What are the strategies that I'm using right now in order to cope with this feeling of overwhelm? And are they working or not working? Right? Some of them might work. Sometimes you do need to shut stuff down and regroup. But sometimes you don't. And so you really need to start to understand what your personal coping strategies are, recognize them, and then identify, is that actually helping me? Or is that making it worse? For me shutting everything down, I think, ultimately made it worse. But we're here we're getting through it. So I want you to ask yourself, How are you dealing? Right now? How are you dealing with overwhelming stress? Are you drinking more? Because that is coming to you? I can't tell you how many conversations I've had in the last two years during this COVID phase of people who have really started drinking more than they would like to. And it is a stress coping mechanism. It's a buffering mechanism. It's an overwhelmed healing mechanism. But I want you to barrel on real honest with yourself. Is that helping? Is that helping you get through it? Is it helping you get unstuck? The obvious answer is probably not. So what's your coping strategy? Are you drinking water? Because you think it's calming? Right? Because you think it's calming you down at night? It's making you feel better? Are you eating more? Or eating food that isn't healthy for you or not serving you? Right? Are we moving into that emotional eating phase? I feel stress, therefore I eat? Is that a coping strategy that's working for you? Is it helping? Probably not? Did you give up working out because oh, just feels like one more thing like, oh, going to the gym, I just don't have the bandwidth. I can't do it is not going to the gym helping you or ultimately hurting you. Like that's probably not the thing you should give up. Right? When you feel overwhelmed. That's probably the thing you should keep. So you just have to really understand like, how am I coping? You are coping? That's the thing you have to understand you are you have coping strategies, you feel overwhelmed, you feel stressed, but you are coping. The thing is, is that coping strategy actually helping or actually hurting, you have to really recognize that we are super good at finding ways to avoid dealing with the thing we can't deal with. The thing I should say more specifically, the thing we feel like we can't deal with, we will avoid it all kinds of ways. So what are those ways for you? For me? I literally just hide from them. Like I said, I'm like covers over the head don't engage. I run from it. Okay, it's not. I'm not saying it's right or wrong. I'm just saying that's what I do. So what do you do?
Okay, the second thing that I want you to think about when you are feeling overwhelmed and stress is priorities. So sometimes Something's gotta give. Like I said, we're real good, especially at women of putting things all on our plate or saying yes, here. Yes, here. I got to volunteer for the school. I got to you know, help over here. I got to do this thing over here. I got to help this person over here. Like we're real good at spreading, spreading ourselves too thin, and then we feel overwhelmed and then we feel stressed and then we feel like we can't cope. So What can you give up? For me it was the podcast, I had to step back, I had to focus on me, I had to focus on my family. Like I had to do that I did not have to do it for as long as I did it. But I did have to do that for a little while. Because that's the thing I had to let go. So I could focus on healing.
And, and moving forward and being there for the people who needed me at the time. So you have to think about what are you prioritizing, you need to prioritize the things that you absolutely must do you have to take care of your kids, you probably have to go to work, you probably have to show up for your marriage, right? Those are the things that you need to show up for in order to keep your life. Okay, but there are some things that you can put down. There really are I know, you don't feel like it. I know you feel like, oh, they'll be so offended. If I say no, oh, you know, they'll think this about me, if I don't volunteer this time, or let me tell you something, you have to be okay with putting some things down and saying no, you can not volunteer at the school, you can not show up at the PTA meeting, you can not meet the girls for drinks. You can say no to all of those things and more. And I promise everyone will be okay. Okay, your friends will still be your friends, the PTA will still be there, the school will still be there. You can say no. And so when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, listen to that feeling. Your gut is never wrong. Your gut is always telling you to listen and you feel overwhelmed. You need to start prioritizing what are the things that I absolutely need to give my energy to? And what are the things that I can let go and part of letting them go is letting go of the idea that other people are judging you because you let them go? Just Say No sister, and don't feel one bit of regret about it move on with your life. And when you are ready to say yes, again. You can say yes, again. Okay. I want to take away that guilt from you. If you needed permission to just say no, here it is, right? If you were looking for a sign, here's your sign. You can say no. And sometimes you absolutely for your own mental health have to say no.
Okay, number three, I want you to think about asking for help. You don't have to do everything alone. depending on what's overwhelming. You just ask for help. Ask a friend to carpool your kids to sports. Ask your husband to make dinner a couple nights a week, get your kids doing some chores around the house delegate some other tasks at work, what can you take off your plate? Sometimes asking for help means consulting the experts. So for me, I often do this and I have done this at several different points in my life. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I also feel stuck. Those two things go hand in hand for me. And I think they do for pretty much everyone. Overwhelm equals stuckness. So I look, I hire a coach, I have a coach that I hire, and I'm not constantly being coached. But in those times where I feel real stuck, I get a coach. So what a coach or a doctor or a therapist help you through this stuck overwhelm stress situation. Maybe just listening to a podcast or purchasing a course or watching a video, like there are tons and tons of free and paid resources at your fingertips. I truly have never been disappointed when I have consulted an expert when I needed one. I always leave with at least some nuggets and some insights about how to move forward. So maybe this isn't for you. Maybe this is the consulting expert moment that you needed. Maybe you need to pop into our community group and ask a question there and get some feedback. Maybe that's the experts, you need just your community of women, whatever it is for you. If you need to ask for help from an expert, please do it. And if you need to have asked for help from people in your own life, do it. I know as women and I can tell you for sure. For me, asking for help is something that I am not good at. Just historically, it's like kind of a real, I don't want to say downfall but it is it's a weak spot for me. It's a character flaw, if you will. I am not good at asking for help. I very much am like I'll figure it out. I'll get it done it I'll do it at my own expense. And sometimes on my family's expense, right. It would have been easier if I had just asked for help and it would have got done faster and nobody would have stressed out about it. But no, I had to do it all myself. And then I was overwhelmed and overstressed. Everybody suffered, right. So save yourself the misery. Just ask for help. Okay.
And the fourth piece that has helped me deal with kind of overwhelming getting back on track is making a plan. So like I said, once the kind of overwhelming stress had started to work itself out And life was moving on, as it always does. I was very much stuck in the habit of not doing. I was stuck in the habit of not doing the things that I was doing. And I needed to recreate the habits again, making the podcast doing all the things right all the things that I was doing. So it took me a long time to get back on track, because I did not make a plan to do it. I was just sort of like, yeah, I need to do that. Yeah, I should do that. Yeah, I really should do that. Have you ever said that? I mean, right. You've been here, right? Like, yeah, I really need to start doing that, again, I really need to get back in the gym, I really need to work on my food again, oh, I really need to focus on this again. And then we don't, because we didn't make a plan. So I was sort of in this like survival day to day mode, right. But that does not create a way out that's just keeps you stuck in this overwhelm cycle, you're just living the day to day without a plan to move forward from whatever it is you need to move forward from, you're gonna stay stuck, you need a plan. Once you get out of the habit of doing something, it's harder and harder to restart that habit. And the longer you stay out of that habit, the harder it is to restart it. So you have to make a plan to get back into the habit. So I gave myself some deadlines. I made myself daily schedules, I started making it a habit to start writing episodes and start recording episodes and making a plan for when I was releasing them and making a community group and revamping the programs and courses and like getting all those things done so that I could feel like I was moving forward. I made a plan to do all those things. So what is your plan? I talk about this habit formation and making plans extensively in the Healthy Mind Healthy Body program. So if there's something that you are not good at, you might want to check that out. And sort of start to get an idea of what this looks like. habit formation is an easy but complex process, if that makes sense. So what does your plan look like? Does your plan involve thinking of a couple of mocktail recipes, so a couple nights a week, you could have a mocktail instead of a cocktail, or you could have alcohol free wine instead of regular wine. And then you can start transitioning into drinking less and less wine every day or throughout the week. Maybe your plan is you got overwhelmed and stressed out and you stopped exercising. So how are you going to start again? What's your plan? Well, I'm going to make sure I get 3000 steps every day. And then I'm going to work up to 4000 and then 5000. And then I'm going to hop on YouTube, and I'm going to work out with this gal one time a week. Right? I can do that one time we right like you just get started getting back into the habit back into the habit. It's tiny little steps, tiny little increments, but you need to be planful you need to be intentional about it.
So those are the four things for you to work on in order to get over the overwhelm to get unstuck to move forward. Again, they were first identify your current coping strategies, and whether or not they're helping you. And also give yourself some grace for not knowing how to cope. Give yourself some grace for maybe choosing unhelpful coping strategies. Give yourself some grace, just for the fact that you do feel overwhelmed and you're doing the best you can. It's okay. Don't beat yourself up. The more you beat yourself up, the more stuck you stay. So give yourself some grace and understand how you're coping and how you need to change that. Prioritize. Sometimes stuffs got to go. Sometimes you got to say no, sometimes you got to focus on just a few things and let some other things go. So decide what your priorities are. Decide where you're going to put your energy in the very most important places in your life. And let the rest go and be okay with it. Third, is asked for help. Whether that's asking friends, family members, kids, professionals, like coaches and therapists, seeking out professional assistance through podcasts or courses or videos, etc. All the different ways that you can ask for help that you can seek help that you can seek guidance, do it you do not have to go through any of these things alone. You are not an island, you don't have to do everything yourself. Take it from a person who has an issue with that. You really don't. And the last thing is then make a plan. Make a plan to get unstuck. Call it your unstuck plan if you wish to make that plan, line out your steps. How am I going to move forward from this? What are the things that I want and how am I going to get there and then follow through on your plan.
Those are your four steps. I hope that was really helpful and I'm really glad to be back here with you guys. It makes me very happy to be recording a podcast episode again. I want you to know also that I have messed around with creating a podcast community group I've thought about doing it in several Different places, in large part, honestly, because I don't love social media. I'm not really on it a lot. But I am starting a Facebook group. So the link will be in the show notes of this podcast. So you can just click on that we're going to have a community group there. I just want to really to be a place for you guys to come together, ask me questions, ask each other questions, make some connections, and really be able to have a conversation. Instead of me just talking at you all the time, I want to actually be able to talk with you wouldn't that be fun. So hop into that group, I would love, love, love to get to know all of you guys better. And thank you for just being on this journey with me. Thank you for giving me grace, for kind of dealing with what I needed to deal with. And just thank you for being loyal and being here with me and being forgiving of the stuff that I had to go through. And know that I am always here for you. And this will be a weekly podcast. We are going forward. And it's going to be awesome. I love you guys. I appreciate you. And I'll talk to you next week.